The profile of a seaside hostel built by Carmarthenshire Council is growing, bosses have said, but the occupancy rate was below target for the first year.

The 14-room Caban building opened in Pendine at the end of March last year as part of a multi-million pound investment by the council.

The project also includes the new Museum of Land Speed – which opened last May – car parking areas, a playground and sand sports area.

A council budget report said there “were challenges breaking even” in the first year of the of the scheme, called the Pendine Attractor Project. Asked for more details, the council’s head of leisure Ian Jones said average occupancy rate at Caban was 40% in the first year, which was 9% below target.

He said occupancy increased during the 12-month period as the site’s profile and reputation grew, and that food and beverage sales were above forecast.

A new 12-hole ‘adventure’ golf course behind Caban is due to be completed in time for the summer, bringing in further revenue.

“Car parking income for the Pendine Attractor Project was down against what was forecasted – this can be attributed in part to the last nine months of weather, the wettest on record, which has a huge bearing on visitor numbers to a coastal location,” said Mr Jones.

As well as providing a bed and somewhere to eat for holiday-makers, Caban is seen as a driver of footfall, benefiting existing businesses in the area.

Caban general manager Dawn Boyle said feedback from visitors and the Pendine community was very positive.

A sea-facing room at Caban, Pendine
A sea-facing room at Caban, Pendine. (CCC)

She said local book, crafts and knitting groups met there, and that holiday-makers included ones from Australia and New Zealand.

Mrs Boyle said all staff lived within 12 miles of Pendine, and that she travelled the furthest of anyone from her home in Carmarthen some 16 miles away.

The Pendine Attractor Project had a £7.6 million budget – consisting of European, Welsh Government and council contributions – but costs rose.

The cafe at Caban, Pendine
The cafe at Caban, Pendine (CCC)

The development was forecast to attract 41,400 day visitors and more than 6,400 overnight stays per year, with 123 direct, indirect and construction jobs created.

Pendine Community Council vice-chairwoman, Sara Bruce-Goodwin, said she felt Caban had been a success, and that she knew of Pendine residents who had had overnight breaks there.

She added: “The economic climate is tough for hospitality and the weather has been so poor.”