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Maximising growth in the Amman Valley

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COUNCILLORS, business people and community representatives got together this week to discuss how to make the most of opportunities for developing the Amman Valley economy.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Economic Development division hosted a successful event at the Amman Centre in Ammanford that was chaired by Council Leader Cllr Kevin Madge.

The event also aimed to ensure that the Amman Valley benefits from Carmarthenshire Tourism Month and on-going development and promotional campaigns, and to encourage and applications for funding from sources such as the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.

Guest speakers included Steve Adams, the editor of the South Wales Guardian on the best ways to use Newspaper in promotion; Chris Jones the S4C weather man and walking Guru on the power of video footage to showcase an area to visitors and Nia Balon from Carmarthenshire Tourism Association spoke jointly with Huw Parsons from the Local Authority on making more from Tourists and Visitors whilst Council officers Stuart Walters and John Wilson updated all on the funding opportunities and some of the major projects being worked on in Ammanford by the Partnership.

It was extremely well attended by representatives from the community including All Saints Church, Ammanford Pensioners, Dinefwr Riding Centre, the Mill at Glynhir and Parc Garnant, along with county councillors and town and community councillors.

The guest speakers were able to showcase to the audience the opportunities available to them. Awareness was raised regarding funding opportunities and who to contact, the value and importance of tourism to Carmarthenshire and the national and international opportunities, The Tourism Ambassador Scheme was highlighted by Carmarthenshire Tourism Association and the tourism training opportunities that exist through it.

Council Leader Cllr Kevin Madge said: “I called for this meeting to make sure that we make the most of every opportunity to develop the economy of Ammanford and the Amman Valley. The event was well attended and was a great chance to share ideas and information and we must now take those ideas forward.”

 

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Business Wales delivers vital support

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MORE than 20,000 jobs have been created since April 2015 by enterprises that have received support from the Welsh Government’s flagship Business Wales service, Economy Minister Ken Skates has revealed.


Business Wales makes it easier for Welsh micro-businesses and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages to access the information, advice and support they require to start and grow their businesses.


In addition to helping Welsh enterprises create more than 20,000 new jobs since April 2015, the service has handled over 60,000 enquiries and advised over 30,000 individual entrepreneurs and firms across Wales. It has also helped Welsh entrepreneurs create more than 4,000 new businesses across Wales with an impressive four year survival rate of over 80 per cent.


The Welsh Government continues to proactively support entrepreneurs at each stage of the business lifecycle from raising awareness of entrepreneurship with more than 200,000 primary school pupils right across Wales through to idea generation, start-up and on to sustainable growth.


In November, the Economy Minister announced proposals to build on Business Wales’ success to ensure its high quality is maintained and developed so even more firms and entrepreneurs can benefit from the service.


This includes how the service can prepare businesses for what the economy will look like after Brexit.


Business Wales also has an increasingly important role in supporting firms to rise to the challenges set out in the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan of preparing for digital developments, improving productivity, increasing the incidence of fair work, decarbonising and promoting inclusive growth.


Ken Skates said: “As we enter the New Year, it’s fabulous news and a great achievement that our flagship Business Wales service has supported the creation of more than 20,000 jobs since April 2015.


“That’s 20,000 people given an opportunity to work, earn a wage, make a living and help drive a productive Welsh economy. I am delighted we, as a Welsh Government, have played our part in helping Welsh entrepreneurs and SMEs to make that happen.


“Although 92 per cent of Business Wales customers say they would recommend the service to a friend, we’re certainly not resting on our laurels and I’m already looking at ways Business Wales can directly support more firms and entrepreneurs over the coming years.


“Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Welsh economy and vital to our economic outlook and the way communities throughout Wales operate from day-to-day.


“We will continue to support our SMEs and be on hand to provide the high-quality information, advice and guidance they need to thrive.”

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Last remaining council owned shop in Llanelli Town Centre

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Here is an opportunity to start the New Year in business – grab the last remaining council owned shop unit in Llanelli Town Centre.

Number 3 Cowell Precinct – most recently occupied by Clair Adams Schoolwear – is up for rent and is in a prime town centre location.

The ground floor unit is available at an affordable rent of just over £650 per month and coupled with reduced business rates being offered by the Welsh Government under its business rate relief scheme, it offers an attractive package to those thinking of opening up shop in Llanelli.

Retail space is approx 133.5 sqm and benefits from a main sales area with additional raised area with store room, WC and rear access. Front entrance is within Llanelli Indoor Market Precinct. The lease will be for a term of at least five years.

Almost £5million has been spent buying town centre properties from private ownership to renovate and offer to businesses at an affordable rent, and all but one council-owned property in the main shopping streets of the town are currently occupied.

Carmarthenshire County Council Cllr Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “We have acquired many properties from private ownership in the last couple of years. In doing so, we now have control over more business premises which allows us to set an affordable level of rent that will help new businesses to establish and sustain themselves. Many people are under the misconception that the council own all properties in Llanelli Town Centre – this isn’t the case and many are owned privately and over which we have no control.

“We continue to encourage private landlords and owners to make better use of town centre buildings by offering grants and loans as part of a range of incentives, including simpler planning rules to speed up the process for investors and developers.”

For further information on this property please visit our website under council property; email cirichards@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 01267 246196

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Llanelli’s Altalia restaurant to close after 18 years

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THE OWNERS of a family-run restaurant in Llanelli town centre have decided to call time to focus on new ventures.

Al and Tal Einon, who run Italian restaurant Altalia on the corner of Stepney Street and Market Street, will serve for the final time on Saturday, December 21.

Carmarthenshire County Council, which owns the building leased to the business, has thanked the couple for their commitment to the town over the last 18 years.

The council is currently working on proposals to transform Market Street to provide a better connection with the main town centre and Eastgate.

It was hoped Altalia would stay as an anchor tenant within the new development, and the council has worked closely with the couple over the last year to plan ahead.

However, in a personal decision, the Einons have decided to bring their time in the town centre to a close and try something new.

“We are taking this opportunity to thank all our valued customers, many of whom are now friends and always will be,” they said.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed catering for Llanelli for some 18 years. The teams we have developed over the years really have been the best at their game and the fulfilment of training them, and our daughters, into capable caterers – both front and back of house – has been the most satisfying thing of all.

“All good things must come to an end, and we look forward to a new venture in 2020.”

Carmarthenshire County Council’s regeneration team are working on plans to transform several areas of the town.

Almost £5million has been spent buying town centre properties from private ownership to renovate and offer to businesses at an affordable rent, and all but three council-owned properties in the main shopping streets of the town are currently occupied.

The team also continues to encourage private landlords and owners to make better use of town centre buildings by offering grants and loans as part of a range of incentives, including simpler planning rules to speed up the process for investors and developers.

The next phase of development will see more mixed-use retail and residential space created, a model that has already proven successful along Stepney Street.

Market Street is one of the key sites earmarked for development to encourage more footfall and flow between the town centre and Eastgate.

The council is currently working on proposals for the area, with no firm plans about the site yet in place.

Feedback from members of the public, businesses and town centre stakeholders from a series of drop-in consultation events in the town centre during 2018 will be taken into consideration.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council and Executive Board Member for Regeneration, said: “We thank Al and Tal for their service to Llanelli town centre for the last 18 years. They have provided a wonderful welcome to customers and have been a huge part of the town centre as our tenants. We have worked closely with the couple to plan for their future as part of our continued regeneration of Llanelli town centre, and whilst naturally we’re disappointed that they have decided to bring their business to a close, we fully understand and accept that decision and wish them well in their new ventures.”

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