Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project regenerates the seaside promenade

Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project regenerates the seaside promenade

This project is the second phase of regeneration in this Welsh seaside town and achieved a CEEQUAL Excellent rating.


This project to regenerate the waterfront in Colwyn Bay, northern Wales, was the winner of multiple CEEQUAL (now BREEAM Infrastructure) Achievement Awards in 2019. The local community benefits from renewed coastal defences as well improvements to the local environment. The project was awarded a CEEQUAL rating of Excellent.


This major scheme was delivered by Conwy County Borough Council.


This project aimed to secure the long-term protection of Colwyn Bay and provide measures which will assist with the regeneration of the once popular and successful coastal resort.

The overarching objectives of the Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project are to:

  • Provide renewed coastal defences along the waterfront to protect the residents and businesses of the town from the threat of the sea.

  • Integrate the renewed sea defences with environmental improvements along the promenade to provide a coordinated approach to delivery of the Project which maximises the regeneration potential of the Project while also providing the necessary level of coastal protection.

  • Provide environmental improvements to the promenade to offer a modern, robust, sustainable and attractive public realm to draw new visitors to the area and coordinate with the Bay Life+ Plan. 

This project involved the regeneration of two areas of coastline located between Victoria Pier and Cayley Embankment. These were commissioned to the same standard of finish as achieved for Porth Eirias to the Pier, creating a raised family beach and including business investment opportunities for private sector investors.

Area A extends approximately 430 metres westwards from Victoria Pier to Princess Court apartments. The works consisted of improved recreational opportunities and enhanced coastal defences across the site. This involved widening and raising the existing promenade and highway by constructing a new sea wall approximately seven metres seaward of the existing seawall, with three new headlands.

Area B extends approximately 420 metres westwards from the Princess Court apartments to Rydal boat store near Cayley Embankment. This area includes a gateway at Marine Road junction, slipway access for boat manoeuvring and a linear garden with informal seating proximal to Cayley Embankment.


People and communities

The project team took part in ‘Open Doors 2017’, an initiative delivered by Build UK to show young people the fantastic range of careers available in the construction industry. As part of this scheme, members of the public were invited to visit the construction site, and one of the tours was attended by a group of BTEC students from Leek High School which specialises in technology. A presentation and briefing was given to share project information and updates. As well as inviting school groups to attend Open Doors, the project team also visited schools in the local area to promote the work on the seafront project and to outline the different career opportunities that the construction industry can offer. The project team also worked with the local job centre to recruit people from the town to work on site during the construction phase.

One of the main challenges the project faced was ensuring that disruption during the summer months (particularly the school summer holiday period) was reduced as far as possible. The promenade and beach facilities presents a destination for locals and holiday makers alike, and the local businesses such as the pub and hotels that rely on the area being accessible to locals and tourists (largely during the summer months). The construction phase lasted for a total of 11 months and the project team worked incredibly hard to ensure that the promenade and the new facilities associated with this scheme were available for the school summer holidays.

Land use and landscape

As well as functioning as an improved flood defence and recreational area of locals and holiday-makers alike to use and enjoy, the engineering and landscape design has ensured a consistent finish to that used for Phase 1 of the project, and is reflective of the local landscape character and history of the coastline. For example, various types and colours of material (including pre-cast concrete and natural stone) were incorporated into the scheme design as a narrative for the geological formation of Colwyn Bay. The project has incorporated a ‘wave seat’ that has formed a key feature running along the headland, to mimic the coastal landscape of Colwyn Bay. The linear nature of gardens were also designed to follow the length of the coastline and existing promenade, planted with salt tolerant coastal plants, to further reflect the local landscape character.

Physical resources use and management (energy, water, materials and waste)

The project was developed with the aim right from the start in ensuring physical resources were used in the most efficient way in the design and construction process. A Design for Resource Efficiency (D4RE) workshop, a tool developed by Mott MacDonald, was used at the outset of the design process, focusing the project team on aspects such as energy reduction, water reduction, and sustainable procurement, during both construction and operation. As a result of embedding sustainable thinking into the scheme design from the outset, the following key achievements were realised for the scheme:

  • Approximately £300,000 saving on disposal costs was achieved through the reuse of pavement material containing hazardous coal tar in a hydraulically bound form.

  • A 48% (average) saving on paving, street furniture, kerbs and paved areas through the utilisation of over-ordered materials for other council schemes. This included a reduction of 1366 metres of kerbs resulting in a saving of 35,789kgCO2e.

  • Approximately 2,100tCO2e baseline and 1,480 tCO2e of overall embodied carbon at the final design, resulting in a saving of 651tCO2e representing a 30% reduction.


The design process sought to reduce the coastal flood risk which in turn will reduce the likelihood of future road closure events and disruption to the main north Wales railway line. Additionally, car parking is now formalised to the side of the road reducing the risk of collisions with parked cars. The project team have also provided several measures to improve the level of performance for non-motorised users. Improvements included the widening of the shared use footpath / cycleway and ensuring this is fully segregated from the highway, and dedicated lights illuminating the shared footpath / cycleway on the promenade have been fitted.


Why use CEEQUAL?

A key driver for undertaking the assessment was to ensure the funding conditions, which include the protection of the natural environment, were met. Natural environment objectives include the ‘promoting of sustainable management of resources such as water, land, waste and energy’. With the benefits gained as part of the CEEQUAL assessment undertaken for the first phase of the Waterfront Project, it was considered that undertaking the assessment for phase two would also achieve sustainable solutions and further protect the natural environment.

Project outcomes

The project team had prior experience, having achieved a CEEQUAL rating of ‘Excellent’ as part of first phase of the project. Many of the requirements were therefore already understood and produced for this phase of the project. However, using CEEQUAL did promote additional best practice measures. For example, as part of the works, 1,600 tonnes of asphalt waste contaminated with coal tars (AWCCT) were excavated and removed from site. Rather than disposing of this material to a hazardous landfill site, the project team turned the material into a cement bound granular material (CBGM) and reused it within the new highway as a base or binder material. This method also reduced the amount of virgin aggregate needed to be imported for the project. This method also sought carbon reductions and therefore financial savings.

Best practice and innovation

This project represented good resource efficiency throughout the design and construction process. A Design for Resource Efficiency (D4RE) workshop, a tool developed by Mott MacDonald, was used at the outset of the design process, focusing the project team on aspects such as energy reduction, water reduction, and sustainable procurement, during both construction and operation. Carbon calculations were also undertaken to calculate the total carbon saving associated with the final project design.

Summary Conwy County Borough Council



Sophie Bennett (Mott McDonald)

Version 5, June 2018 | Colwyn Bay, Wales, UK
CEEQUAL rating:
Excellent (76.5%) – Whole Team Award

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