North West Wales

Bangor arts centre plan unveiled

Image caption The centre would stretch from the memorial arch to the old Theatr Gwynedd site

Plans for a new £35m arts and innovation centre at Bangor, Gwynedd have been unveiled.

The PONTIO project will include a theatre to seat 450-550, cinema space, studio theatre, outdoor amphitheatre and bars, dining and park areas in a 'family friendly' environment.

The building could open in 2012, with 450 jobs created or safeguarded.

The city has been without an arts centre since Theatr Gwynedd closed in October 2008 despite local protest.

Bangor University - which is leading the project - sees the centre becoming a "major focus" for Welsh culture, designed to provide "innovative and inspirational platforms for engaging new talent".

In addition the "ground-breaking" development will establish a "world-class" centre for innovation in science, technology and the creative industries, along with a new Students' Union.

The university's deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Fergus Lowe said the project, which would stretch from the memorial arch to the old Theatr Gwynedd site, would be built with £15m of Welsh Assembly Government funding.

"The centre will have an incredibly positive impact on the wider community in Bangor, with approximately 450 jobs created or safeguarded during the construction phase, and an additional 450 once the building is opened in 2012," he added.

Prof Lowe said there could be a wide variety of performances from spectacular theatre productions, film, circus, dance, rock and pop concerts to opera and much more.

Image caption A view of how part of the inside of the building could look

"This is the project that will put Bangor on the map, and will help to regenerate the city's urban heart," he said.

"It will provide a centre of such remarkable innovation and artistic excellence that it is sure to draw the attention of people from near and far, as well as providing new impetus to the growth of the north Wales economy," he added.

The 'Innovation Hub' would help to equip young people with high level science and engineering skills, he said.

"This is a once in a generation chance for Bangor.

"We will create an internationally significant centre for learning and the performing arts that will be a potent symbol of innovation and collaboration for the whole community."

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