CALLS for a turnaround plan for Llanelli town centre have been heeded by Carmarthenshire Council.
Member of the Senedd, Lee Waters, has led efforts to get the Council to develop a full plan for the future of the struggling town centre.
He urged the Council to not just develop a plan for doing-up empty properties, but a “joined-up plan that will give town a fresh sense of purpose after the pandemic.”
The Council’s regeneration team have now confirmed that they will now publish a recovery plan to plot how Llanelli can get back on its feet after several months of lockdown.
Mr Waters recently organised an online public meeting and invited experts in town centre regeneration to share ideas for the future of Llanelli to be put to the Council.
This included a more imaginative use of Sunken Gardens, bringing a training campus for sixth form students into town, and launching a ‘Meanwhile’ scheme to repurpose empty units on short term leases.
Responding to Lee’s letter, Carmarthenshire Council’s Head of Regeneration, Jason Jones, said:
“It is our intention to finalise what we are referring to as a Llanelli Town Centre Recovery Plan by the end of the month…it will be focussed on Business, People and Place.”
Mr Jones wrote that there would need to be new reasons to visit town at day and at night, a better use of digital to grow footfall, and support for all sectors to adapt property to mixed-uses. He added there would need to be a shift towards a smaller town centre in terms of commercial floorspace, with a focus on a fully vibrant, fully occupied central core.
Welcoming the Council’s commitment to a plan, Lee Waters said:
“There is a real pride and determination amongst people living in Llanelli to see our high street thrive again. When our town centre struggles, so too does pride. I’m pleased that Carmarthenshire Council are acting on our calls for a turnaround plan for the town, and incorporating some of the ideas discussed at a public meeting I hosted recently.”
“We need fresh ideas for what our town centre is actually for. That’s the only way it can compete with the rise of online shopping and out of town retail. Because town is so much more than just a collection of buildings – it is a community, and an experience you can’t get online or at Trostre.”