CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council and Llanelli Town Council have established a joint Committee to oversee joint management of Parc Howard and the Museum.
The Parc Howard Collaboration Group is made up of four councillors from each organisation and follows a decision by Llanelli Town Council to fund 50 per cent of the county council’s running costs of the facilities from April 1, 2018.
Establishment of the new group follows discussions in a series of meetings over recent months involving representatives of both councils to consider how joint working arrangements can be taken forward to maintain and improve the park.
Previous proposals for the park will be explored, as well as new ideas to secure its long-term future under public ownership.
The park and museum will continue to be managed and maintained by Carmarthenshire County Council on behalf of the people of Llanelli and the wider area, with support from the Town Council.
The Parc Howard Collaboration Group will also continue to work alongside The Park Howard Association, The Friends of Llanelli Museum and Llanelli Community Heritage.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, county executive board member for culture, sport and tourism, said: “I welcome the formal partnership arrangement with Llanelli Town Council, which will further reinforce our commitment to this important facility for Llanelli.”
Llanelli Town Council Leader, Cllr Shahana Najmi, and Mayor, Cllr Jeff Edmunds, said: “We are keen to help fund the management of Parc Howard, which will help to ensure further improvements to the facility. In time, this may pave the way for full management of the facility by the town council. In the meantime we look forward to working in partnership with the county council.”
In 2014 the County Council sought expressions of interest from local councils or groups to take over management of parks and playgrounds as part of a county-wide asset transfer programme. No expressions of interest were received for Parc Howard and the park was taken off the list of assets available for transfer.
During 2016 and 2017, the leader of the county council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, led a series of meetings with a range of interested parties to brainstorm ideas for improvements, including discussions with Parc Howard Association, Friends of Llanelli Museum, Llanelli Community Heritage and Llanelli Town Council.
The county council has since invested in new play equipment and has sought planning permission for a car park to encourage more visitors. Discussions are also ongoing following a call for expression of interest in sensitive commercialisation of the mansion house, in conjunction with enhanced museum use.