THE first look at new plans for a key development site in Llanelli town centre have been revealed.
Carmarthenshire County Council is planning a massive investment in the town centre to transform, regenerate and connect its key retail and leisure areas.
The latest to be unveiled is the plan for Market Street North, where a number of new commercial units are set to be built with high quality apartment living space above.
They would replace the building most recently occupied by Altalia, which unfortunately cannot be redeveloped owing to its poor structural condition.
However, new designs for the development give a nod to the current building’s character, including the replication of its splayed corner.
A traditional brick and block façade is also planned to complement the character of the Exchange Building which stands opposite.
A pre-planning consultation is now underway by Asbri Planning, on behalf of the county council, where members of the public can view the plans and provide feedback before a formal planning application is submitted.
The Market Street North scheme is just one of a series of planned developments across the whole town centre, where millions of pounds are being invested to improve the appearance of the main shopping district and attract more commercial interest and footfall.
The council has already spent £4.5million buying empty shop units from private ownership, renovating and bringing them back in to use at affordable rental levels – all of them currently occupied by independent businesses with tenants in the first and second floor apartments.
A Local Development Order has been put in place to simplify the planning process for potential investors, and property development grants are being offered to owners of town centre buildings to improve the appearance of shop fronts.
More investment is in the pipeline and yet to be announced, but the council has confirmed this will involve further investment in key buildings and development sites across the whole town centre.
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of the council, said: “Very shortly we will be sharing our vision for the whole town centre, where we are investing heavily to improve the town’s appeal and bring more businesses and people in.
“We have already spent significantly to buy several buildings from private owners and have brought them back in to use at rental levels that are achievable for the local market. This has been its own success, but we have even more planned.
“Market Street North is an important element of these plans, and we’ve seized the opportunity of significant grant funding from the Welsh Government to develop this site.
“We know this is a much-loved building that holds a lot of memories for many people in Llanelli, and whilst we cannot use the current building because of its poor structural state we are keen to retain the look and feel of this corner.
“We hope our plans to re-build on this site, providing improved retail and food units with apartments above, will attract new businesses and people to the town.
“We are still disappointed that Altalia is no longer part of our plans for this site because of the owners’ own commitments, but we want to create purpose-built premises that will become home to businesses of equal appeal and quality to bring vibrancy back to this end of town.
“This feeds in to our overall plans for the town which we hope to share in the very near future.”
The pre-planning consultation for Market Street North is now live at www.asbriplanning.co.uk and is also available to view at Llanelli Library until March 4, 2020.