A FRESH contract to design and build Conwy and Denbighshire's Children’s Residential Assessment Unit is set to go out to tender.

Conwy County Borough Council is looking for a new contractor for the flagship Bwthyn y Ddôl site in Colwyn Bay after the original contractor selected for the project entered into administration.

The council, along with proposal partners Denbighshire County Council and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, decided in September to undertake another design and contractor procurement by open tender.

The site, on Meadow Lodge, on Abergele Road, has been unoccupied since 2014 and work on the new facility had been expected to get underway earlier this year.

The ground-breaking scheme will house experts assessing the appropriate care options for children aged between six and 17 years old.

The aim is to stop the expensive practice of sending children with complex emotional needs out of county and give families a chance to reconcile.

In 2019, it cost an average of £180,000 per child to send children out of county on placements at specialist centres.

The new contract will go out to tender this month, enabling a new contractor to start on site in spring 2022.

A ground investigation survey has been carried out and the results will be used to inform the new tender.

Louise Emery, Conwy council's deputy leader, said: “I fully support restarting the procurement process with the extended timeline and our own ground investigation report. This will offer best value for the project and hopefully we’ll receive a number of contractors’ bids to get this project moving again.”

Cllr Cheryl Carlisle, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Safeguarding said: “This is such an exciting and worthwhile project, we very much hope we’ll be able to appoint a new contractor as soon as possible in the New Year.”

The project is being funded through the Welsh Government Integrated Care Fund (ICF).

The work is expected to be completed by March 2023, if the contract is awarded by March.