An ambitious multi-million-pound scheme to transform the former YMCA building in the centre of Llanelli was given the go ahead by Carmarthenshire’s Planning Committee today. The heritage red brick facade will be retained, and a contemporary building erected behind it, to include a mixture of retail units, offices, and flats. The Committee heard that the development will save the landmark building from becoming derelict, create new jobs and provide quality retail space and housing.
Planning Committee Chair, Cllr Alun Lenny, who proposed that the plans should be accepted, said: “Although not listed by CADW, this is a landmark building in the centre of Llanelli. Paid for by donations from working people, it has stood there for over a century and is valued by so many local people today. I’m sure they’ll be delighted by the county council’s intervention and plans for its future.
Not only has the old YMCA centre been rescued from going to rack and ruin, but the planned development will create jobs and provide quality retail space and housing. As with its intervention in buying the Guildhall in Carmarthen town centre, the county council should be commended for its vision in rescuing such iconic buildings and giving them new life and purpose.
This important regeneration scheme is supported through the Targeted Investment Fund (or TIF) which is aimed at improving town centres in Wales. As we know, this is a horrendous time for our town centres. But I firmly believe that this development in Llanelli, with its mix of retail, office and residential, shows a new way forward – it shines a light in the gloom of this most dismal time for our high streets and the economy in general. Step by step such developments have the potential to bring a new vitality to our town centres.”
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Plaid-led council commented:
“In bringing an iconic building back into use, the YMCA scheme follows the principal already applied in Llanelli where ground and first floors house commercial and community units, while upper floors are residential. The historic front facade will remain but will now be the face of an innovative and exciting project in terms of our aspersions to regenerate the town centre and play its part in our Covid Recovery programme.”
Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said:
“This is an exciting proposal, and the six 2 Bed and two 1 Bed apartments will certainly help meet the housing need in Llanelli. They will be allocated based on a Local Letting Policy that will ensure that all Tenants are working people who will in return support the local economy. As a Council we addressed the need for affordable homes to rent within the County and have already past our target of a 1,000 additional Affordable Homes, set in 2016. We also recently committed to provide an additional 900 new Council homes. Regeneration within town centres is vital and while re-developing ground floors for businesses and shops, the opportunity to turn first and second floors into living Apartments can only be a win-win for all.”
Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister Plaid Cymru Mid and West MS, Helen Mary Jones said she was delighted to see this important initiative getting the go-ahead:
“This will not only preserve a vital part of some Llanelli’s history and built environment, but it will also create jobs and provide town centre homes. I commend the County Council for the innovative approach they are taking to preserve and enhance our town centre. Imagine what we could do for Llanelli as a Plaid Cymru Welsh Government if elected next May.”