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Carmarthen

Planning submitted to turn former Carmarthen Debenhams into community hub

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Plans to turn Carmarthen’s former Debenhams store into a health, wellbeing and cultural services venue have been submitted to the county’s planning authority by developer Bouygues UK.

The Carmarthen Hwb project is a collaboration between Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD).

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The project has been funded by the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

A Certificate of Conformity for a Change of Use of the building was approved under the County Council’s Local Development Order in July. This new application relates to the external works required to facilitate the conversion of the building.

Once open to the public, the council say it’s expected to increase footfall and drive economic resilience for the town centre. The Hwb will be a public space that will promote preventative health care and wellbeing. It will include employment support and lifelong learning opportunities, a gym, as well as housing some of the county’s museum collections in a state-of-the-art leisure, culture and exhibition space.

The Hwb will also provide tourist information, customer services as well as access to further and higher education delivered by the UWTSD Group, which includes Coleg Sir Gâr, and Hywel Dda University Health Board.

The Debenhams store in St Catherine’s Walk closed in May 2021 and has remained closed ever since, having a knock-on effect on town centre footfall. 

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John Boughton, Managing Director of Wales and the South West for Bouygues UK said of the development: “Bouygues UK is proud to be working on this important redevelopment which will bring nearly 6,000 square metres of commercial space in Carmarthen town centre back into everyday use.

“These Hwb developments have proved very popular in centralising public services in areas that are easily accessible by public transport, and this is a perfect example of that. Carmarthen is of strategic importance to the county, and therefore a main hub for those living in the region. It will be an amazing resource for the area, allowing people to access multiple public services thanks to this unique partnership between public, health and education sectors. We are looking forward to extending our social value contribution in the area by providing employment, skills and training for local people”

Carmarthenshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John said: “Bouygues UK has now submitted the planning application to redevelop the former Debenhams building in St Catherine’s Walk which, if approved, will provide a range of public services under one roof. Working in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, we intend to bring this prime commercial space back into use to help boost the local economy and transform the town centre.

“People will be able to call into the Carmarthen Hwb to access health services, employment support and public services, university facilities and lifelong learning opportunities and a gym.”

“This building will also provide a more central home for some of our museum collections, provide exhibition space and act as a welcome point for visitors to the town. It is important that this redevelopment adds value to the products and services that are already on offer in Carmarthen.”

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(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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