Posted: Thu 14th Mar 2024

Welsh Government building in Caernarfon to provide homes for dozens of families

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

An empty Welsh Government building in the heart of Caernarfon will eventually provide homes for dozens of families after being bought by the council.
Cyngor Gwynedd has purchased the former Crown Offices at Penrallt amid an “urgent need” for more homes.
The purchase of the five-storey building has been hailed as a “positive step forward” in tackling the county’s housing crisis, and will provide homes for up to 46 individuals and families.
The development will also see a Housing Services Hub created on the ground floor of the building.
Standing empty for many years, the building used to house the offices of the Welsh Government.
A council report states an initial feasibility study estimates that the development costs for the site as a whole will be between £12 million and £14 million.
Council figures also reveal that the county has almost 2,300 applications – equivalent to 5000 people – for social housing.
Some 63% of the county’s residents are priced out of the local housing market.
Since April 2023, 885 people have presented as homeless in Gwynedd and almost 250 households are currently living in unsuitable emergency accommodation, such as hotels or bed and breakfast, with options for people to move on to permanent housing extremely limited due to a lack of suitable housing options. The use of emergency accommodation places a significant financial burden on local authorities, the council says.
The council is aiming to bring new life into the disused building, in a bid to encouraging “community growth” in the centre of Caernarfon.
It is also hoped it will help ease housing pressure in Gwynedd and provide full support to people in need of a home.
The scheme reflects the council’s wider intention to provide more high-quality housing through its £140 million Housing Action Plan, aiming to ensure that everyone in Gwynedd has access to affordable, quality homes in their own communities.
Councillor Craig ab Iago, Cyngor Gwynedd’s cabinet member for housing and property, said: “For years now, the need for homes has been on the rise in Gwynedd.
“We must recognise the human impact of these figures – especially on the mental and physical well-being of the most vulnerable in our communities.
“This is not just a local issue; it is a national trend, and the council is committed to ensuring that no one in Gwynedd is left without a roof over their heads.
“Purchasing the Penrallt building in Caernarfon is an extremely positive step forward.
“The site will offer a home to those in need of housing, while the council will be available to offer support.
“Furthermore, this development will provide high quality accommodation to help ease the pressure on Cyngor Gwynedd’s housing services.
“But remember, this development is only one piece of the jigsaw.
“The council is taking great strides to tackle some of the causes of the housing crisis through its Housing Action Plan – building more homes, bringing empty homes back into use and into the hands of local people, and providing more housing for people experiencing homelessness.”
Councillor Cai Larsen, local member for Canol Tref Caernarfon, said: “As a member in an area like Caernarfon where there are a significant number of people on waiting lists, and where it is common for people to find themselves homeless, I welcome this development and any measure to prepare provision and support for those who need housing.
“I have been worried about the site – it is messy and deteriorating and it causes problems for people who live in the area due to anti-social behaviour and problems with the alarm system, so seeing a scheme like this is good news for me and the residents of the area.”
Arfon MS Siân Gwenllian said: “This new scheme is a very good use of the building and will provide much needed living units for the growing number of people and families who find themselves without a roof over their heads.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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