Welsh Slate World Heritage Site: Planning for the future
As the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales area gets used to its new status as one of the newest world heritage sites, Gwynedd Council and its partners are already planning the next steps to ensure the best benefit for communities and businesses in Gwynedd for the future.
The primary objective of securing the designation was to recognise the importance of the area’s slate industry and communities and their role in the world in order to stimulate economic growth and social regeneration in Northwest Wales.
Lord Dafydd Wigley, Chair of the Steering Group which led the work, said: "Over the coming months partners will be agreeing on new implementation arrangements to ensure our objective is achieved, with the first Steering Group meeting following the designation taking place this September to agree our work programme.
“The development of the nomination has already attracted over £1m of external investment in important projects which regenerate our communities economically and socially through heritage and culture - and many projects are being developed for the future.
“Through the LleCHi project, there was an opportunity for Gwynedd Council to lead on a project to run various activities such as young slate ambassadors, art projects in primary and secondary schools, developing a site-wide interpretation plan and art projects such as colourful and striking murals in many slate towns and villages.
“The Council and its partners will now develop a project to succeed the LleCHi project which was funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Gwynedd Council, Snowdonia National Park and Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig.”
Projects that are in the pipeline will look at regenerating areas through culture and heritage, creating new business and employment opportunities, improving provision and co-ordinated experiences across the area and improvements in sustainable transport and projects to promote the Welsh language, understanding of the area and education.
Kath Davies, National Museum Wales’ Director of Research and Collections, said there is a unique opportunity following the designation to take a fresh look at the future of the National Slate Museum's site as a key gateway to introduce the World Heritage Site:
"Over the coming months and years National Museum Wales will be engaging with communities and partners across the area so that we can understand the kind of museum they want to see in Gilfach Ddu in the future and how we support our communities and support education and skills for the future.
"The Slate Museum has now been identified as an investment priority for National Museum Wales, and we look forward to the next step in our collaboration."
Meleri Davies from Partneriaeth Ogwen sees clear opportunities for the future:
“Parterniaeth Ogwen has been a partner through the development of the nomination and we see definite opportunities to develop community projects in the Dyffryn Ogwen area.
“Through our collaboration with Dyffryn Nantlle and the Blaenau Ffestiniog areas, there are great opportunities here for us to share ideas and jointly develop projects for the sustainable future of our slate communities.”
Over the coming months, the Council will lead on several consultations where it will ask the people and businesses of Gwynedd about their future priorities.
Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Community, said:
“We will be asking our communities what their regeneration priorities will be over the next few years as a way of developing Area Regeneration Plans for Gwynedd. Of course, many of these areas are associated with the World Heritage designation.
“We will also confirm arrangements to adopt a Sustainable Tourism Plan for Gwynedd based on the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Principles. The draft vision focuses on putting the people of Gwynedd at the heart of our future visitor economy plan with particular emphasis on our language, culture and heritage, a sustainable environment and ensuring the maximum benefits to Gwynedd's communities and businesses.
“Gwynedd Council would like to thank everyone for their messages of support following the designation and look forward to working together to ensure the best benefits for Gwynedd's communities and businesses in the future as we celebrate our outstanding slate landscape, our language, culture and heritage.”