AN AMBITIOUS waterfront and regeneration project has taken another step forward after receiving a huge funding boost.

Welsh Government Economy Secretary Ken Skates has revealed that £2.5 million in EU funds has been agreed for the Caernarfon Town and Waterfront Regeneration initiative.

This will ‘unlock’ a £14 million investment programme.

The developments 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 also aims to further enchance the town’s status as an “iconic destination”, celebrating the area’s cultural and historical strengths.

As part of the project, The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway terminus in the town is to be transformed.

A second part of the project will enhance the offer at Galeri and broaden the range of facilities – including wet weather options.

This involves extending Galeri to include cinema, offices and creative workspace.

Work will also be undertaken to ensure links between three sites within the town, allowing visitors to travel “with ease” to and from the castle, railway terminus and island site.

The wider project also includes work to redevelop the island site – next to the castle – into a mixed-use development incorporating business premises, visitor attractions and creative workshops and spaces.

The project is to 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.

Mr 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.”

Cllr Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd Council cabinet member for the economy, said: “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. This is a huge vote of confidence in Caernarfon.”

Paul Lewin, of 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 15 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.”