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Tywyn report highlights jobs, homes and tourism needs

Tywyn Institute
Gwynedd County Council closed Tywyn Institute in 2007

Tywyn should make more of its natural assets and seafront, and needs affordable housing and long-term employment, consultants say.

A report by JOP Consulting Ltd, commissioned by Tywyn Steering Committee and Gwynedd County Council, comes up with a range of suggestions to improve the Gwynedd town's future prospects.

It highlights both the advantages and disadvantages of its beautiful but remote location, with limited employment opportunities.

"Its remoteness provides for a wonderfully scenic route and location, but at the same time it lacks the dynamics of a market town," says the report.

Ron McCoo, a local shopkeeper and chair of Tywyn's chamber of tourism and commerce, agrees that housing and year-round employment are a particular problem for the town.

At the time the report was written, 180 people were waiting for housing.

We do want to market the place as a centre of excellence for scuba diving, kite surfing and fishing
Shopkeeper Ron McCoo

"Rents can be crippling because the average wage is the national minimum, so by the time you've spent £500 on rent you've got nothing left to spend in town," he said.

"We rely on tourism to a great extent, as well as the other main employers - education and Halo Foods.

"But I would like to see more nine-to-five jobs all year round and so more opportunities for school leavers. Once they've been to college, they're off."

The report says young people should be consulted on what training facilities they would like in the town and calls for Coleg Meirion Dwyfor to invest in Tywyn, perhaps by establishing in the old Institute.

Other suggestions for this building include turning it into apartments or office space.

Great outdoors

The report notes that the high street and business park do not seem to have suffered too many closures during the recession, so suggests making more business units available to attract potential employers.

It also says tourism promoters should make the most of the Dysynni area's natural attributes and improve facilities for visitors at the seafront.

Ron McCoo is also keen to promote Tywyn as a destination for those who enjoy being active outdoors, rather than a 'Rhyl-type seaside resort'.

"We do want to market the place as a centre of excellence for scuba diving, kite surfing and fishing," he said.

"Our slogan used to be 'where the mountains meet the sea', and there's lovely countryside to go walking and cycling in."

Cyclists on Tywyn's seafront
The seafront cycling races are held each summer in Tywyn

The consultants pointed to the needs for better marking of cycle routes and more high-standard visitor accommodation.

"We could do with some nice restaurants and a hotel," agreed county councillor Anne Lloyd Jones. "But then, we are only four miles from Aberdyfi which does have these."

But on the whole, the councillor, born and bred in Tywyn, is positive about her town's future.

"We do have the Talyllyn railway, which has lots of members and is a reason for people to visit Tywyn.

"We've also got a seafront group working on improvements there, and have recently had massive investment in the coastal defence scheme."

And Ron McCoo, who moved to Tywyn from Zimbabwe in the 1980s, agreed.

"It's a lovely place to live. There's a fabulous leisure centre, great cinema , the all-weather pitch. We have everything - we just want people to know about it."

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