Caernarfon multi-million-pound regeneration projects
With £15 million of funding being invested into the Caernarfon waterfront, 2 of the 3 major regeneration projects have opened recently.
The waterfront area of Caernarfon has seen a transformation in the last few months, where work has started on the old Cei Llechi site, which has been identified as a key redevelopment area by Gwynedd Council. Through the Caernarfon Waterfront Initiative, the Council is project managing the £15m project on behalf of Visit Wales.
This initiative has seen Gwynedd Council assisting a number of key local partners to deliver Galeri 2, the new Welsh Highland Railway station and the Cei Llechi - Island Site with the aim of making a major contribution to Caernarfon’s regeneration along with the wider local economy.
Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development said;
“The Council and its partners have completed 2 of the main Caernarfon Waterfront Initiative projects, Galeri 2 and Welsh Highland Railway. The Cei Llechi, Island Site, project is underway and Grosvenor Construction of Kinmel Bay have been working on the project since October. Through a number of initiative projects we’re certain that this historical area of Caernarfon can look forward to a bright future.
"The Waterfront is steeped in a rich history and we’re committed to securing a thriving and sustainable future for the area. Two of the new assets have opened and it’s a pleasure to be told how successful the initial period has been, with local people and visitors enjoying these exceptional facilities.
"Through working with our partners, we’re trying to maximise the town’s heritage and cultural assets to ensure that Caernarfon is a vibrant destination for local people and visitors alike”.
A key milestone was reached at the end of last year as work on the Cei Llechi development began, with Grosvenor Construction from Kinmel Bay being appointed as the main contractor. The site will see 19 artisan business units to let and will further enhance Caernarfon’s reputation as a creative hub. The Cei Llechi development is a mix of refurbishment of existing structures and the construction of new buildings– bringing the old, vibrant site back to life. The old Harbour office and boardroom will be revamped to provide holiday accommodation and a meeting room for people to hire. The general public will have an opportunity to visit the site during the construction period - details of Open Days will be confirmed at a later date. The site will be managed by Galeri Caernarfon Cyf and anyone interested in taking on a unit can contact them for further information on 01286 685 250 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. It is anticipated that the first tenants will be able to move into the new workshops by spring 2020.
Bob Lowe, Chairman of the Cei Llechi Project Board, said:
“A workforce of over 20 are busy on the site since October. The majority of the work to date has been the enabling works and over the coming months there will be a significant amount of work on transforming the derelict site back to use. Whilst the work continues, we are in discussions with several potential tenants for Cei Llechi, and would encourage any interested parties to contact us”
Galeri’s new two screen cinema is proving to be popular with locals and visitors alike, since opening its doors last September. The new facilities have allowed Galeri to expand their offering by being able to have a separate theatre and dedicated full time cinema, which has seen a significant increase in visitors. Galeri recently held their annual Pics Festival, where local children learnt skills from how create a film to how to critique films.
The new extension also features an art wet room, meeting room and new office space. The new configuration of the building has freed up office space in the main building, which is a hub for creative industries in the area.
Steff Thomas, Galeri’s marketing director, said:
“The first 6 months has been extremely positive on so many fronts. We’ve had almost 30,000 through the doors to enjoy a film since opening, we have also had to adapt and grow as a business. The way Galeri is now used, the footfall and expectations has meant that there is a constant buzz within the building, the business is performing relatively well and additional staff have been employed to address the demand. 3 additional jobs have been created since opening the extension”.
Welsh Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway’s new station will be opening full time from 30th March, which will see their trains arrive at the new station for the first time. The new station includes a new exhibition space, a café and a state of the art Changing Places toilets, that allows people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to use them safely and comfortably. Easter weekend will see the Railway offer free footplate rides, where people are invited to ride up to experience how a steam train operates.
This is the start of a busy few months for the railway, as they continue their partnership with Gwyl Fwyd Caernarfon helping people get to and from the festival with their enhanced train services from Porthmadog in May. 14th June will see the official opening of the station and a special day to celebrate has been organised.
Stephen Greig, Caernarfon Station Manager, said:
"This is such an exciting new venture for both the railway and myself and my team of locally recruited staff. We are looking forward to opening the doors to the public to show off our brilliant facilities and hosting some exciting events in our exhibition space and hosting a cafe and shop with gifts and local produce. These will be an attraction for the local community and visitors bringing a real Welsh sense of place to the northern terminus for our trains”.
The £15 million project, includes £2.45M EU to fund Galeri 2 and Welsh Highland Railway’s new terminus, through Visit Wales’ Tourism Attractor Destinations programme.
For more information on the Caernarfon Waterfront project, please visit their website.