ONE of Britain’s largest builders’ merchants is set to expand its operations to an empty multi-million pound industrial park in Bangor.

It is hoped the move by Huws Gray Ltd to Parc Bryn Cegin could provide some of the site’s “first local jobs” whilst acting as a “catalyst” for further investment.

Plans for the Parc Bryn Cegin site were first submitted in 2000.

The Welsh Government later faced criticism after spending more than £11m on the project.

The scheme attracted further millions in European funding and cash from the former Welsh Development Agency in 2005.

It was hoped the 35 acre site would attract 1,600 jobs, additional investment and create more than 70,000sqm of business floor space.

But, over the years, the industrial site struggled to attract businesses.

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Now, Huws Gray, which has headquarters in Llangefni, Anglesey, and has more than 100 branches across Wales, has been given the green light to move into Plot C at the park.

It successfully sought permission to expand its nearby Llandygai Industrial Estate branch activities to the site during a planning meeting in Caernarfon on Monday.

Through agents Cadnant Planning it proposed a building comprising a total of 2,405m² of floor area, spilt into 2,069m² on the ground floor and 336m² on the mezzanine floor.

The ground floor would include a retail area, trade counter, office, toilets, staff room/canteen and warehouse.

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It also included covered access for customers and mezzanine floor retail area.

The proposed unit would measure 72m x 28m, the roof would be 8m to the eaves and 9m to the ridge.

The company’s branch had 17 staff, and the proposed number of employees at the new site was given as 20, with three full-time roles being created.

The meeting heard how the firm’s Bangor staff were “local people and the majority Welsh speakers”.

It was anticipated that this would be the same for any new jobs created.

In its design, access and planning statement, Cadnant Planning said: “It was hoped that the park would create a more ‘prosperous local economy’, but it has been empty ever since, until planning permission was granted recently for a bio-compressed natural gas vehicle fuelling station at plot C1, which would provide very limited jobs.

“The proposed [Huws Gray] development could provide the first new jobs on the business park and act as a catalyst for further investment.”

The council’s planning department proposed the development was “appropriate” for the site.

Some concerns were expressed in the planning report over the impact on three residential properties at Rhos Isaf, 250m from the site.

The planners did not consider the development would cause “significant harm” to the amenity quality of the site or local neighbourhood.

In conclusion, it was “likely to be of strategic importance to the county as a starting point for business developments on the site”.

It stated: “If some sort of development does not take place to boost the development of the park it could remain empty for some years to come.

“We don’t want to see that.”

They recommended the committee approve the application.

Councillor Elwyn Edwards proposed accepting the application, seconded by Cllr John Pughe.

Councillor Elwyn Jones said he “was pleased to support the application by a local company” and “welcomed additional posts coming to the area”.

The vote was unanimously passed.