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Sneak peek of new-look gateway to Abergele

A housing association has unveiled plans to brighten up the “gateway” to Abergele.

Cartrefi Conwy has released artist’s impressions to provide a sneak peek of the landscaped area which will include seating, pagodas, flower beds and a wooden sculpture.

The organisation will be submitting a planning application to spruce up the plot next to the bus stop and the Tesco roundabout on Market Street.

It’s next to the landmark town centre site which includes the closed Bee Hotel and the old Slaters Citroen and Nissan dealership.

If it’s given the go-ahead, the new communal area will be a temporary measure while Cartrefi develop the overall plan for the 2.3 acre plot in conjunction with key stakeholders, including local people and businesses.

Abergele Western Gateway Site visit in the foreground David Lowe, Cartrefi Conwy, The Mayor of Abergele, Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, Adrian Johnson, Group Deputy Chief Executive for the Cartrefi Conwy Group and Sarah Murphy, Cartrefi Conwy

Sarah Murphy, Development Project Manager for Cartrefi Conwy, said: “This ‘meanwhile use’ is a three-year proposal that will bring life to corner.

“What we want to create is a communal area that is a lot more attractive and interactive where people can wait for their bus or move through the space.

“We are going to be reusing as much of the material from the site itself, stone for the gambion seating, with metal work and timber being recycled to make pagodas, flower beds of different heights and a wooden sculpture.

“We feel it’s a much more positive way to use the space rather than just having the bare fencing.

“We will be submitting a planning application and we hope to be doing that before Christmas.

“The overall vision for the site is to work with the community to deliver a fantastic scheme that has a wider benefit to the people of Abergele and will regenerate the town.

“The work on the main scheme will be carried out over three phases and we hope to be talking to the community about plans for the first phase in January when we’ll be holding information sharing sessions, as part of the pre-planning consultation process.”

Among those taken on a guided tour of the site by Sarah Murphy was Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, the Leader of Conwy Council, along with representatives from Welsh Government, Conwy Council and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.

Cllr McCoubrey said: “This is the gateway into the town so it’s hugely important site in terms of our economy and welcoming people to Abergele.

“I’m absolutely delighted to see the redevelopment go ahead and it will be highly beneficial for us moving forward.

“I think anything that encourages footfall in the town is a good thing. It was a very sad day when the Bee Hotel closed down but unfortunately we’re seeing across the whole UK lots of pubs are closing down and we have to find pragmatic and practical solutions to replace the role that they play within the community, whilst respecting the historic culture and setting of the town.

“What we have to do is bring people with us by being very open about what’s going on, so that people see what the problems are so we can arrive at something that the vast majority of people will be happy with.

“People will really welcome progress and see that things are happening. We have a clear, practical pathway now and the new use at the front of the site that people can enjoy, whilst we bring the plans forward, will be really beneficial.”

Adrian Johnson, the Deputy Chief Executive of Cartrefi Conwy, said: “Slaters and the Bee Hotel closed down and there was very little interest in acquiring the site so, without this scheme, it would have been left to become increasingly derelict.

“We are collaborating closely with the local community and our partners to respond to the needs of town.

“It’s a huge project for Cartrefi Conwy  in a strategically important part of the county where we already have a large number of homes.

“We also want to work with local business to create something that is bespoke to the town, creating training and employment opportunities in the process. In the longer term, local shops, pubs, restaurants and other local businesses will all benefit. 

“It’s a pioneering scheme for us and a huge opportunity  to make a very real and positive difference to people’s lives as well as regenerating the local economy.

“The site has played an important part in the history of Abergele and this exciting new development will ensure it will also have an important and positive role in the town’s future.”