Deputy Minister visits regeneration projects in Llanelli
During his visit he unveiled interior design plans for Y Ffwrnes – Carmarthenshire County Council’s £14.6m project to construct a newly built theatre and renovate two adjacent Grade II listed buildings, transforming them into an arts and cultural centre with employment and skills opportunities.
The interior of the main auditorium of the theatre has been designed by ACT Theatre Consultants to reflect a fiery furnace. The seating is varied in colour reflecting a white hot epicentre with the colours cooling to the extremes, through shades of orange, red and browns. Black is introduced in the flooring and high level walling to give the effect of entering the furnace.
While in the town the Deputy Minister also became the first visitor to view archeology from the 16th and 17th century uncovered during the £6m restoration of Llanelly House - a project led by Carmarthenshire Heritage Regeneration Trust.
Due to open in January 2013 the Grade I Listed Llanelly House will offer a community and visitor heritage centre, creating new jobs and a range of training opportunities.
Both projects, will create up to 40 jobs at first and are backed by the Welsh Government including the European Regional Development Fund.
The Deputy Minister said:
“Our successful management of EU resources ensures vital schemes such as these can be delivered for the benefit of both people and businesses alike bringing new cultural, community, employment and training opportunities. This investment will create a better environment in-keeping with the rich heritage of the area, increasing prosperity for those within the town and beyond.”
The challenge at Y Ffwrnes has been to create social sustainability, through sustainable regeneration, blending the old and the new. This has been recognised as the development has received the highest scoring in Wales for its sustainable features under the BREEAM awards 2011.
Regeneration and Leisure Executive Board Member Cllr Clive Scourfield said:
“We are making really good progress with the development of Y Ffwrnes which will provide a first class venue for our varied programme of arts and drama, and a much-needed new home for local amateur dramatic groups. Llanelli deserves this kind of facility, and it fits in perfectly with our plans for the Eastern Quarter, and the overall regeneration of the town centre.”
One of the artefacts the Deputy Minister will see at Llanelly House is a clay tobacco pipe bowl, dated 1650-80, recovered during the renovations. It was found in the demolition rubble in Sir Thomas Stepney’s Study who was the landlord of the day.
Project Director Craig Hatto states:
“For us, Llanelly House is the heartbeat of Llanelli. The House reflects the triumphs and tribulations of the town, embracing the industrial revolution and sparking prosperity in the area with the emergence of coal mining, pottery production and the manufacture of tinplate and steel. However, in spite of this the House also witnessed Llanelli’s sustained economic decline during the 1970’s. The House is a barometer of these times, reflected in its current dilapidated state. With the proposed £60m planned investment within Llanelli, the House is to once again be restored to its former glory and will shine as a beacon to the town’s people, place and identity.”
When complete a café / restaurant, which will incorporate a delicatessen with al fresco dining, will be housed on the site as well as a business start up facility to encourage small enterprises to establish themselves in a unique setting close to the town.
During the visit, the Deputy Minister also walked through the town to see further the regeneration projects taking place via the Adref project. The £13.5 million scheme for Llanelli town centre, will undertake improvements to the town centre canopies, improve the façade of town centre properties and landscaping works. It will also create pedestrian and cycleway links to the town centre.