In 2017, Gwynedd Council on behalf of a tripartite of strategic partners, being Welsh Government, Cadw and Snowdonia National Park Authority, commissioned Chris Jones Regeneration to develop a strategy for Harlech in the south of the County.
The brief sought a strategic priorities framework for the town that would provide direction and actions that both strategic and local partners could develop and deliver on. The work was also sought against the backdrop of disinvestment in the town even though Cadw had spent some significant funds on improving access and facilities at Harlech Castle. Sites such as the redundant St Davids Hotel and the future of Coleg Harlech formed part of the work and their integration with other projects.
After an initial baseline assessment a local workshop was held with community groups including the umbrella body, Harlech in Action. A series of proposals was drafted with consultation held in the town to gauge opinion and sense of prioritisation. A bi-lingual online survey was provided which had a significant response and informed final proposals. The community consultation and survey helped the local planning authority to understand and gauge public opinion on the derelict St David's Hotel site.
The final strategic priorities document set out areas of thematic focus, some advice on the larger strategic projects as well as some quick wins for the community. In parallel, members of the team provided in-kind advice on a Heritage Lottery Great Places bid as well as a number of Visit Wales TAIS funding applications which have been partly successful.
A key requirement of the client brief was to build consensus amongst community groups, with the final piece of work providing an options appraisal on the organisational set up of the local forum and how it works with strategic partners.
A user friendly report has helped bridge relationships between partners and shown roles and responsibilities going forward.
Alongside the strategic priorities document, Harlech has an integrated set of actions for the next 10 years that can be used to lever in funding and also check against progress as schemes are being delivered. The process also brought people together and provided transparency on the status of larger projects as well as a starting point for smaller, community led interventions.