COUNCIL leaders in Carmarthenshire have earmarked £16.4 million for a new Llanelli Leisure Centre.

It is to be built at the new Wellness and Life Science Village at Delta Lakes, Llanelli.

The funding for the leisure centre is part of a £261 million capital spending programme put forward by the Plaid Cymru-Independent administration over the next five years.

Councillor David Jenkins, executive board member for resources, told an executive board meeting: “This will create jobs and enhance the quality of life for our citizens.”

Council leader Emlyn Dole said it was the largest capital programme of all Wales’ 22 authorities.

The £200 million Wellness and Life Science Village is one of 11 regional City Deal projects. It has planning permission, but is currently the subject of a number of governance reviews.

The council has dropped a private sector development partner from the village project and is looking for an alternative delivery model, while the suspensions of four Swansea University academics are said to have a potential impact on it.

Overall the council is to provide £40 million towards the Wellness and Life Science Village and £5 million for the Yr Egin “creative cluster” in Carmarthen, which is another City Deal project.

The main chunk of the £261 million capital programme is a £129 million Welsh Government-backed scheme to upgrade and replace schools. The council’s contribution to the schools’ scheme has gone down from 50% to 35%.

Executive board member for education and children, councillor Glynog Davies, said: “This is excellent news. We can now hopefully build more (schools), and do this work quicker.”

Other capital project funding includes:
– An extra £700,000 in 2020/21 towards the upgrade of Amman Valley Leisure Centre
– An additional £450,000 in 2019/20 for the Towy Valley Path
– An extra £1.5 million for road maintenance each year for the next three years
– A £2.2 million IT project over the five-year period
– A £100,000 study looking into an Ammanford bypass
– £1.4 million for Burry Port harbour wall works in 2019/20
– £4.8 million towards a new museum of speed and hostel at Pendine, with £2.5 million coming from external sources.

Refurbishments are also to take place at the county museum at Abergwili, Parc Howard and Kidwelly Industrial Museum, and £45 million will be spent maintaining council housing stock over the next three years.

The council will contribute around £133 million towards the £261 million capital programme from its reserves, from borrowing and from the sale of surplus assets, among other things.

The capital programme was approved by the executive board and will now go for debate at full council.

Councillor Hazel Evans, executive board member for environment, said the Towy Valley Path linking Carmarthen and Llandeilo will be a huge boost for people who would otherwise not cycle to work at the two towns.

“It’s not just for recreational cycling – it’s for people to get to work,” she said.

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