THE first spade has been put in the ground signalling that work has begun on a project to build a new £1.2m community hub and tourist attraction

Over the next 12 months, an abandoned goods’ shed on the old railway line at Meliden, near Prestatyn, is to undergo a 21st-century transformation.

Gr?p Cynefin and Meliden Residents’ Action Group are behind the revamp of the Grade II listed building on the Prestatyn to Dyserth walkway.

The community and tourist hub will boast a shop, cafe, heritage centre, bike hire facility, allotments, time tunnel and artists’ workshops will be created. It will also offer volunteering opportunities and act as an outlet for budding artists to showcase their talents.

Mair Edwards, community initiatives manager at Gr?p Cynefin, said: "For 12 years, Meliden Residents’ Action Group has worked tirelessly to see this old shed restored.

"Not only will this be a development which supports the village but it will be invaluable for the 60,000 people - walkers, cyclists, and families who use the walkway every year, making the building a tourist facility too.

"Artisans will also benefit by having a showcase for their goods, providing support for the economy and a much-needed outlet for micro-businesses.

"It has been a long journey for those involved in the project but that determination to succeed is paying off."

The building - to be called Y Shed - was a fundamental part of the Prestatyn-Dyserth three-mile railway line until it closed in 1957, reopening briefly as a business premises before shutting again.

Its redevelopment has been made possible thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund Wales, Denbighshire County Council, and trusts.

Councillor Peter Evans, Denbighshire County Councillor for Meliden and a member of Y Shed's steering committee, said: "Meliden has been crying out for a venture of this kind.

"That first spade in the ground represents an important milestone ensuring the goods’ shed will no longer be a blot on the landscape but a valuable asset at the

heart of our community."

The building work will be carried out by Wrexham-based contractors WD Stant who have a background in restoring buildings such as Y Shed.