Ceredigion County Council / Cynnal y Cardi

Project Leads

Deio Jones

Bwlch Nant yr Arian Feasibility Study & Business Case

This feasibility study explored the range of feasible options for developing the potential of the ex-Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) building at Bwlch Nant yr Arian (BNYA) near Aberystwyth into a resource for the Cambrian Mountains region.

The building had been vacant for a number of years and was located in a fantastic setting in the NRW managed reserve of Bwlch Nant yr Arian. The site has an excellent reputation as a centre for mountain biking and other outdoor activities. It attracts over 150,000 visitors a year and has a visitor centre & cafe, an extensive range of trails, a pump track, café, children’s play areas, and a red kite feeding station.

The aim of this project was to undertake a feasibility study to inform the future development of this important building and develop an outline business plan for the preferred option.  Any proposed redevelopment of the building would need to deliver a sustainable income sufficient to cover upkeep and maintenance, staffing and running costs and a surplus to be reinvested in the area over the long term. In addition, the redevelopment should enable at least one of:

  • Increased awareness of the landscape, nature, and cultural heritage of the Cambrian Mountains and Ceredigion.
  • Opportunities for the local economy.
  • A resource for local people and visitors such as for health, wellbeing, education and enjoyment.

Our aim was to undertake an inclusive and collaborative process, enabling all stakeholders to have their say and play an active part in decision making.  An initial bilingual survey targeted local communities, businesses and other beneficiaries, followed by two online stakeholder workshops to comply with the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time. Visitor surveys, site visits, and an additional stakeholder followed to develop the ‘long list’ of options and collaboratively undertake an options appraisal exercise.

The final study outlined the current position of the site, facilities, visitor profile, activities, and the building itself.  It presented the ‘case for change’ considering local need & opportunities, potential benefits, capacity for delivering change, governance options, all within the regional & national strategic context.

An options appraisal exercise considered the identified choices and identified a preferred option based on delivering local priorities, financial sustainability, resilience & flexibility, and the strategic context.  Costed architectural drawings were developed of the preferred option, together with a three-year financial projection, implementation plan, and proposed delivery model to underpin the business case.