Grŵp Llandrillo Menai has announced plans to relocate its Bangor campus to Parc Menai business park.

The vision involves the relocation of the Coleg Menai Bangor Campus from the existing Ffriddoedd Road and Friars site which has become outdated and in need of drastic renovation and upgrading works.

The proposals would see a new campus set up at the Tŷ Menai and Llwyn Brain buildings on Parc Menai creating a “lifelong learning zone and centre of excellence to meet the future needs of learners and employers in north west Wales.”

The project would bring together all of the existing Bangor-based Coleg Menai departments and administrative functions. It would also consolidate the Grŵp’s creative industries provision, to provide a Centre of Excellence in Creative and Digital Media with courses ranging from art and music technology, to games design and TV production all available on the same site. If approved the plans would cost in the region of £18m.

Existing Buildings

The present Campus facilities at Bangor were constructed and fitted-out in the 1960’s/70’s. The current buildings are of a poor and have already significantly exceeded their original design lifespan. Given their 1960’s/70’s design they will require considerable ongoing capital maintenance expenditure just to remain operational.

It is estimated that the existing Bangor Campus would require circa £13.6m of urgent maintenance in order to bring it up to present standards. However, even if the infrastructure of these present old buildings were repaired to modern standards, they would remain unappealing and unimpressive 1960’s and 1970’s structures, on a sloping site that is inherently problematic to make suitable for disabled learners. As a result, it would be extremely difficult to change embedded perceptions about what the College is capable of delivering and marketing it a destination of choice for learners.

The existing resources are configured across two separate sites on opposite sides of Ffriddoedd Road. In effect the busy Ffriddoedd Road runs through the middle of the overall Campus, giving rise to a number of obvious learner safety and learner safeguarding issues. The nature of the present spaces within these buildings, including the Grade II listing of the Friars buildings, mean they could not be adapted to become fit-for-purpose, in particular when set against the need to reconfigure to remove duplication and to meet modernised future skills requirements of priority industry sectors.

The poor condition of the existing Bangor Campus buildings means that there is an urgency to progress with a solution by 2020.

Grŵp Llandrillo-Menai currently delivers a portfolio of general education based on historic demand. From January 2019 engineering and technology has relocated to Llangefni into a separate strategic cluster orientated towards the Energy & Power industry. This has already reduced the overall number of students attending Bangor by about 30% (or 1,460 heads). Total numbers attending Bangor will reduce by a further 250 heads when the Bangor Gas Centre moves into a new building currently under construction at Llangefni Campus, by October 2019.

The real configuration benefits to the college through re-modelling a fit-for-purpose Bangor Campus are the opportunities to:

  1. bring together the Creative and Digital Media delivery onto one western Campus, forming sufficient critical mass for a Centre of Excellence.
  2. moving around 200 Creative and Digital industry learners from Llangefni to Bangor (bringing the net total number of learners from about 5,600 to about 4,100 heads);
  3. removing duplication across the Grŵp in the delivery of higher-level service industry curriculum, where the already recognised Centre of Excellence exists at Rhos-on-Sea;
  4. at the same time improve teaching specialisation and expertise, leading to higher quality and more consistent delivery;
  5. enabling learners to progress through a coherent pyramid across Grŵp Llandrillo-Menai into true Centres of Excellence in each field of study.

Prior to formal submission to the Local Planning Authority the proposal will be subject to pre-application consultation.

Public consultation event

A public consultation event will be held on 20 June 2019 between 15:00 and 18:00 at Tŷ Menai, Parc Menai where there will be an opportunity for members of the public to speak to members of the team about the proposals.

Have your say

Anyone who wishes to make representations about this proposed development must do so by 09 July 2019. We would encourage you to e-mail these to PAC@cadnantplanning.co.uk or alternatively please send them to: Cadnant Planning, 20 Connaught House, Riverside Business Park, Benarth Road, Conwy, LL32 8UB.