CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has agreed to continue supporting the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
At their meeting today (November 27, 2017) executive board members said they were encouraged by the recent change of fortunes at the Gardens – which has seen recent visitor figures and income increase – as well as exciting plans for further development.
After considering the Garden’s proposed five-year business plan, members of the executive board agreed to extend the authority’s £1.35m interest free loan to the Garden and allow the continued occupation of farmhouses, currently leased by the council, for a further two years.
The decision extends the council’s support of the Gardens until March 31, 2020.
The Garden’s business plan details how it proposes to improve its financial sustainability with a range of projects and business development activities which are already having a positive impact.
Visitor numbers are up on last year by 17 per cent and income on the previous year has increased by 23 per cent.
A £7m Regency restoration project has also started with £3.55m of Heritage Lottery funding secured, aiming to boost tourism, conservation, heritage, volunteering and skills-development opportunities.
Amongst the development proposals is one to renovate and conserve the farmhouses to use for holiday lets and residential education courses – the plan being that revenue generated from the rental income would allow the repayment of the council’s loan.
To watch the full debate and access the agenda documents about this discussion at Executive Board, visit the council and democracy section of the council’s website –www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales