LOCAL public service providers are working together on an exciting new venture to take over the former Debenhams building in Carmarthen.
The Carmarthen Hwb aims to bring health, wellbeing, learning and cultural services all under one roof.
Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council have secured £19.9million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund to create town centre hubs in South West Wales.
The hubs will benefit local residents, businesses, and visitors, and create a more diverse and sustainable mix of uses for Carmarthen and Pembroke town centres.
The Carmarthen Hwb will be developed in the former Debenhams building in St Catherine’s Walk, in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David alongside other service providers.
It will be the first venture of its kind in Carmarthenshire, bringing together a range of key public services under one roof providing convenient and a space for people to relax and enjoy their leisure time.
The proposals include state-of-the-art leisure, culture and exhibition space alongside health and tourist information, customer services as well as access to further and higher education delivered by the UWTSD Group, which includes Coleg Sir Gâr.
The aim is to complement what is already on offer in the town centre and to increase footfall for local businesses.
The project will receive £3.5million match funding from the council’s capital budget.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John said: “We are delighted to be working with our public sector partners on this ground-breaking project which will bring this prime commercial space back into use to help boost the local economy and transform the town centre.
“One of the main aims of our post-pandemic economic recovery plan is to strengthen the vitality and longevity of our town centres and by delivering a new mix of services to the traditional high street, we can attract more people and help to increase footfall for neighbouring shops and businesses.
“People will be able to call in to the Carmarthen Hwb to access health and social care services, a state-of-the-art town centre gym, access to employment support and public services, as well as university facilities and lifelong learning opportunities.
“It could also provide a more central home for some of our museum collections, with exhibition space, and act as a welcome point for visitors to the town.
“It is important that we work with local businesses on this project which will add value to the products and services already on offer in the town centre to encourage more people into town, and in turn increase trade for everyone.”
Lee Davies, Executive Director of Strategic Development and Operational Planning at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We’re excited to be working with our partners on the Carmarthen Hwb development. The new facility is an important part of our strategy for a healthier mid and west Wales, bringing health and well-being closer to home for our communities. It will provide a range of health, well-being, learning and cultural services to help people of all ages access key services all in one place.”
Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of the UWTSD Group said: “The University is delighted to be part of this exciting project. It offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with partners to revitalise our town centres by offering a mix of leisure, cultural and education opportunities to benefit residents and businesses. The University looks forward to working with Carmarthenshire County Council on realising the vision for the Carmarthen Hwb.”
The project is complementary to a similar scheme at South Quay, in Pembroke town centre, which formed part of the bid to the Levelling Up Fund.
Both projects aim to bring health and wellbeing into the centres of the two neighbouring towns, creating an inclusive public service offer that meets changing local needs and which helps drive footfall and environmental benefit.