Saturday 8 August 2015

Llanelli town centre - The End?

Much to the despair, I would imagine, of the struggling town centre, 'expressions of interest' are being invited to develop four plots of Council owned land squeezed in and around the Trostre and Pemberton out-of town retail park and Parc Y Scarlets stadium, Llanelli.

Involving around 16 acres, long leases are being offered for lump sums and rent to be paid in peppercorns and/or magic beans. One of the plots, which also happens to contain one of the only wildlife ponds for miles around, is currently occupied by council offices.

Presumably, as they currently own the land, it is rent free but this office is being closed and re-located to the Eastgate centre, where the rent won't be free.

Eastgate was another council led development in Llanelli and in their attempts to fill it's cavernous spaces, and to provide a nice little income for the global corporation which now owns the site, the council agreed to pay £250,000 per year, for twenty years, for office space.

Despite only being recently completed, the council then decided to spend £450,000 redesigning the office to suit it's needs. See here and here. The profligate spending continued of course with the notorious, and in my view undoubtedly fraudulent, 'Allowable Expenses' scandal.

More profligate spending has continued on the Parc Y Scarlets stadium, or more specifically, Scarlets' Regional Ltd, and has been well documented. Despite the fact that the rugby club, which is a private company of course, has been excused from paying a penny rent to the council due to it's debts, it enjoys regular injections of taxpayers money, courtesy of County Hall, for office rental and hospitality.

As the council continues to prop up its assorted white elephants by renting office space, it is only a matter of time before County Hall becomes defunct and the Chief Executive's Offices are relocated to that suitably holy environment of the evangelical bowling alley...

Anyway, I'm digressing slightly so back to Trostre and I must mention the council's official statement on the plan. What happens to councillors when they acquire power?  Cllr Dai Jenkins (Plaid) would, I think, when in opposition, have readily raised a concern or two over the negative effect on town centre trade caused by further out-of town development and it's abundant free parking and cheap rent.

But he is now the Executive Board Member for Resources and like Pam, Meryl and even the new leader, 'official statements' are, as per usual, straight from County Hall Central Command and the 'quotes' are pre-prepared b*****kspeak;

“It is currently too early to anticipate when these developments will take place as this would depend upon the nature of the proposals that are chosen. Our marketing of the sites, which are in prime locations surrounding the popular Trostre and Pemberton retail parks and Scarlets’ stadium have already attracted a good level of interest from across the property sector.” Cllr D Jenkins

So, with the council offering up this 16 acres of land, the ultimate plan to re-locate the town centre of Llanelli to the Great Sheds of Trostre and Pemberton is a major step closer. No longer will visitors and residents have to gather in the traditional streets of Llanelli, or in the traditional streets of anywhere else in Carmarthenshire for that matter, but will congregate in awe at the historic, aluminium clad surroundings of The Mark James CBE Stadium, and of course the Meryl Gravell Shopping Mall...


Anonymous said...

In days gone by it was called "Empire building" and it's still going strong!!

Mr Mustard said...

The Gravell Works, surely