LLANELLI MS Lee Waters has praised an initiative to temporarily pedestrianise parts of the town centre.

Having spearheaded similar initiatives across Wales, the Deputy Economy Minister said “necessity had become the mother of invention” as towns recover from the pandemic.

From August 3rd, Cowell Street (from the John Street junction) and the area in front of Spring Gardens will be closed to vehicles from 10am to 4pm daily. New temporary disabled parking bays will be made available at the lower end of Cowell Street and along John Street.

Optimistic about the plans, Lee said “Across Wales, I’ve dedicated funding to create extra space for businesses, pedestrians and cyclists in town centres to be able to operate and thrive under social distancing. That’s why I’m hugely impressed and thankful to Ymlaen Llanelli, the Council, and local traders for grabbing the initiative with these proposals.”

The Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Fund is providing an extra £5.3 million for centres across Wales to put in necessary safety adaptions, and to make their spaces more attractive under social distancing. Examples include more awnings, heating and cycle parking.

Discussing the aim of the fund, Lee said “We know that our town centres are facing huge challenges in light of Coronavirus. But we also have a big opportunity to reimagine our high streets, making them better places to live, work and thrive. We need to take this opportunity with both hands, and make our town centres resilient for the long-haul.”

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With the announcement that Cowell Street will close to vehicles during the day times, local businesses such as Marzano’s will now be able to provide outdoor terraces to their customers. In a Facebook post, the café welcomed the arrival of “continental style, Alfresco dining” to Llanelli’s streets.

Mandy Jenkins of Ymlaen Llanelli said “We’ve worked hard with businesses in the town to come up with these proposals to ensure people can enjoy the town safely. It’s been a really tough few months for traders, but I think this is a really brilliant idea, and I’m looking forward to welcoming people into our new look town centre!”

Speaking of his wider ambitions for the town centre, Mr Waters said “It’s great to see Llanelli traders boldly and creatively re-imagining how they use their outdoor space. I want to see similar ambition in bringing our vacant properties back into use as flexible co-working spaces. As more people stay away from the offices in big cities, it’s imperative we have attractive options close to home and here in town for them.”

Lee finished by saying “Let’s embrace a different look for our town centre, and continue to support our invaluable local businesses.”

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