CONCERN has been voiced over the £1.49m plans for the restoration of Cardigan’s iconic Markethall.

The future of the Grade 2* listed building looks to have been secured after Ceredigion County Council stepped in to pledge cash to plug a funding gap in the project which has been led by Cardigan Building Preservation Trust.

The Trust, which also carried out the work on the Guildhall, says the restoration project will cover structural repairs and urgent remedial works, including problems associated with severe water incursion.

The electrical system will be substantially upgraded, a heating system installed for the first time and a new entrance block will enable full disabled access direct from the car park to both market floors instead of encountering the steep slope of College Row with its very narrow pavements.

The new entrance block and lift will also provide easy access to the building for market traders’ goods and for refuse collection. Provision of public toilets within the new block will maintain an important service for the local community and visitors.

Current traders’ jobs will be safeguarded and opportunities provided for up to twelve new businesses.

The story of the Markethall’s heritage will also be told, highlighting the unique architecture and rich social history of the building, which has operated as a market since its opening in 1860.

“We wish to thank local people for their continued support and interest in the project, with over 70 attending the consultation day last October to chat with the architects and trust members over the plans and model of the restored building,” said a Trust spokesman.

“The market traders have been essential contributors to the overall project and we have greatly appreciated the full support of our town councillors and Ceredigion County Council. The future of this unique building can now be secured and contribute to the regeneration of the heart of Cardigan.”

But one disabled Cardigan resident, while welcoming the restoration of the building, is not convinced the plans fit in with the character of the existing flagship building.

He said: “Having seen the ‘artist Impression’ of the new access tower in the Tivyside on-line last week, I cannot help thinking it has been concocted to lessen the impact of the modern construction that the developers are proposing to build in quite different materials to those of the market and the surrounding buildings.

“This huge construction which is almost half the width of the market building, is to be formed from wood cladding and glass and is seemingly only being built to give access from the car park to the rear market’s upper level.

“Somehow the artist has managed to change the grey stone colour of the market to light brown, supposedly with the sole purpose of convincing Cardigan’s population that the Wood cladding will not look different to the colour of the Market building.

“This construction is ridiculously large and out of proportion for the benefit it will provide and is completely out of sympathy with all the surrounding property.

“Also we will lose another facility in the town as they will demolish the disabled and public toilets. How can this be allowed to proceed?”