GET­TING BACK ON OUR FEET?

The key de­vel­op­ment plans aim­ing to re­store town for­tunes

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

STEP­NEY STREET

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.

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