£1M ‘Masterplan’ hopes for Pembrokeshire National Park

Pembrokeshire’s national park is expected to support a near-£1m long-term hope to turn St Davids’ Oriel y Parc visitor centre into “world-class” attraction for the park.

At the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park authority meeting of July 26, members will receive an update Oriel y Parc masterplan, with a recommendation to adopt the near-£1m scheme as the “long-term aspiration for Oriel y Parc,” subject to the development of a business plan and the securing of necessary funding.

In early 2022 the park instructed consultants from The Creative Core to undertake a review of the National Park Visitor Centre in St Davids to ensure “the centre aligns with the evolving vision and objectives of PCNPA, particularly in light of changes to tourism post-Covid”.

A report for members adds: “Little has changed at Oriel y Parc since a major extension was added to the original building in 2008.”

Several scenarios have been presented in the masterplan report to members, with three options included: a six-month £50,000 ‘light touch’ project to “streamline and update messaging and provide an exhibitions infrastructure for staff to update moving forward,” a £350,000 12-18 month project building on the first stage to “offer an engaging visitor experience, whilst making minimal amendments to the building,” and a circa £1m two year project to “create a flagship Discovery Centre”.

The report for members states the last proposal would offer: “An in-depth programme of community engagement and consultation will inform new permanent interpretation and temporary community exhibitions. A true blended offer will create a Civic Hub, developed with and for the people of St Davids and Pembrokeshire.”

It adds: “This option maximises the site as well as the building, encompassing the Tower as an immersive storytelling experience. The courtyard will be transformed with the introduction of events infrastructure, new seating and architectural lighting.

“The main entrance will be opened up and enhanced to increase prominence and visibility from the courtyard. Internal dividing walls will be adapted to offer flexibility for events and programming, offering hireable spaces that reflect the park. Mini hubs or spoke site interpretation will be empower people with practical information and signposting back to Oriel y Parc.”

The report goes on to say: “…without a refreshed approach and further investment the site will plateau and not modernise in order to meet changing demands (in terms of the issues facing the National Park and the needs of its customers).

“In short, doing nothing potentially carries more risks than adopting the recommendations highlighted under Option 3 in the Masterplan document.”

Members are recommended to approve the adoption of ‘Option 3’.

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