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Accommodation refused at wetland centre

07 Apr 2024 2 minute read
The WWT Llanelli footbridge which is being replaced. Image: WWT Llanelli

Richard Youle Local Democracy Reporter

A wetland centre’s plan for visitor accommodation has been turned down, but contractors are on site to replace a bridge leading to its 450-acre reserve.

WWT (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) Llanelli submitted plans to Carmarthenshire Council to convert office space below one of its 10 hides into a one-bedroom, timber-clad unit with a small patio area outside.

It said the short-stay accommodation would have generated additional income for the conservation charity and helped address building defects that had been identified in the Heron’s Wing Hide.

Flood risk

Environment body Natural Resources Wales said the application site was at risk of flooding and that it objected unless WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre provided an assessment which demonstrated that flooding could be managed acceptably.

The council said a flood consequence assessment hadn’t been submitted, and rejected the application.

The WWT Llanelli footbridge which is being replaced. Image: WWT Llanelli

The decision came before contractors arrived at the attraction to replace a wooden bridge linking the visitor centre to the large wetland reserve.

The bridge was more than 20 years old and well past its best. The work began just over two weeks ago, is expected to last a month, and has had funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund via the council. An alternative route to the reserve has been created in the meantime.

The wetland centre overlooks the Burry Inlet and contains lakes, ponds, reed beds and lagoons. It is also home to a collection of birds – some endangered – such as Caribbean flamingos, red-crowned cranes and white storks.

Centre manager Jo Jones said: “We’re delighted that we can now replace the worn-out footbridge with a strong and long-lasting design to ensure that more people can access the reserve and connect with wetland nature in the years to come.

“We realise that the work will inconvenience our regular visitors in the short-term, but safeguarding this access is essential to secure the future of the nature reserve, so we ask everyone to please bear with us.”

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