A set of shops complete with accommodation space above are destined for the wrecking ball as Carmarthenshire County Council issue a demolition notice for Crown Buildings, just off Church Street in Llanelli. The buildings once home to shops and Brannigan’s Wine Bar are set to be demolished in January 2018. Local architect David Darkin has expressed his dismay and claims that the buildings are in reasonable condition.

Another local businessman  and social entrepreneur who did not wish to be identified said that he could not understand why the council wanted to demolish the building when people were looking for business opportunities and accommodation in the town.

The Stepney Arcade is within yards of the buildings and new shops have recently been opened up there. The council also took over and renovated buildings on Stepney Street.

It appears that there has been no consultation with Llanelli Town Council as yet however the council have posted notices (pictured) which ask ‘Should you have and queries, please contact the local Planning Authority before Thursday 30th November’.

The clerk for the Llanelli Town Council Gary Jones said: “We have not been consulted as of yet. I believe there have been safety problems with the upper floor such as falling masonry.”

Llanelli Online contacted the county council to ask why the buildings were being demolished and whether or not there had been any public consultation. We asked:

What reasons are there for demolishing the building, which contains shop space and accommodation?
Have the council sought alternative uses for the building before deciding to demolish it?
Could you tell us what the plans are for the area after demolition?
How long are the works expected to last?
What disruptions will there be to local businesses and road users during the demolition?

The county council responded issued the following press release:

A rundown former nightclub is one of three buildings in Llanelli town centre that could be demolished to make way for new developments. The former Circles building in Park Street, which has stood empty and derelict for many years, has recently been bought by Carmarthenshire County Council from private ownership and they have just lodged plans to knock it down.

The former Siop y Werin on Market Street, and a row of buildings known as Crown Precinct – situated behind the newly renovated Griffiths Arcade – could also be demolished if plans are approved.

Demolishing these empty buildings are part of the council’s wider aspirations for Llanelli Town Centre to breathe new life back into the town. The council has driven forward several regeneration schemes to support town centre businesses including a £4million investment to buy empty premises and development sites from private ownership as part of its Opportunity Street scheme, supported by Welsh Government.

Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole has been at the forefront of Llanelli’s regeneration plans as the chair of a Taskforce he established in 2015.
“We have spent the last 18 months or so driving forward our aspirations to regenerate Llanelli town centre, and these demolitions – if approved – will be the catalyst for more development and better things to come,” he said.

“We are very much taking hold of the reins by using our own funding, and grant funding from Welsh Government, to purchase empty and unused buildings from private ownership and bringing them back in to use wherever possible.

“Whilst these buildings may hold good memories for many people, due to their poor structural state or disrepair, there is little more we can do than knock them down and make way for developments that are fitting for the town centre. We look forward to making way for better things.”

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