A NEW museum, eco-hostel and cafe in Pendine should be completed by the end of March next year, but they won’t open straight away.
The eco-hostel and cafe is expected to welcome visitors in June or July, with the Sands of Speed museum opening in the autumn following a £615,000 internal fit-out.
The £7.6 million tourism project on the Carmarthenshire seafront is being funded by the European Union, Welsh Government and county council.
There will be a new car park, sandy area set back from the beach for sports such as volleyball or football, plus a children’s play area and dune gardens.
Pendine Community Council is also involved in the project, creating a new area for 10 motorhomes.
Carmarthenshire Council’s head of leisure, Ian Jones, gave an update on the project to councillors on the community and regeneration scrutiny committee.
Mr Jones said the views out to sea from the 42-bed hostel were “absolutely fantastic”. “I think we are going to have a lot of interest, and that will be a very busy facility,” he said.
The museum, which replaces Pendine’s Museum of Speed, will have a small indoor cinema, plus a first-floor room for conferences, as well as the main ground-floor exhibition area. Mr Jones said the council had looked into different options to manage the site.
The preferred option is a five-year joint management agreement with the community council.
In terms of the hostel, Mr Jones said the authority was considering running it itself but would also seek expressions of interest to see if a private operator would come in. He said the council was erring on the side of a third party.
“The plan is that we will go out into the market,” he said.
He said running the hostel in-house presented more scope for profits but also greater risk.
The development, known as the Pendine Attractor Project, is forecast to attract 41,400 day visitors and more than 6,400 overnight stays per year.
The additional economic impact is forecast to be £3.3 million, with 123 direct, indirect and construction jobs created.
The museum and hostel will sit alongside the Parry Thomas Centre, which has commercial units and a first floor Chinese restaurant.
The seven-mile Pendine Sands is part of motoring history – specifically the land speed records in the 1920s by Malcolm Campbell and Welshman John Parry-Thomas.
Cllr Hugh Shepardson described the development taking place as a “wonderful project”, but wanted to know if Pendine Community Council was investing money into it, and how much it would receive if a surplus was generated, should the joint management agreement route be taken.
An officer said the community council would invest income from the motorhome site and a separate area of car parking.
This income would be bundled in with county council income, with both parties sharing any surpluses.
The officer said the surpluses would be ring-fenced to benefit and help regenerate Pendine further.