Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, visited Caernarfon to announce that the Caernarfon Town and Waterfront Regeneration initiative has taken another step forward after receiving the green light for £2.5 million EU funds which will unlock a £14 million investment programme.
The developments at Caernarfon are part of the Welsh Government’s wider EU funded Tourism Attractor Destination programme, led by Visit Wales, which aims to create 11 must see destinations across Wales. The project is designed to further enhance the town’s status as an iconic destination which will celebrate the area’s exceptional cultural and historical strengths.
The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway terminus in the town will be transformed as part of the project. With over 100,000 visitors per annum it’s a key gateway to Caernarfon, and the project will ensure a much improved visitor experience and provide opportunities to link the station with the heart of the town.
A second part of the project will enhance the offer at Galeri and broaden the range of facilities – including wet weather options – which Caernarfon has to offer the increasing numbers of visitors to the town. The proposed work involves extending Galeri to include cinema facilities, offices and creative work space.
Work will also be undertaken to ensure linkages between three key sites within the town are improved so that visitors can flow to and from the Castle, Railway Terminus and Island Site with greater ease.
This funding approval will unlock a £14 million tourism regeneration programme of investment which includes private sector funding as well as public sector funding from the Welsh Government and Arts Council Wales.
The wider project also includes work to redevelop the ‘Island site’ adjacent to the Castle into a mixed use development incorporating business premises, visitor attractions and creative workshops and spaces, the project will be led by Gwynedd County Council.
A further programme led by Cadw will also be submitted for approval as part of the ERDF Tourism Attractor Destination Programme which will aim to restore and convert key historic assets at the entrance of Caernarfon Castle, The Kings Gate, including significant enhancement to facilities for visitors to re-enforce and build on its status as a World renowned attraction.
Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, said:
“I’m delighted to announce that this funding has been made available to enable Caernarfon to become the iconic destination it deserves to be while drawing on its rich heritage and cultural assets. Our aim through the Tourism Attractor Destination programme is to focus efforts and investment on key projects in each region so we have a real impact on Wales’ profile in this globally competitive market.”
Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member (Economy):
“Caernarfon is a town with a rich history and we want to ensure that it has a strong and vibrant future. With the 13th century castle and World Heritage Site a stunning backdrop, work is progressing on a series of projects that aim to ensure that Caernarfon builds on its strengths and becomes a globally iconic destination. I am delighted that we have been successful in securing additional funding for the landmark Caernarfon waterfront and town centre regeneration initiative. This is a huge vote of confidence in Caernarfon and a further boost to our efforts to regenerate the town and surrounding area.”
Paul Lewin, Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways said:
“The Welsh Highland Railway Development has brought significant benefits and a sustained increase in visitor numbers to Caernarfon over the last fifteen years. We are very pleased indeed that we can finally create a station facility in the town that matches the quality of our trains and landscape through which we they travel. We are proud to be part of the Waterfront scheme and making a difference in Caernarfon. Our supporters have donated over £300,000 towards our match funding requirement so far.”
Gwyn Roberts, Chief Executive Galeri Cyf said:
“We are very pleased that the approval of this programme will allow this exciting development here at Galeri to go ahead. Developing this resource for visitors from far and near is important to Caernarfon. The two new cinema screens will also give Caernarfon’s inhabitants the opportunity to see the latest film releases on their doorstep. We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has secured this vital investment.”
Councillor Ioan Thomas, Chairman of the Caernarfon Harbour Trust said:
“This represents a significant step to assembling the funding package essential to achieving the comprehensive regeneration of Caernarfon’s historic town centre and waterfront that is supported by a partnership of local and national organisations”.