The former Debenhams building to consolidate utilities

LOCAL utility providers are working together on an exciting new venture to take over the former Debenhams building in Carmarthen.

The Carmarthen Hwb aims to bring together health, wellness, learning and cultural services under one roof.

Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council have secured £19.9m from the UK Government’s Leveling Fund to create town centers in South West Wales.

The hubs will benefit local residents, businesses and visitors, and create a more diverse and sustainable mix of uses for the town centers of Carmarthen and Pembroke.

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 University of Wales Trinity Saint David alongside other service providers.

It will be the first business of its kind in Carmarthenshire, bringing together a range of key public services under one roof, providing convenient space and allowing people to relax and enjoy their free time.

The proposals include state-of-the-art leisure, cultural and exhibition spaces, as well as health and tourism information, customer services as well as access to higher and higher education provided by the UWTSD group, which includes Coleg Sir Gâr.

The objective is to complete the already existing offer in the city center and to increase the number of visits to local businesses.

The project will receive matching funding of £3.5 million 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 groundbreaking project which will bring this prime commercial space back into use for help stimulate the local economy and transform the city centre.

“One of the main objectives of our post-pandemic economic recovery plan is to strengthen the vitality and longevity of our town centers and by offering a new mix of services in the traditional high street, we can attract more people and help increase footfall for neighboring businesses and businesses.

“People will be able to call the Carmarthen Hwb to access health and social care services, a state-of-the-art city center gym, access to employment support and public services, as well as to university facilities and lifelong learning opportunities.

“It could also provide a more central home for some of our museum collections, with exhibition space, and serve as a welcome point for visitors to the city.

“It is important that we work with local businesses on this project which will add value to the products and services already offered in the city center to encourage more people to come to town and in turn increase commerce for all .”

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Lee Davies, Executive Director of Strategic Development and Operational Planning at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said, “We are delighted to be working with our partners on the development of Carmarthen Hwb.

“The new facility is an important part of our strategy for a healthier Mid and West Wales, bringing health and wellbeing closer to our communities.

“It will provide a range of health, wellness, learning and cultural services to help people of all ages access key services in one place.”

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, UWTSD Group Vice-Chancellor, said: “The University is delighted to be part of this exciting project.

“It offers a unique opportunity to work with partners to revitalize our town centers by providing a mix of leisure, cultural and educational opportunities for the benefit of residents and businesses.

“The University looks forward to working with Carmarthenshire County Council to deliver the vision of Carmarthen Hwb.”

The project is complementary to a similar program at South Quay in downtown Pembroke, which was part of the Leveling Up Fund application.

Both projects aim to bring health and well-being to the center of the two neighboring towns, by creating an inclusive public service offer that responds to changing local needs and contributes to footfall and environmental benefit.