Levelling up funds breathe new life into former Debenhams building in Carmarthen
The former Debenham’s building in Carmarthen is set to be converted into a new hub after Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Councils secured £19.9million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
The Carmarthen Hwb aims to bring health, wellbeing, learning and cultural services all under one roof.
The hubs are designed to create a more diverse and sustainable mix of uses for Carmarthen and Pembroke town centres.
The Carmarthen Hwb will be developed in the former Debenhams building in St Catherine’s Walk, in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David alongside other service providers.
The £74m flagship store opened in 2010 and closed its doors to customers for the last time in May 2021.
The new Hwb will be the first venture of its kind in Carmarthenshire, bringing together a range of key public services under one roof.
Proposals include a state-of-the-art leisure, culture and exhibition space alongside health and tourist information, customer services as well as access to further and higher education delivered by the UWTSD Group, which includes Coleg Sir Gâr.
The project will also receive £3.5million match funding from the council’s capital budget.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John said: “We are delighted to be working with our public sector partners on this ground-breaking project which will bring this prime commercial space back into use to help boost the local economy and transform the town centre.
“One of the main aims of our post-pandemic economic recovery plan is to strengthen the vitality and longevity of our town centres and by delivering a new mix of services to the traditional high street, we can attract more people and help to increase footfall for neighbouring shops and businesses.
“People will be able to call in to the Carmarthen Hwb to access health and social care services, a state-of-the-art town centre gym, access to employment support and public services, as well as university facilities and lifelong learning opportunities.
“It could also provide a more central home for some of our museum collections, with exhibition space, and act as a welcome point for visitors to the town.
Lee Davies, Executive Director of Strategic Development and Operational Planning at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We’re excited to be working with our partners on the Carmarthen Hwb development.
The new facility is an important part of our strategy for a healthier mid and west Wales, bringing health and well-being closer to home for our communities. It will provide a range of health, well-being, learning and cultural services to help people of all ages access key services all in one place.”
The project in Carmarthen is mirrored by a similar scheme at South Quay, in Pembroke town centre, which formed part of the bid to the Levelling Up Fund.
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All well & good, but this article completely glosses over the myriad issues with the so called ‘leveling up’ policy…
It’s a big P.R exercise, crumbs off the table job. Many of the “mental health issues” in our communities would disappear if anew wave of real jobs found its way into the area to replace those destroyed by successive central government policies over the last 30 – 40 years. Learning and culture is all well and good but in this context a distraction from the real structural issues that blight much of Wales.
Glad to see the town having something, but come on, less than £20 million, that they had to bid for, when we as a country are losing £ 1.404 billion over four years in Euro funding not given as promised, we won’t be a penny worse off, said a Tory in Cymru. That lot in London are laughing all the way to the next contract they will award to family and friends, and we know who’s money it will be. Shysters.
It sounds like this is a glorified pile of leaflets in the entrance to a ‘gym’, there is no substance to any of this that I can discern…
So let’s put this in context. This hunger game funding (which we now have to fight each other to get a tiny portion of) is a minute fraction of the Area 1 funding we got from the EU. Well done Brexiteers. Shooting the nation in the foot since 2016
How warped are our priorities as a society that it was even possible to spend £74 million (yes million) pounds to build a bl##dy shop back in 2010 when there is so much inequality and underinvestment in public services.
God we’ve got to start doing things differently!
Agreed. And that starts with seceding from this hostage situation that masquerades as a union. Once we govern ourselves we can choose our own path free from the massive ravenous baby squalling on our backs.
This was really interesting to read. Such a magnificent work. The design of that building is unique and cool.