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. . . we need a phoenix in the Welsh Valleys

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Letters

How we must all rejoice at Phoenix the calf 's reprieve! Now we must pray that similar sensible thinking will stay the demolisher's crude hand at Brynmawr.

Keith Dunning's sad letter (AJ 26.4.01) reveals not only his lack of vision but his ignorance of the essence of architecture. I suggest he should read and assimilate The Elements of Architecture (1624) by Sir Henry Wo t t o n . A l l t h r e e o f Wo t t o n 's desiderata were present at Brynmawr and can be once more, in the hands of a farsighted architect.

But in the equation a client, equally endowed, is required. If success is to be achieved, as when the factory first came into being, a client of the calibre of Lord Forrester - whose public zeal realized the dream originally - is needed. Surely amongst all the proud people of Wales such a client must exist. From the Welsh Assembly, the local authority, those who elected them to their position of governance, is there none to cry 'Halt!

Here is a unique asset, awaiting the magic touch to grace once again the land of our forefathers, to return renewed, a jewel in her crown'?

And what about use, Wotton's 'commodite'?

A number of uses have been suggested during the agonizingly long fight towards salvation, some more suitable than others.

Here is another.

Tourism, as revealed in the recent foot and mouth crisis, is of paramount importance as a generator of wealth and employment. Brynmawr is the gateway to the Brecon Beacons.

Surely it is the development which could reverse the low fortune which has dogged the town and area since the collapse of its industrial base. What is more appropriate than rejuvenation from the remains of the very building once so important in the town's prosperity?

An air link by helicopter to other parts of the country, including Wales' own capital Cardiff, would considerably boost tourism. A landing pad hovering over the lake like a lily pad could connect the terminal and activities under the canopy of the factory's original domes.

If a heliport did not find favour, the town could exploit the surviving structure for leisure uses making the best of its wonderful natural setting .

A truly brownfield site, Brynmawr is an elegant example of how imaginative reuse is often a valuable solution in the urban renaissance. Here the remains of a building erected for work can be transformed for play.

Wales, ancient land of the Bard, respond nobly to this unique opportunity. There is poetry in the situation: let a phoenix arise!

John Bancroft, Haywards Heath

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