Stradey Park Hotel in the village of Furnace on the outskirts of Llanelli has been at the centre of an ongoing public campaign to stop it being used as a hostel for asylum seekers, with demonstrators camping out at the entrance 24/7 since early June.
This weekend, a campaign has been launched to set up a new ‘society’ to oversee plans for a community buy-back and a relaunch of the hotel as a key tourism resource for Llanelli and Carmarthenshire.
The architect of the plan is Llanelli businessman Tim Phillips, who says he is keen to see the community of Llanelli and district unite behind a common cause.
“A great deal of thought and hard work has already gone into the buy-back plan and my earnest hope is that the local community rallies to the cause and gets behind the plan.
“The current situation is distressing for all concerned. We have lost nearly 100 jobs and a hotel which was a massive asset for Furnace, Llanelli and Carmarthenshire.
“The current outlook for the hotel is very gloomy– even if the hotel owners, Gryphon Leisure Ltd, choose not to proceed with their plan to lease the property to Clearsprings Ready Homes, the operators of asylum seeker hostels in Wales.
“Faced with this bleak future for the hotel, we’ve been looking at alternatives.
“One alternative is to use all legal avenues available to enable the people of Llanelli to collectively buy-back the Stradey Park Hotel for the greater benefit of the community.
“Obviously, a key part of this buy-back plan is that the hotel is re-established as a venue to be used exclusively for hospitality, events, tourism and leisure.”
Mr Phillips has published a post on a number of Llanelli-based Facebook sites.
It calls for volunteer trustees to come forward to manage the formation of a newly-constituted society to manage the buy-back proposal.
Mr Phillips added: “We need a broad range of individuals to help in the next phase of the process. We need people willing to act as charitable trustees and with the relevant skills in a number of key areas.
“The new society will be totally independent and not affiliated to any existing organisation or group actively campaigning for the asylum seeker plan to be abandoned at the Stradey Park Hotel.
“We need a new broom and fresh approach to this and we will need individuals who can think and act creatively and with energy to make the plan succeed.
“Above all, the campaign will need massive public support. The amount of support and love already shown by the local community towards the Stradey Park Hotel has been impressive.
“But, for this plan to succeed, we will need massive support across the postcode areas of SA14, SA15, SA16 and SA17.
“We really need every local resident to rally around and back the proposal. From my point of view, it represents our best possible chance of reclaiming our great hotel.”
Mr Phillips said individuals willing to volunteer as trustees should email email@example.com
Plans are for an initial meeting of trustees to be held before the end of the month, with further details of the buy-back plan then being revealed to the public.
If successful, there would appear to be a great deal of work needed to bring the former 4 star hotel back into use, with fire safety officers recently issuing a Prohibition Notice which prevents the former Stradey Park Hotel from being used for sleeping accommodation.
Twelve people have been arrested and two have been charged in relation to recent disorder at the hotel, including alleged criminal damage, trespass and attempted arson.
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