A PROMISED base for adults with learning disabilities isn’t due to open until September – almost a year since a decision to base the service there. 

When councillors agreed in December last year the Melville Arts Centre in Abergavenny should become the permanent home for the My Day, My Life service it was suggested work to improve its accessibility could take between 12 to 16 weeks or around four months. 

But the Monmouthshire County Councillor responsible has now said delays, including the need for listed building consent, mean adaptations aren’t expected to be completed until the autumn. 

Councillor Ian Chandler said: “Including an estimated eight week determination period for listed building consent, and the more intensive work, it’s anticipated work will be concluded by late September.” 

The Green Party councillor said work to remove absestos has started as well as electrical upgrades but improvements to the toilet and the car park, required to make the building accessible, will need listed building consent. 

“It is fair to acknowledge however that the works are going to take longer than had originally been anticipated,” said Cllr Chandler who said an occupational therapist had visited this week to advice on internal changes as designs are finalised. 

The council had suggested the Melville as a new base last summer with the My Day, My Life service having been without a meeting point since its Tudor Centre home closed at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. 

At Monmouthshire council’s meeting Cllr Chandler also confirmed an application to transfer the Tudor Centre to a community group, named The Gathering, which intends supporting a wider range of vulnerable adults had been made.

The council has been supporting it to develop a business plan but Cllr Chandler said: “It will be a council decision what happens to Tudor Street. We are reviewing the business plan but it’s not a foregone conclusion that we will grant a long term lease on Tudor Street to The Gathering. We are going through a rigorous process to help them of having the best chance of succeeding in that.”

A cabinet decision in November 2022 the Tudor Centre should close permanently kickstarted a community campaign to reopen the building. It was bolstered by a review of the service, completed in April 2023, that supported calls for it to once again have a permanent base for its users to meet and take part in activities. 

As a result the Labour-led cabinet agreed on the Melville, in November last year, a decision which was ratified by the full council in December when councillors were told works to upgrade the building would be funded by £150,000 from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund. 

Llanelly Hill independent councillor Simon Howarth, who had asked for the update, noted campaigners, and councillors including himself, who had supported re-opening Tudor Street received “massive criticism” for delaying efforts to re-establish a base for the service. 

He asked if the grant funding would cover any additional costs and Cllr Chandler said it’s anticipated it will and described the delay as design issues. 

Cllr Chandler also said the Overmonnow Centre in Monmouth has been refurbished and will open on Monday, April 22 as the My Day, My Life base for the town and surrounding area and reminded councillors the service had continued to operate and support users in the community.