A PAVILION planned within the grounds of Abergavenny Castle would be a good asset for the community, councillors have said.

The outline business case for the £257,000 all-weather structure was endorsed by Monmouthshire County Council’s economy and development select committee on Thursday.

Abergavenny Museum believe the venue will allow them to run an expanded events programme, providing an extra income stream and encouraging engagement with heritage and the arts.

Rachael Rogers, the museum’s curator, said: “An event space is not just about providing cover in the rain.

“It contributes to Monmouthshire’s role to provide more than traditional museum buildings in the provisions of culture and heritage.”

Committee members had discussed an earlier draft of the proposals last October, when they refused to support the business case due to a lack of information.

The meeting heard that an increase in cost from an original £226,000 was done to accommodate permanent toilets which would be used for events only.

Aberagvenny members have now expressed supportive for the project, with Councillor Sheila Woodhouse saying: “We have a wonderful asset in the castle.

“It’s good to see its potential is being looked at, and an outdoor structure would be beneficial to the community and would enhance what is already there.”

Councillor Mat Feakins described the new proposals as “far superior” than the ones presented at the previous meeting.

But Councillor Alan Davies raised concerns about the projected income from the pavilion, saying the council had to “attain tangible returns from investment” given financial pressures.

Cllr Davies also took issue with the scheme’s reliance on grants, including funding which has yet to be secured, to make a profit.

While the museum has secured £158,000 in funding, a decision on an application for funding from the Welsh Government is not likely to come until April 2019.

Ms Rogers agreed that the unconfirmed funding formed a “significant chunk” of the outlay, adding that the project would be “paused” until a solution arises.

Councillor Richard Roden asked about the attitude of Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, towards the siting of the pavilion on the site.

The pavilion, said Ms Rogers, would be located on open ground outside the area recognised as an ancient monument and in an area preferred by Cadw.

Questions were also asked about who would be responsible for maintaining the pavilion, and Abergavenny Castle, with the authority planning to hand over control of tourism services to a new organisation, MonLife.

Ms Rogers told the meeting that such uncertainty would not affect the grants, both secured and unsecured.