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Celtica (visitor centre) facts for kids

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Formation 1995; 27 years ago (1995)
Type Educational guest centre
Headquarters Plas Machynlleth


When various local government re-organisations took on the project, it was first the responsibility of District Council of Montgomeryshire; who took over the plâs and converted it into Celtica Guest Center in 1995. The vision of Celtica was to re-imagine Celtic life through lifelike figures of women, men, children and animals; which were placed around a round-house village which were built within a purpose-built extension to the plâs, to add a sense of realism to the set, there was a continuous audio loop playing of people shouting, fighting, ironmongery, fire, children playing and dogs barking etc. The cost of this visitor centre was ~£3-million and was part-funded via a grant by the European union. the centre was officially opened in 1995 by Bryn Terfel.

When Powys was formed as a unitary authority in 1997, the County Council took over Celtica. The centre attracted many tourist, school groups and conferences for many years.. however, initial visitor number predictions proved to be too ambitious and the council was unwilling to prolong its subsidy and with little scope for alternative investment Celtica closed in March 2006, the house stood empty while Powys County Council sought to relinquish responsibility for it in line with their policy of selling many of their publicly owned assets.

At this point, Machynlleth Town Council, realising that the town was in danger of losing the Plâs house and grounds, which they saw as belonging to the community in the spirit of the 1948 bequest, began discussions with Powys Council with a view to the Town Council taking ownership of the Plâs. On 1 April 2008, in a move thought to be unprecedented for a community council of its size, Machynlleth Town Council took ownership of the Plâs, its parkland and facilities. It has reopened the restaurant by leasing it to a local licensee and the 1st and 2nd floors of the main building are rented out as office space. Medium-sized meeting rooms and conference space are also offered for hire.

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