GETTING BACK ON OUR FEET?
The key development plans aiming to restore town fortunes
Boarded up buildings and row upon row of empty shops have become an all too familiar sight in Llanelli. The town centre, once bustling with retailers and famed locally for its nightlife, has struggled in recent times. Out-of-town retail parks have been blamed for sucking trade and the heart out of the community and the continued scourge of illegal drugs have also caused misery for many. But, there is still a ray of hope – a number of new developments are in the works. BETHAN THOMAS takes a look at some of those projects... DELTA LAKES VILLAGE
The £200 million venture has been met with plenty of controversy since its inception – including the suspension of four staff members at Swansea University.
The ambitious project includes a hotel, a stateof-the art sports and leisure centre, and a space for science research.
Earlier this year, the ambitious project received unanimous council backing.
The Welsh Government is set to have a final say after calling in the planning application.
Regardless of the conflicts surrounding the project, the Wellness and Life Science Village is expected to boost the local economy by around £467 mllion and create around 2,000 jobs, changing the face of the town.
ST ELLI’S BAY
Positioned facing Llanelli’s beach front, the former Discovery Centre has been converted into a three-storey cafe and bistro that opened last week.
Recent years have seen the building looking tired and worn, mirroring the paint erosion of the Millennium Quay flats opposite the building.
The continuous deterioration of the building led Carmarthenshire Council to transfer the lease to Langland Brasserie owners, Emilio and Camelia Fragiacomo, in order to transform it.
Carmarthenshire Council’s leader, councillor Emlyn Dole, said: “Emilio and Camelia have done a wonderful job.
“They are giving customers the opportunity to dine in beautiful surroundings with breathtaking views across the Carmarthenshire coast from their seats. I hope visitors will support them in this new venture.”
Further work transforming the other two floors into a restaurant and exclusive top-floor room for private hire is ongoing in the hope of catalysing more tourism and adding a breath of fresh air to the area.
CALON, THE OLD ODEON THEATRE
During its heyday, Lla
. . .We’re delighted to have secured funding for a development that will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli
Councillor Linda Evans
nelli’s Odeon Cinema (later known as Theatre Elli) was the beating heart of the community.
The 1938 art-deco building was a staple of the town and the era, providing residents with theatre productions and cinema screenings until 2011.
Since then the theatre has been boarded up, and often ended up targeted by vandals.
However, impressive plans aiming to restore the theatre to its former majesty are due to be completed this year.
With the theatre nestled between the town centre and Station Road - the two former hubs of the town - the new feature could be exactly what Llanelli needs.
Calon – the group behind the renovations, has been actively present on social media posting renovation updates for the quirky building, showing their plans to mix old-time nostalgia with a new and sustainable future for the building.
There is a surplus of empty shops and buildings in Llanelli’s town centre which is now a shadow of its former lively self.
Plans to demolish eyesores such as the beloved Siop-y-Werin have been undertaken, with more in the pipeline.
Additionally, plans to offer Stepney Street’s YMCA building and a mix of properties and vacant land around Market Street to developers are aimed at ensuring that there might be a brighter future on the horizon for Llanelli’s high street.
MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Work is already in motion for 34 new affordable houses in Bryn, which was awarded a £3.4 million grant earlier this year.
Development plans feature a new wetland pond area, a new park and playing area for children, and parking and landscape improvements.
The plans, due for completion by 2021, are part of the council’s ongoing objective to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes in Carmarthenshire in the next two years.
Councillor Linda Evans, Carmarthenshire Council’s executive board member for housing, said “This is the first year of the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant scheme, so we’re delighted to have secured funding for a development that will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli.
“This scheme will meet the need for more affordable housing while boosting the nearby community as a whole.”
BURRY PORT HARBOUR
It may be five miles outside of Llanelli town centre, but development plans for Burry Port harbour could have a major impact on the town.
The transformation of the harbour is already underway with the unveiling of the children’s park scheduled for June 6.
Additional plans include a new lifeboat station, eco-friendly homes and upgrades to the marina, although the projects are causing some disagreement.
Investment into the Burry Port harbour is aiming to ensure more job opportunities and tourism for Burry Port and neighbouring Llanelli.
And with the picturesque walk along the Millennium Coastal Path from Llanelli’s North Dock to Burry Port’s harbour being a cherished attraction for locals and tourists alike, developments to the harbour are hoped to strengthen the link between the two towns.
Projects at Delta Lakes (left), Burry Port and Stepney Street (above) are in the pipeline.