Now, thanks to initial support from National Lottery players, this once bustling industrial hub could be returned to its former glory.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has earmarked just over £3.3million to help regenerate the former slate quay on Caernarfon waterfront, known as the Island Site, transforming it into a vibrant shopping and tourist hotspot fit for the craftsmen of today.
This project is funded under the Heritage Enterprise programme - set up with the sole purpose of supporting economic growth by investing in neglected historic buildings and bringing them back into commercial use. By working with not-for-profit organisations, Heritage Enterprise also encourages private sector investment as well as levering in additional funding from government and local authorities.
Baroness Kay Andrews, the newly appointed UK Trustee and Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, was thrilled by the plans during a recent visit: “Our heritage is a tremendous asset and it is already clear that this award from funds raised by the National Lottery will make a real difference to people, places and communities.
“However, in the current and challenging funding environment, it is increasingly important to find innovative ways to sustain our heritage. That’s why we are investing in new approaches, like Heritage Enterprise - a grant programme that will breathe new life into these wonderful historic buildings right in the heart of Caernarfon and which will be a powerful partnership between Heritage Lottery funding and commercial investment.
“This ambitious project for a national landmark site is a perfect example of how our past can become an economic driver for today, creating new jobs, more visitors and a real sense of pride for the people who call Caernarfon home.”
Brewers, bakers and baristas
A series of shops and spaces for small scale, artisan design will be coupled with unique historic tourist accommodation as part of an ‘artisan quarter’, celebrating the site’s historic purpose as a place of large-scale manufacturing thanks to both the slate quay and iron works that once dominated the waterfront.
Harbour Trust Chairman, Ioan Thomas, explains his vision for the site: “Where once slate was unloaded before being sent around the world for roofing, and iron was forged before being used in such historic buildings as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey by Brunswick Ironworks, now Caernarfon waterfront can once again be home to Welsh craftsmen of the 21st century.
“Local food and drink producers, micro-brewers, artisan bakers, baristas and artists are now helping shape modern north Wales in the way iron workers and slate miners once did - and we want to play our part in making sure they have a regenerated, modern setting in which to do it. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery we plan to create a dynamic hub for the craftsmen of today as well as a vibrant and exiting tourist destination.”
“The waterfront receives a constant footfall thanks to Caernarfon Castle on one side, and the Welsh Highland Railway on the other – so artisan shops, artists’ residences and community spaces will be an ideal replacement for the site’s current derelict industrial buildings, and will help knit modern Caernarfon together with its industrial heritage.”
Notes to editors
A New Future project
The Caernarfon Island Site A New Future project will submit more detailed plans to HLF following consultation work and research. If successful in their application, they could stand to benefit from £3,329,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Caernarfon Harbour Trust
The Trust is a statutory corporation first established in 1793. It is the authority responsible for the control of navigation and the provision and maintenance of navigational aids in the area from Britannia Bridge to Caernarfon Bay. It is also the competent Harbour Authority responsible for the provision of pilotage throughout the Menai Strait.
The Trust provides and maintains a number of moorings in the River Seiont and Y Felinheli. It is the steward of significant waterfront heritage property from Doc Fictoria to Slate Quay. It also manages the Doc Fictoria Marina on behalf of Cyngor Gwynedd Council.