HOUSING for up to 46 individuals and families has been green lit after the council was given approval to proceed with the purchase of disused offices in the centre of Caernarfon.

The purchase of the five-storey Crown Offices, Penrallt from the Welsh Government underlines the urgent need for more units to house people in the County. This building, which used to be the offices of the Welsh Government in the town, has been standing empty for an extended period.

Against a backdrop of 2,300 applications, which equates to almost 5,000 people, for social housing in Gwynedd, and 63 per cent of Gwynedd's residents priced out of the housing market in the county, this purchase will contribute to the council's aim of providing more quality homes for local people.

Since April 2023, 885 people have presented as homeless in Gwynedd and almost 250 households are currently living in unsuitable emergency accommodation, such as hotels or bed and breakfast, with options for people to move on to permanent housing extremely limited due to a lack of suitable housing options.

In addition, the use of emergency accommodation places a significant financial burden on Local Authorities.

The council aims to give new life to the disused building, encouraging community growth in the centre of Caernarfon, working towards easing the housing pressure in Gwynedd and ensuring that full support is given to give to people in need of housing.

The council also intends to include a Housing Services Hub on the ground floor of the building.

This scheme reflects the council's wider intention to provide more high-quality housing through its £140million Housing Action Plan, aiming to ensure that everyone in Gwynedd has access to affordable, quality homes in their own communities. 

Councillor Craig ab Iago, Cyngor Gwynedd’s housing and property cabinet member, said: “For years now, the need for homes has been on the rise in Gwynedd.

"We must recognise the human impact of these figures – especially on the mental and physical well-being of the most vulnerable in our communities.

“This is not just a local issue; it is a national trend, and the council is committed to ensuring that no one in Gwynedd is left without a roof over their heads.

“Purchasing the Penrallt building in Caernarfon is an extremely positive step forward.

“The site will offer a home to those in need of housing, while the Council will be available to offer support.

“Furthermore, this development will provide high quality accommodation to help ease the pressure on Cyngor Gwynedd’s housing services.


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“But remember, this development is only one piece of the jigsaw.

“The council is taking great strides to tackle some of the causes of the housing crisis through its Housing Action Plan – building more homes, bringing empty homes back into use and into the hands of local people, and providing more housing for people experiencing homelessness.”

Councillor Cai Larsen, local member for Canol Tref Caernarfon, said: “As a member in an area like Caernarfon where there are a significant number of people on waiting lists, and where it is common for people to find themselves homeless, I welcome this development and any measure to prepare provision and support for those who need housing. 

“I have been worried about the site – it is messy and deteriorating and it causes problems for people who live in the area due to anti-social behaviour and problems with the alarm system, so seeing a scheme like this is good news for me and the residents of the area.”

Arfon MS Siân Gwenllian said: “The Welsh Government building in Caernarfon town centre has been empty for too long and its condition is now unacceptable.

“This new scheme is a very good use of the building, and I have raised the idea on the floor of the Senedd in recent months.

“The scheme will provide much needed living units for the growing number of people and families who find themselves without a roof over their heads.

“Support services will also be available in the building.”