CONSTRUCTION work is underway on new £12m sustainable employment premises at the Cross Hands East Strategic Employment Site in Carmarthenshire, which will provide innovative and modern commercial space for businesses to grow in the local area, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, has announced.
The Welsh Government, in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council, is building 32,500 square feet of low carbon offices, light industrial units and hybrid spaces for letting across three buildings.
With support from the Active Building Centre, the project will help transform the way commercial buildings are powered and heated.
Using innovative technology and Active Building design principles, the new buildings will generate electricity using on-site renewables and incorporate high levels of insulation to deliver a low carbon development with reduced running costs.
The aim is to achieve ‘net zero carbon in-use standard’, which would see the development produce enough renewable energy to meet the lighting and heating needs of the buildings.
The Welsh Government is investing £5.9m in the project, with additional funding contributions being made by Carmarthenshire County Council and the Active Building Centre. In addition, £3.25m funding has also been awarded to the project by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government. The main contractor for the development is Andrew Scott Limited.
The Cross Hands East Strategic Employment Site has been delivered via a joint venture between the Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire County Council, comprising a large programme of infrastructure works delivered over two phases.
Speaking as the COP27 UN climate summit takes place in Egypt, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government is taking decisive action to tackle the climate change crisis, so that we build a better green future for our country.
“We’re also working hard to deliver the supercharged green industries of the future that will help create high-quality jobs for people in their local communities.
“Delivering first-class business spaces is central to that vision – and it’s vital we do this in a way which contributes to our decarbonisation aspirations. This new development does exactly that, by demonstrating superb low carbon credentials.
“With the support of the Active Building Centre, I hope it can become a launchpad for further low carbon employment space, promote new technologies and provide essential data on the benefits low carbon buildings can deliver.”
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John said: “We are pleased to deliver these high-quality commercial premises, which will bring much needed employment space to the area.
“This investment by Carmarthenshire County Council and Welsh Government demonstrates our desire to continue the development of Carmarthenshire’s Strategic Employment Site.”
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability, Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen said:
“This development is a clear indicator of the action the Council is taking to meet its net zero carbon 2030 commitment.
“We are pleased to be delivering such a significant demonstrator project, which has the potential to lead the way in terms of highly sustainable commercial buildings. The fabric first design approach and innovative technologies integrated into the buildings are methods which the construction sector must adopt to play their part in reversing the climate emergency.”
The Active Building Centre’s Chief Operating Officer Andy Perry said: “As a company born in Wales, we are proud to have worked on this exciting project. We hope it can be used as a framework for other sites; especially as it showcases what can and should be done to help tackle the challenge of net zero.
“Designing integrated structures and energy systems to be part of the solution around decarbonisation, with active technologies built in from the start, will mean that our buildings are not just users of energy but will play an integral part in meeting the challenges of climate change.”