A roadside sign which is part of the Western Gateway Scheme costing £344,000 is to be completed by Carmarthenshire County Council after being placed on hold because of the pandemic.
The sign, which will be located on the Eastern approach to the town on the A40 has been the subject of some criticism on social media.
Blogger Jacqui Thompson said: “Whilst most of us are struggling to pay council tax, put food on the table, and local businesses are trying to keep heads above water, Carmarthenshire Council are spending nearly £350,000 on a sign. The structure, currently being constructed on the outskirts of Carmarthen has caused considerable controversy, and anger. It’s not just the cost, which also, apparently, includes a few benches and sculptures on the nearby Morfa Wetlands, it’s a dangerous distraction to drivers along the busy and accident prone A40.”
Ken Haylock said: “I don’t mind public art either, but £350,000 for something that looks like a soggy carboard school art project in the midst of falling down seems like taking the P, when there’s so much more pressing stuff to spend money on.”
Another commentator said: “So, you drive from Johnstown in Carmarthen, join to the A40 to be reminded your taxpayers money has been spent on a sign informing you that you are where you started. Thank God for that! For a moment I was in a parallel universe where my tax money was being used wisely but woke up and was reminded I’m still in the wild wild west where fools and money are easily parted, particularly when its not their money.”
Former Mayor of Llanelli Bill Thomas said: “Carmarthenshire Council is currently in the process of installing a large sign emblazoned with the words ‘Caerfyrddin’ and ‘ Carmarthen’ as you enter the town on the eastbound stretch of the A40 dual carriageway, heading from the direction of St Clears. Nothing new here, they spent loads of money building stone walls on roundabouts in Llanelli.”
A spokesperson for Carmarthenshire County Council said: “The new sign is part of a wider scheme to enhance the western gateway to Carmarthen which encompasses a wetlands area and welcome signage as part of the Carmarthen Regeneration Masterplan.
There has been public consultation on the scheme, including two local consultation events, and planning permission was approved in March 2019. Work on the scheme was put on hold during the pandemic but has now resumed. The welcome sign should be complete by the end of May.
“The entire western gateway scheme, of which the sign is just one element, is a £344,000 project with funding from the Welsh Government’s Rural Community Development fund, contributions from Section 106 funding and the remainder from CarmarthenshireCounty Council.”
The sign is located on the A40 just before the bridge on Llansteffan Road