Two neighbouring landmark sites in Abergele are being redeveloped as part of plans to regenerate the town.
Housing association Cartrefi Conwy has teamed up with contractors Anwyl Partnerships to breathe new life into the 2.3 acre plot of land that’s been vacant for several years.
The location just off Market Street includes the closed Bee Hotel and the old Slaters Citroen and Nissan dealership.
Slaters closed suddenly in March 2018 after 100 years of trading and then went into administration.
The shock collapse left 74 people out of work and ended the company’s century-long association with the market town.
Now a plan has been unveiled for a mixed commercial development and affordable housing for people aged over 55, along with improved community space and access.
The acquisition of the land paves the way for the biggest single scheme in Cartrefi Conwy’s history.
It comes on the heels of news that the housing association has secured an extra £39 million in funding to build 1,000 new energy efficient homes.
According to Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden, the new finance package was a “gamechanger” that will enable the organisation to reach new heights and help kick start the North Wales economy back into life after the slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Around £22 million of the total is from Lloyds Bank and Cartrefi Conwy is the first social housing landlord in Wales to tap into their sustainability-linked funding which includes an interest rate reduction scheme to reward the provision of affordable, zero carbon homes and tackling homelessness.
The planned scheme has been welcomed by Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, the Leader of Conwy County Borough Council.
Cllr McCoubrey said: “I am really excited because this site has been derelict for four years. It’s been a real eyesore in such a key gateway site in the town as people enter from the west.
“I am especially pleased to see a mixed residential and commercial development being proposed.
“Shop occupancy in Abergele is high so there are very few units available – bringing more retail into the town will be appreciated.
“Around 20 per cent of our households are single occupancy so having more suitable housing for over 55s will free up more family homes.”
Mr Bowden said “We are delighted to be working alongside Anwyl Partnerships on this important site.
“We are grateful to Conwy County Borough Council for their interest in this project and for their strategic support in relation to breathing new life into this site.
“This will be one of the biggest regeneration and development schemes we have led on to date.
“Our development team will be working with a range of stakeholders over the coming months to develop plans for the site and we will be asking local residents and businesses for their input on these plans in the near future.
“There will also be a full opportunity for local people to give their views during the public consultation that will take place as part of the pre-planning and planning process.
“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.”
Anwyl’s homes division are currently also working with Cartrefi Conwy to develop 50 homes at the Parc Aberkinsey development in Rhyl.
Sam Oliver, Senior Land Manager at Anwyl Partnerships, said: “It’s great to be working with Cartrefi Conwy again, and on such an important acquisition concerning a strategic site at the heart of the local community.
“We are currently in the process of carrying out health and safety checks following initial site and structural surveys of the former hotel to ensure the existing building is safe and poses no risk to the general public.
“Once these checks are completed, we are really looking forward to developing an exciting vision and concept with our partners Cartrefi Conwy by sensitively repurposing the site for a range of uses.’’