North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has this week called on the Minister for Welsh Economy and Transport, Ken Skates AM, to reveal what the reported “new plans” are for the currently empty Parc Bryn Cegin site, which is situated on the outskirts of Bangor.
The site was built in 2000 and despite several promises of development, it has remained empty for nearly twenty years. It was reported earlier this year that the developer appointed by the Welsh Government four years ago is in discussions with Gwynedd County Council and the Welsh Government about new plans for the site.
In the Assembly Chamber yesterday, Mr Isherwood asked the Minister to clarify the current situation with regards the site.
“It was 2015 when the Welsh Government appointed Liberty Properties Developments Ltd as developers for Bangor's Parc Bryn Cegin site. Last September, the former First Minister told this Assembly that 'The development land at Parc Bryn Cegin is available for development and is being actively marketed via our commercial property agents, our property data base, as well as Gwynedd Council.'
“Strangely, the identical words you used in responding initially today. So, congratulations to the consistency of your briefers. In January, ‘The Bangor Aye’ stated, 'It is now understood that Liberty are in discussions with Gwynedd Council and the Welsh Government about new plans for the site'.
“So, I wonder if you could expand upon what those new plans for the site are, and, responding to your comments about the inclusion within the Growth Vision for North Wales Proposition Document of the Parc Bryn Cegin Strategic Site Project, what dialogue you're having not just with the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, but with the North Wales Business Delivery Group set up to support it, regarding the achievement of their aspirations to generate 250 indirect jobs, five large businesses and up to £12 million private sector leverage from the exploitation of this opportunity.”
Responding, Kenny said:
“Mark Isherwood makes a very important point about the role of business groups in informing economic development in North Wales, and I've been at pains to stress to the Economic Ambition Board the crucial role that the private sector has in shaping a truly transformational growth deal and one that is backed up by private sector investment, and one that is able to leverage in more private sector investment as well. And so, whether it be with regard to Parc Bryn Cegin or any other of the sites and premises, or any other of the projects within the North Wales Growth Deal, I think it's absolutely essential that the Economic Ambition Board, the Programme Board and my officials engage with the private sector and with the employers who, potentially, will be occupying the site.
“The Member references a meeting that took place in December 2018 that included councillors of Gwynedd Council and also officers of Gwynedd Council, where Liberty noted that, if permitted, the incorporation of a discount food retailer into its proposal in lieu of some restaurant units would improve the scheme's viability. That was rejected. However, Liberty, as I say, have recently reported that it still has strong interest from one cinema operator and a number of restaurant operators as well, and it's reviewing other leisure sector options to support the viability of the project.”