Ground-breaking makeover for Holyhead’s former Kwiksave

A one-time 18th century coaching inn is to be given a ground-breaking makeover as part of a major £3 million town centre refurbishment.

The last pint was pulled over 100 years ago at the King’s Arms, in Market Street, Holyhead, and its history has included spells as a doctor’s surgery and as one of the country’s first ever Kwiksave supermarkets.

The good days could be on the way back though, thanks to an ambitious overhaul by new owners North Wales Housing, backed by the Holyhead Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

Work has started on the renovation of the property which will see it emerge as a modernised shop unit with four flats above and two further terraced garden apartments at the rear aimed at providing affordable housing for local people.

Social housing provider North Wales Housing is also involved in commercial property and with this project sees its role as helping to regenerate the town centre of Holyhead.

Wendy Dearden, their New Initiatives Development Officer, based at Llandudno Junction, said: “The property has had a varied history and was a doctor’s surgery between being a pub and becoming a shop unit.

“It still has a condition that any tenant can’t sell gents underwear but we can look to get that changed if necessary.

“But this is not just about regenerating the building but also about regenerating the town centre and this is the first big shop to be done up and as a housing association we are actively looking for a tenant for the shop as well as for the flats and apartments.

“We work on different levels and with the local authority, who actually approached housing associations and selected us for this project.

“We don’t just look at new build but also at working with existing buildings and mixed use developments like this.

“If you go to Europe you will always find people living in flats above the shops and it means there is a community in the town centres.

“The six one-bed affordable flats being created will be let on an ‘intermediate rent’ to help people to access affordable rented accommodation, with the aim of them being able to start saving for a deposit towards buying their own home.

“It is aimed at those who want to work and live in the town centre, which could reduce car usage and provide wider environmental benefits.

“It’s unlikely anyone would have done anything with the Kwiks building if we hadn’t bought it but one of our roles is doing what other people aren’t prepared to do and about what we can do for the community as well and we’re doing it here and elsewhere. Anyone interested in renting the shop or flats should contact our Bangor Office on 01248 370227”

Local surveying firm, DEWIS, of Llanfair PG, have come up with the plans for the building and the work is being carried out by K & C Construction of Rhyl.

Dewi Hughes, of DEWIS, said: “There are another five THI properties which we are involved with and it should make a big difference to the town.

“No-one wants to see old buildings being left to just run down so this should really lift Holyhead.

“I can remember coming to Holyhead on a Saturdays a few years ago and Market Street was busy and looking good and hopefully this project will bring those times back again.”

Councillor J Arwel Roberts, Deputy Leader of Isle of Anglesey Council and Planning Portfolio Holder, said: “This project is extremely important for the town. It helps local businesses and helps us as a Council in trying to improve the image of the town. We fully endorse it and are backing it 100 per cent.

“We have been consulting widely and fully with the public and trying to feed off their ideas and hopefully people will appreciate the effort that’s going into these schemes.”

Nathan Blanchard, Project Manager for the Holyhead THI, said: “By working in partnership with North Wales Housing we are tackling a real eyesore and long term challenge, creating opportunities for a new business and contributing to a more vibrant town centre through living over the shop”.

“We hope such projects will act as a catalyst to tackle other larger challenging properties in the town centre and through set through the use of high quality of design and materials set a new standard to tackle negative perceptions about Holyhead”.


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