North West Wales

Waterfront project and Anglesey race pit project opened by Carwyn Jones

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Media captionCelebrity chef Bryn Williams is to open a bistro at the water sports centre

A multi-million pound waterfront project in Colwyn Bay has been officially opened by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

He said the Porth Eirias project of new coastal defences, water sports centre and a permanent beach was an "amazing transformation".

It also emerged that celebrity chef Bryn Williams is to open a bistro at the venue.

Earlier Mr Jones opened a new pit complex at the Anglesey racing circuit.

The £1m facility includes a three-storey control tower and 22 double pit garages.

Extra sand was dredged by boat from a sandbank 20 miles (32km) out to sea, then pumped to shore via a pipeline as part of the Colwyn Bay project.

As well as creating a sandy beach it improved the resort's sea defences by reducing the impact of fierce waves which regularly batter the promenade, particularly during the winter.

TV chef Bryn Williams, originally from Denbigh, was at the ceremony to reveal his plans as Mr Jones carried out the opening ceremony

Water sports

"Porth Eirias and the waterfront project will provide new opportunities for our economy through an increased level of tourism in the area and a boost for the local community with the improved waterfront and water sports activities," said Mr Jones.

The project was paid for by £7.8m from the European regional development fund and the Welsh government, with another £11m from the European Union and Welsh government allocated to coastal defence work.

Conwy council leader, Councillor Dilwyn Roberts, said: "We could have approached this as just sea defence work, but we saw an opportunity to take a creative approach and maximise the benefits from the work taking place on the waterfront."

The racing circuit is Anglesey's largest single visitor attraction and last year saw 62,000 visitors.

It held its first race event in 1992 and the track was reconfigured in 2007 to meet the latest international standards.

The result is a 2.1 mile (3.4km) cliff-top circuit set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

New clients

"This project is already transforming the business here attracting new, prestigious clients and expanding the range of activities beyond the weekend, boosting employment and income to the area," Mr Jones said.

"It is good news to hear that new clients include leading Formula 3 and GT teams as well as major car manufacturers for both product testing and launch purposes.

"Investment and growth at Trac Mon have helped raise the standards of the facilities here to international level, which will be a boost to the area."

Future improvements include a covered paddock area while longer term plans may feature a hotel and restaurant.

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