Machynlleth’s Centre for Alternative Technology is hoping to re-open to visitors as part of a major plan to expand the facility, bosses have said.

After closing to walk-in visitors last November, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has unveiled plans to create a sustainable skills hub and new visitor experience with new developments.

The plans include new and refurbished teaching and workshop spaces, more on-site accommodation, an expanded café, nature trails and a new visitor experience which CAT says will allow the site to welcome many more visitors and learners and re-open its doors to the public.

Co-chief executive Eileen Kinsman said: “As well as attracting many more learners and visitors to the centre and to the local area, the plans are expected to see the creation of a number of new jobs and opportunities for local suppliers, benefiting the local community and the Mid Wales economy for many years to come.


“At the heart of our plans is a truly regenerative approach. We’ll be prioritising refurbishment and re-use of existing spaces over new buildings, using low impact materials, minimising energy-in-use, maximising the use of renewable energy, and looking for more opportunities to support the site’s rich biodiversity."

Part of the development involves creating a sustainable "skills hub" to provide hands on experience for CAT’s postgraduate students, course participants and visiting school, college and university groups.

County Times: A sketch of the proposed welcome orientation at CAT, Machynlleth.

A new outdoor forum is also planned for the centre of the site, designed to form a large covered amphitheatre space for practical demonstrations, talks, concerts and other events, allowing the Centre to host more group visits and larger conferences and events.

Ms Kinsman added: “We know that with the urgency of climate change and with the wider destruction of the natural world, we need to help more people and organisations to gain the skills, knowledge, networks and confidence to take positive, practical action.

“Plans for adaptable, custom-built learning spaces, workshops and labs will allow us to cater for a wider range of groups and courses and offer an enhanced learning experience.”

County Times: The Centre for Alternative TechnologyThe Centre for Alternative Technology (Image: CAT)

While CAT is currently open to pre-booked visits, it has been closed to walk-in visits since November 2024 during a challenging time for both the charity sector and visitor attractions.

Funding for the project is being considered within the Mid Wales Growth Deal portfolio, and with match-funding being sourced by CAT from a number of other sources, including charitable trusts and foundations and individual supporters.

Development of plans to-date has been supported by the UK Community Renewal Fund, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and a small number of individual donors, and CAT is currently exploring options for funding the further development of its plans.