Dear Editor, As someone who has spent most of his life living and working in Llanelli it is sad to see the continuing decline of Stepney Street which was once such a busy area offering a range of good shops. In fact the best shopping frontages are now provided by Charities which by comparison are to be complimented on their shop windows.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of many other frontages characterised by bad taste in not having at least decent window content and Company Name fascia design. In the street these combine to present ugly vistas which need not be this bad. Many of these are not shops and would not have been acceptable in the High Street twenty years ago but instead located on the periphery of the main shopping streets with a lower profile.
It is obvious that the Shopping Centre and East Gate is the main draw for shoppers and that Stepney Street and Vaughan Street can never recover it’s former position in this respect. Doing nothing about this will ultimately make matters worse.
Whilst I am not generally in favour of demolition it has crossed my mind that some selective demolition on the lower north western side of Stepney Street might be desirable thus enabling a wide landscaped pedestrian link to connect with what remains of the former Broadway which was closed off from Vaughan Street. This would provide better circular pedestrian flows to Stepney Street and open up the town.
The Arcade is a potential “gem” and greatly under rated in what this “listed building” could become. It is currently overwhelmed by adjoining poor frontage and lack of pedestrian movement which is a critical requirement. A new wide open space on the side of the Arcade would enable its flank wall to have a well designed new shopping frontage of good architectural quality including an additional central access. This would need to compliment its “Listed” status.
Such a proposal could attract a cafe quarter with small shops centred in the Arcade, with overflow onto the new open space for street entertainment and other activities. This would give a reason to walk down Stepney Street.
There are good Architectural Practices in this town and a simple commission could provide an architectural assessment of what could be achieved. A simple sketch might be the catalyst required.
There is a responsibility on the Llanelli Business Community to do everything possible to stop further decline. In this regard maybe the town’s Trading Associations and Rotary could become more proactive with ideas, and jointly commission a simple appraisal of the above which might take years to implement but offer hope for the future.
Surely, Llanelli can do better.
Alan J Williams