REGENERATION projects costing up to £15m and designed to breathe new life into Caernarfon’s waterfront are “progressing” according to developers.
A scheme to transform Caernarfon’s Cei Llechi (Slate Quay) area into a cultural artisan quarter, set to boost tourism and trade, are now underway.
The Heritage Lottery confirmed the Cei Llechi project will receive £3.5 million funds. The cash forms part of a wider £15 million Caernarfon Tourism Attractor Destination project led by Croeso Cymru partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Gwynedd Council, through the Caernarfon Waterfront Initiative, is working with partners to develop the Galeri 2, the new Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway stations and the Cei Llechi Island Site projects.
Councillor Ioan Thomas Gwynedd Council cabinet member for economic development said: “Caernarfon’s waterfront is steeped in history and we want to ensure that it can look forward to a vibrant and sustainable future.
“The Caernarfon Waterfront Initiative includes local partners working together towards a shared vision that will provide a major boost for local residents, businesses and visitors. The Cei Llechi area will be a hub for crafts, makers and artisans.
Part of the Waterfront Initiative involves the development of the new Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways station, creating a natural link from the railway to the town.
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways chief Paul Lewin said: “We are proud to be investing in Caernarfon.
“The new station will offer much improved facilities for visitors arriving by road or by rail and is bringing £2 million work to the local area in the next 12 months.
“With the opening due in the summer of 2018, the station will create a good impression for arriving visitors and encourage them to take time to explore Caernarfon and its many attractions.”
The new two-storey terminus will include a railway shop, coffee shop, a spacious modern interpretation area and toilets. Artist Bedwyr Williams will showcase images and information about the area. The Galeri, which opened in 2005, is a centre for the arts and a serves as 'hub' for artists, musicians, students and residents.
Work is progressing on its new two-screen cinema extension at Doc Fictoria, which will become Anglesey and Gwynedd’s only multi-screen facility showing films ‘on release’ all year.
Galeri chief executive Gwyn Roberts said: “It’s satisfying to see work now progressing.
“The estimated construction period is around 12 months, so the new cinema spaces will be open during the summer of 2018.”
Planning permission was granted for the scheme and Cei Llechi will be managed on behalf of the harbour trust by Galeri Caernarfon Cyf.
Bob Lowe, chairman of the Cei Llechi project board, said; “With a fair wind we hope to make a start on-site soon after Christmas 2017 and be open for business by the summer of 2019.”