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Wales Planning Award for Plas Heli Sailing Academy


The Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre at Pwllheli has secured yet another prestigious national award as it has recently been awarded the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Cymru Wales Planning Award 2016.

Plas Heli beat off stiff competition at the Wales awards, and will now go on to represent Wales at the UK-wide RTPI Planning Awards.

The RTPI adjudicating panel felt that the project has achieved a number of important benefits, providing a well-designed building that is fit for purpose and respects its local context, strengthening the link with the town centre, as well as creating strong links with the community, the local economy and supply chain and between sailing and the education sector.

Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Community said:

“We are delighted that Plas Heli has received the top Wales Planning Award at the RTPI event.

“The waters around Pwllheli have been recognised as world class for many years. However, the Council recognised some time ago that the on-land facilities needed improvement if the area was to build on this reputation.

“The National Sailing Academy and Events Centre was designed to respond to this and the iconic Plas Heli building has become an important facility to host national and international sailing events as well as  catering for local community and educational needs. The £9 million facility which has been delivered thanks to partnership work with a number of key organisations forms a key part in our efforts to develop Gwynedd’s reputation as a location for fantastic outdoor activities.”

The National Sailing Academy and Events Centre building is a multi-functional centre open to all which includes a main hall for sailing and community uses, training and educational rooms and catering facilities. It also provides excellent on-land facilities which complement the world class sailing waters in Cardigan Bay. The popular facility is run by the not-for-profit company, Plas Heli Cyf.

Plas Heli Chairman, Stephen Tudor said he was delighted with the national recognition:

“We are very proud that Plas Heli has been awarded this coveted all-Wales award from the RTPI and we look forward now to the UK-wide awards.

“The latest figures show that Plas Heli generated £4 million to the local economy during 2015, attracting tourist that would not have visited the area were it not for the National Sailing Academy and Events Centre building and the accompanying facilities it provides. Equally important for us in Plas Heli is the range of community activities that are held in the centre which help to strengthen the links between the town centre and this part of Pwllheli. The fact is that Plas Heli offers something for everyone and this award recognises that.”

Peter Lloyd, Chair of RTPI Cymru added:

“Planning has been at the heart of this project, ensuring environmental, economic and community concerns have been met. Planners played a role in the crucial partnerships between the council, government and other stakeholders to deliver this high quality project. As a keen dinghy sailor myself, I know that this outstanding state of the art complex is meeting the needs of the local community while allowing Pwllheli to compete on the global sailing stage.”

The Wales National Sailing Academy Project was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Convergence Programme 2007-2013, Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council. The project has also been supported by Pwllheli Sailing Club, Coleg Meirion Dwyfor and the Welsh Yachting Association.