The decision to demolish all four walls of the Tabernacle Chapel in Aberystwyth was taken unilaterally by the owner and was not authorised by the Council, this blog has been informed. The decision, following the recent fire which destroyed the inside of the building (see below), has been greeted with widespread dismay in the town as it was believed the historic front wall on Powell Street was still capable of being preserved.
Following the fire, the building was issued with a Dangerous Structures Notice by the County Council's Department of Highways Property & Works on 7th July. This required the owner to make the building safe within two weeks. However, as a listed building, the owner still has a responsibility to maintain anything capable of being preserved. Demolition is to be used only as a last resort. The Dangerous Structures Notice does not obviate an owner from their responsibilities under this legislation.
A structural survey indicated that, although three walls were structurally unsound and required demolition, the Powell Street wall may have been capable of being preserved and less drastic measures, such as propping, could have been used to make the wall safe.
The County Council's Planning Department are understood to be unhappy at the pre-emptive action and are considering their options.