Local makeover

Paints and decorative coatings from Bradite have recently been specified for a major community regeneration project. Penygroes, a 19th century village in North Wales, is to get a new lease of life, thanks to local enterprise agency Antur Nantlle Cyf, a non-profit-making community company established in 1991 to work for the benefit of the area.

The organisation, plus five local residents who make up the recently established Antur Nantlle Development Group, first approached Bradite in 2014. Their idea was to paint the town’s buildings in various colours to revitalise the area and give it a decorative facelift. Given the success of similar projects in other towns such as Tenby, the group decided to apply this positive action to Penygroes.

“Like so many small towns, Penygroes has suffered significantly over the years from shops closing down and residents working out of town or moving away,” explains James Burton, head of sales and technical support at Bradite. “Concerned about the lack of opportunities and investment in the area, the group approached us with the idea of working with them to do something about it.”

Located on the edge of The Snowdonia National Park and within five miles of the coast, Penygroes attracts plenty of through traffic and a steady stream of tourists and outdoor enthusiasts, but unfortunately, most people pass straight through the town without giving it a second look.

“Hopefully, with its new image and bright, eye-catching appearance, more people will be encouraged in future to stop and take a look around the town,” Burton continues. “The goal is to attract more visitors and more investment, and at the same time boost trade, and as a result, provide opportunities for young people to stay in their local area rather than have to move away to find work.”

Theory to practice
The original idea ‘to paint the town red’ surfaced when HSBC Bank closed its Penygroes branch. Antur Nantlle, which owns the building, has plans to refurbish it and reopen it as a community project and local business. It also owns a number of other properties in the town, and the concept is to paint the buildings in various colours, ranging from neutrals and soft pastels, to deeper russets and blues, with plenty of contrasting shades in between.

To give the project even more local flavour, each of the 12 colours chosen has been renamed after a local site or attraction. These include Llyfni (a small river), Craig Goch (a nearby dam), Nantlle Uchaf and Llyn Ffynhonnau (two local lakes), Caer Engan (Fort Anvil), Coed y Garth (an ancient woodland), Glynllifon (an historic estate and country park), Craig y Bera (a rocky mountainous site), Dorothea and Pen yr Orsedd (two large slate quarries in the Nantlle Valley), and Cwm yr Haf and Clogwyn Melyn (two districts of Penygroes itself).

“It’s all about keeping it local,” says Robat Jones of Antur Nantlle Cyf. “We try to work with local suppliers and local tradespeople wherever and whenever possible.” Following consultation and discussions with local residents and businesses, work is scheduled to begin this summer. As the first buildings are completed, it is hoped the momentum will build and more people will get involved.

“They can choose their own colour and either carry out the work themselves or hire local decorators of their choice,” he continues. “As more residents and businesses come on board, we expect the project to continue over the next few years – depending on the weather, of course.”

According to Jones, the group chose Bradite because it was “…impressed with the quality of the products and the reputation of the brand, and also, as the company is located nearby, we have been able to add another local company to our supplier list.”

Coating of choice
To achieve this ambitious project, Bradite DP28 Masonry Coating/Finish was specified. This non-flammable acrylic emulsion resin-based coating and finish paint is specially designed for use on concrete, cement render and other external masonry surfaces. Designed to deliver long-lasting performance, its features include a tough, UV and weather-resistant film with strong adhesion to properly prime and prepare substrates, as well as an attractive matt finish. Additional features range from water resistance and moisture vapour permeability, to strong resistance to fungal and algal growth.

For extra convenience and ease of application, DP28 is surface-dry within two hours, with an over-coating interval of a minimum of six hours. It is specially recommended for use on concrete and cement render that are free of contamination, dust and efflorescence.

Depending on the particular application, a fungicidal solution may be required, Burton points out, whilst a coat of stabilising solution may be needed to bind extremely porous substrates. “Generally speaking, two coats of DP28 are normally specified to achieve long-lasting performance and a durable finish,” he says.

“Part of our mandate as a social enterprise company,” Jones concludes, “is to preserve the heritage of this area where the first language is Welsh, and to encourage our young people to remain here by creating employment and business opportunities as well as an appealing living environment.

“The Penygroes-Bradite painting scheme will serve as a significant catalyst in working successfully to achieve that goal.”