Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, has announced that a flagship development for Porthcawl has taken another step forward after receiving the green light for £2.1 million EU funding.
The £5.5 millionPorthcawl Maritime Centre is part of the Welsh Government’s wider Tourism Attractor Destination programme which aims to create 11 must visit destinations across Wales.
Also backed with funds from the Big Lottery, the Welsh Government as well as private and third sector funds, the Maritime Centre is the first phase of the Porthcawl Resort Investment Focus programme which aims to transform Porthcawl into a high quality signature destination within Wales that will attract new visitors to the area.
The development has the potential to accommodate 55 jobs as well as supporting jobs during the construction phase, providing employment opportunities for local people.
The Minister said: “The coast is the county’s Unique Selling Point and the reason why most visitors come to the area. But to attract more visitors to the area we need to provide more exemplary facilities and services for residents and visitors. Porthcawl Maritime Centre will fulfil this need by providing an exciting and innovative ‘year round’ family centred attraction right on the waterfront.
“Our aim through the Tourism Attractor Destination programme is to focus efforts and investment on key projects in each region so we have a real impact on Wales’ profile in this globally competitive market.
“The Seaquest Coastal Science and Discovery Centre is a very exciting project which will inspire young people to engage with science and consider careers in science. Congratulations to everybody who has been involved in bringing the project to this point and I wish you all the very best for the delivery phase.”
Welcoming the decision, Mike Clarke, Chairman of Porthcawl Harbourside CIC said: “It is impossible to fully describe how excited and proud the Porthcawl Harbourside CIC team are to receive the go-ahead for this project. This huge vote of confidence in our team and in the community of Porthcawl is tremendous. We believe this is possibly the biggest community-conceived and led tourism project in the UK, and we are now able to tender for the construction and get started.”
Construction on the Maritime Centre is expected to begin in mid-2017. Over the next five years, the Tourism Attractor Destinations programme will see more than £85 million of EU, Welsh Government, Private and Charitable funds invested in tourism projects across Wales.