The former Debenhams department store in Carmarthen town centre is to be repurposed as a new Hwb, which will bring together a range of health, wellbeing, learning and cultural services. This prominent building was identified as the preferred location through the preparation of the Carmarthen Town Centre Recovery Plan recently prepared by Owen Davies Consulting.
Carmarthenshire County Council, working with Hywel Dda University Health Board and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, are progressing at pace with plans to deliver the project after securing more than £15m from the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund.
The development, which is earmarked for more than £3.5m of match funding from Carmarthenshire County Council’s capital programme, aims to support people of all ages to access key services all under one roof.
Carmarthenshire County Council is progressing well with talks to secure the building and with funding and key partners all on board, hopes to begin transforming the space by the end of this year with completion expected in the spring of 2024.
Cllr Emlyn Dole, leader of the council and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to transform the high street and benefit the people and businesses of Carmarthenshire. It fits perfectly with our aspirations to repurpose Carmarthen town centre – a need highlighted in the Carmarthen town centre recovery plan which we have recently endorsed.”
The re-development of the former department store will bring almost 65,000 sq ft of prime commercial space back into use.
Lee Davies, director of strategic development and operational planning for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “The project will help to promote preventative healthcare and creatively link this with arts, learning, community, health, sports and leisure services,” while Professor Medwin Hughes, vice-chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, added the Hwb provided 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 Hwb project is being brought forward alongside a similar Hwb project at South Quay, in Pembroke town centre, which formed part of the bid to the Levelling Up Fund.