Mr Davies visited the 83-acre site at Delta Lakes to find out more about the innovative Carmarthenshire County Council-led project which has received £40million funding as part of the Swansea Bay City Deal.
The first development of its scope and size in Wales, Pentre Awel will bring together life science innovation, community healthcare and modern leisure facilities at one prime location.
It will provide world-class medical research and health care delivery and support and encourage people to lead active and healthy lives creating over 1,800 jobs and boosting the local economy by £467million over the next 15 years.
Pentre Awel is one of nine major projects under the Swansea Bay City Deal which is being funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector.
The business case was approved by UK and Welsh Government earlier this year and building work on Zone One of the project will start this autumn with an estimated completion date of summer 2024.
It includes a new state-of-the-art leisure centre and hydrotherapy pool together with education, research and business development space; a clinical research and delivery centre; and a well-being skills centre. Externally, Pentre Awel will enjoy landscaped outdoor public spaces for recreation, walking and cycling.
Wales Office Minister David TC Davies said: “I was delighted to see the start of this exciting project and congratulate some of the people who’ve worked so hard on it.
“The UK Government is proud of our financial contribution which, along with our partners, will help deliver this hugely ambitious plan. It has the potential to transform lives by creating innovations in health and wellbeing, as well as providing an economic boost to the area. This is levelling up in action.”
Pentre Awel is being delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board, Universities and Colleges including Cardiff University, Coleg Sir Gȃr, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Swansea University.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John said: “Pentre Awel is one of the largest regeneration schemes of its kind in Wales and will deliver a significant programme of community benefits and economic regeneration across the county.
“Not only will it bring major employment and training opportunities for the area, but it will also provide state-of-the-art leisure and health facilities for local people. It is a truly transformational project, and it will make a huge difference to people’s lives.”
Bouygues UK have been appointed to design and build Zone One following an extensive tendering process via the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework. The contract has a key focus on social value to ensure significant employment and training opportunities for local people during the construction phase.
Peter Sharpe, Bouygues UK’s Project Director at Pentre Awel said: “It was great to welcome Mr Davies to the site at Pentre Awel and talk through our plans for the building of the development and how we will be working closely with the local community, as well as Carmarthenshire County Council, to create as many employment and training opportunities for people in the region.
“Our first meet the buyer event was a marvellous success and we have already spoken to many local suppliers and sub-contractors about how they could work with us at Pentre Awel. We are now looking forward to beginning the ground works and then pushing ahead with the build, working in partnership with as many local businesses as possible.”
Later phases of the scheme include a hotel, a range of social and affordable housing, assisted living accommodation and a nursing home.
Pentre Awel is one of a number of projects being carried out as part of wider council plans for the regeneration of Llanelli. The housing-led Transforming Tyisha project provides a vital link between Pentre Awel and Llanelli town centre, with millions of pounds being invested throughout the area to create a thriving and more resilient local community and to improve the appearance of the main town centre to attract more commercial interest and footfall.