PLANS to turn a chapel into a visitor centre as part of the Lake Vyrnwy Experience project, have been given the green light.

But the project has hit a stumbling block after a grant funding application failed.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds applied to refurbish Bethel Chapel and turn it into a a visitor centre.

The plans included demolishing an extension used as a shop, and build a replacement which would be used as an education centre.

The plans include changing the use of meeting room used by the RSPB as office space, to provide a temporary shop.

It was expected that the chapel would explain the history of building the dam, and the village itself.

It was part of an overall scheme improving visitor facilities at Lake Vyrnwy.

The initial work for the project had been funded by a grant for the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

The RSPB which jointly manages the estate around the lake with water company Hafren Dyfrdwy, had commissioned architects to come up with designs for the “Lake Vyrnwy Experience.”

Border Counties Advertizer: Lake Vyrnwy Experience ProjectLake Vyrnwy Experience Project

In September 2020 the first phase of the “experience” to build an outdoor activity and events shelter at Lake Vyrnwy Sculpture Park was approved.

In an update on the whole project The Lake Vyrnwy Experience team, said: “Unfortunately, our bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been unsuccessful.

“Despite this, we are still dedicated to working alongside the community to improve Lake Vyrnwy for those who live, work and visit here, and are absolutely committed to investing in this wonderful site.

“We will now take some time to work with our partners, funders and community to assess which of the other funding elements can still be retained and how we can deliver them.”

On the planning application, Powys County Council planning case officer, Rhys Evans said: “Whilst the proposed development will result in a slight change to Llanwddyn Conservation Area, the overall harm to the significance of the area will be very slight.

“The works would enhance the character and appearance of the Llanwyddyn Conservation Area visually, and also the tourist facilities in the area which would be beneficial.”

Mr Evans recommended approving the scheme.

The Vyrnwy Dam was built between 1881 and 1890 and was the first large masonry dam in the UK.

It was opened in 1892.

At the time of it’s completion the reservoir was the largest in Europe and provided water for Liverpool by a 68 and a half mile aqueduct.

The old village of Llanwddyn was flooded following the construction of the dam.

The parish church two chapels, three inns, 10 farmhouses, and 37 houses were all lost under the waters.

Before this, a new settlement was built lower down the valley by the Liverpool Corporation for the people who lost their homes.

Bethel Chapel was completed in 1889 as part of the new settlement.