A new masterplan for Llanelli has been produced by Carmarthenshire Council that sets out future development to support the recovery of the town centre.
The town centre has been badly hit by out of town shopping and changing shopping habits including a move to more online shopping, with a large number of empty stores in the centre of the town.
Now, the council say that as we manage and adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a need to rethink the shape and purpose of the Llanelli town centre and how to positively respond to the longer term changes.
While admitting that the town centre is unlikely to return to the pre-pandemic ways of shopping, socialising and working, the county council has developed a ‘recovery masterplan’ for the town that it wants residents to give their feedback.
Proposals concentrate on 4 key areas of the town. Spring Gardens and the western gateway, Central Square and Vaughan Street, Eastgate area, and gateway boundary enhancements.
Ideas for Spring Gardens include new lighting and seating, pop-up street stalls and a redesign of the corner plaza opposite the Presbyterian Church.
Plans to enhance Cowell Street, building on the temporary closure to vehicles through the COVID-19 pandemic. Revitalise the crown building and arcade, and finding a new use for Park Congregational Church.
Proposals also set out a redesign of the Central Square on the junction of Vaughan Street and Stepney Street.
A longer term plan for redevelopment of the properties on Market Street South and Stepney Street that have been acquired by Carmarthenshire Council, including the Tinopolis building which the council says has serious structural issues.
Other support for business in the town will come from a property strategy to look at effective reuse of empty buildings, promoting residential uses in the town centre to make buildings more viable and funding support for projects.
The council also plans to review the use of public sector land and champion reform of business rates.
Businesses will also be offered entrepreneurship and business support, and support more businesses with their online offering, having found that just 28% of town centre businesses are active on social media.
Better cycling links to the town centre are planned, including cycle hire and e-bike charging stations. Car parking charges will also be reviewed.
Council leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “Our town centre high streets have experienced major change, and the speed of this has been fuelled by the pandemic.
“We are making every effort to secure the future of our town centres – they are an important part of our communities and the life-blood of many of our traders and the local economy. We want to look at all options to help our town centres recover and flourish again. We really hope that people will help us shape that future by providing their feedback through this consultation process.”
You can view the council’s Llanelli Masterplan in full on a dedicated website.
There is also an online meeting on 10 November at 6.30pm for people to give their feedback and ask questions.
(Lead image: Llanelli Town Council)
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