A PLAN to transform a 19th century horse-drawn carriage factory into an arts centre has been granted more than £90,000.

Carriageworks, the three-storey listed building on Love Lane, Denbigh has upstairs rooms that have been empty for two decades.

Its owners ran a restaurant and second-hand furniture shop but have since moved their attention to business elsewhere, and they now want to sell.

Their preferred buyers are three volunteers who, during the last five years, have paid the costs of the overheads of the old building, which has no in-built heating system, to stage community art exhibitions, music concerts and skills workshops.

But they are limited to the ground floor due to the heating costs and because there is no disabled access.

The Free Press ran a story about the volunteers’ plan to acquire a grant of £450,000, which would enable them to renovate the building into a full-time space for artists and musicians.

It would have disabled access and be self-sufficient through reducing overhead costs, introducing small fees and making sales from the proposed café and kitchen.

The group has now been awarded £91,400 from the National Lottery Community Fund, which means they can employ two part-time staff while stepping up their search for the target sum and hosting workshops for two more years.

“The grant provides us with an important platform,” volunteer director Lynne Wilson said. “It means that we can carry on running workshops while employing a part-time co-ordinator and administrator, which will give us valuable time to apply for the target grant sum.

“We are pleased to get the funding in a very difficult financial climate.”

The group also ran a pilot project at community centres in Llandyrnog, Henllan, Groes and Rhewl which will now become permanent.

“The project will allow us to run arts workshops to connect, or rather, reconnect people,” Mr Parkes, volunteer co-director said, “not only within the villages but between the centres too.

“Carriageworks will act as a support and gathering place, bringing people together and proving the importance and vibrance of the beautiful industrial heritage building.”

The group is set to close the building and workshops while they recruit the staff. It will reopen at the end of August and the workshops will restart in September.

For more information email lynne@carriageworksdenbigh.co.uk