‘Transformative’ multi-million scheme to change ‘sad’ corner of Llanelli town centre
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
New bar-restaurants, offices and serviced accommodation are coming to Llanelli after a multi-million scheme was unanimously approved by Carmarthenshire councillors.
Members of the planning committee said they had high hopes for the private sector arcade project, which will link Market Street with East Gate and Stepney Place beyond.
Gin and restaurant operator Juniper Place, cocktail and restaurant brand Old Havana, and coffee brand Carma Coffi are expected to occupy some of the space at the Y Linc development.
It is anticipated that more than 100 jobs will be created, excluding construction jobs. Some Welsh Government funding is expected.
Recommending the application for approval, planning committee chairman, Cllr Alun Lenny, said Llanelli town centre had suffered in recent years at the expense of out-of-town developments.
Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, Cllr Lenny said: “In these dire days, the project creation of at least 100 jobs is good news indeed.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this development would be most welcome.”
Cllr Mansel Charles, seconding the recommendation, said he believed the timber and black slate-clad scheme with its covered walkway would bring economic confidence to the town.
Cllr Gareth Thomas said what was there currently “looks very sad”.
Applicant Cygnus Holdings Ltd already has approval to demolish the former nightclubs and vacant pubs at the site.
A planning officer said the application had been referred to the committee for determination because the county council had a “significant financial interest” in the scheme and because there were three objections.
The objectors were concerned about the loss of the Dynevor Castle and Black Lion pubs, and felt the project had little regard for the adjacent grade two-listed Exchange Buildings.
The planning officer said the application did not require the submission of a heritage impact assessment or architectural statement, and that the pubs – while having “historical context” – had been altered and also vacant for “some considerable time”.
He said the planning department felt the Y Linc scheme, which would cost in the region of £3 million to build, would improve the Exchange Buildings’s setting.
Committee members were advised that the development would technically not comply with national flood risk policy because a small part of it was located in a flood zone.
But officers said in the planning report that flood-resilient design measures could be incorporated in the scheme, including a secondary access for the Airbnb-style accommodation.
They also felt there were overriding material considerations to recommend that the project should be approved, such as economic benefits and its “transformative” potential for Llanelli.