PLANS for a £24 million redevelopment of the Centre of Alternative Technology are moving along according to bosses.
CAT near Corris has been earmarked for £24.2 million of government money to create a “world-class visitor experience” which will involve the building of a new state of the art visitor centre and sustainable skills hub.
The money has not yet been allocated to the site however.
New and upgraded facilities featured in the plans include teaching spaces, exhibition spaces, additional on-site accommodation, an expanded café, retail spaces, nature trails and walkways, and an enhanced visitor experience.
The centre is now appointing a masterplanning team, to include an architect, services engineer, civil and structural engineer, ecological consultant, project manager and civil engineering consultant to take the project into structural design phase — with plans to retain Haworth Tompkins as the lead masterplanning architect.
CAT says they new facilities will help more people and institutions across the UK and beyond to play their part in tackling the climate crisis — through the development of CAT’s train-the-trainer programmes, professional skills courses and bespoke study visits for schools, colleges and universities.
The facilities will also support the expansion of CAT’s already-successful postgraduate programmes, helping bridge the green skills gap — cited as one of the main barriers to tackling climate change at the scale and speed required.
Meanwhile, the new visitor experience will provide individuals with the motivation, knowledge, and support to create change at home, work and within wider communities.
The plans are expected to see the creation of an additional 48 jobs.
Eileen Kinsman, Co-CEO at CAT, said: “The new plans — created with support from leading regenerative architecture firm, Haworth Tompkins — are the product of extensive engagement with the local community and CAT’s visitors, students, members and supporters.
“Significant progress has already been achieved, but this next phase — of structural and service design and planning, supported by further consultation — will be where our plans are firmed up and formalised.
“We are confident that the project will encourage more people than ever before to join us in exploring climate solutions. And, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary, what better time to be taking steps to inspiring positive change for a further 50 years?”
The ambitious project — included amongst the initial projects being considered for the Mid Wales Growth Deal portfolio — is taking a phased approach to minimise disruption and allow the centre to remain open to students and visitors throughout its transformation.
CAT also hopes that taking a phased approach will create more opportunities for local specialists in sustainable build and design to bid for the work. Supported by the UK Community Renewal Fund, the business case aims to also secure attracting funding from charitable trusts, foundations and other supporters.