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MS calls for empty government building to be turned into affordable housing for locals

19 Jun 2023 2 minute read
Welsh Government offices in Penrallt

Siân Gwenllian MS has called for a large building in the centre of Caernarfon to be turned into affordable housing for locals.

The building has been empty for two years after its owner, the Welsh Government, moved out and other agencies located there also had to vacate the premises.

Ms Gwenllian, the local Member of the Senedd, says the five-storey building would go some of the way to tackle the homelessness crisis in the county.

According to the council’s latest housing report which was published last week, homelessness in Gwynedd has surged by 48% between 2019-20 and 2021-22.

Craig ab Iago, Gwynedd’s Cabinet Member for Homes revealed there were 652 homeless people on the council’s books, with 36 children in bed and breakfast accommodation.

In an intervention on the floor of the Senedd last week, Siân Gwenllian, who represents  Caernarfon as part of the Arfon constituency, suggested making use of the building to help alleviate the housing crisis.


She said: “The Government offices in Penrallt have been empty for two years, and the council along with a local housing association are eager to use the building to provide temporary accommodation to people who present themselves as homeless.

“In May alone, 107 people presented as homeless in Gwynedd. The county spends £6 million on unsuitable living arrangements, because there is insufficient provision of temporary accommodation.

“There would be room for more than 30 people in Penrallt, a site that is right in the centre of the town of Caernarfon.

“This week I made the point to Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government that in terms of making effective use of public resources that it would make sense to move forward with this scheme.”

In response, Rebecca Evans revealed that the Welsh Government wished to see redevelopment of the site delivering affordable housing to tackle the current housing crisis in the area.

She also confirmed that a meeting had been arranged between senior officials of the Welsh Government and Dafydd Gibbard, Chief Executive of Gwynedd Council, and his officers.

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9 months ago

Get on with it, girls and boys. Seems that there is some kind of consensus unless there’s a bit of posturing going on that I can’t see. Big spaces must be repurposed unless there are overwhelming environmental reasons for not doing so. Conversion into a mix of units for families, singles, even other special groups like elderly, disabled etc in locations convenient to services is way to go.

9 months ago

Only 30 people in a building that size? Many more surely?

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