A PRESS release to local media outlets has unveiled a series of exciting developments at Llanelli’s Parc Howard.
Underlining the council’s ongoing commitment to the future of the park, the leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Councillor Emlyn Dole, said the sensitive development of the play areas and mansion house will lead Parc Howard into a new era.
Amongst the plans he has unveiled are proposals to transform the historic mansion house, with potential uses including a wedding and banqueting venue, conferencing suites and an outdoor marquee.
The former cafe, which adjoins the mansion, could also be brought back to life selling refreshments and afternoon tea.
There are also plans to utilise the building as a regional centre for genealogy – tying in to Llanelli Town Centre’s Heritage Six scheme, which involves the library and Llanelly House.
Children are also being catered for, with brand new sections added to the park’s two existing play areas – including a giant four-mast space net with trampoline that will be the first in the world , and has been especially commissioned for Parc Howard.
Cllr Dole said: “This is a new era for Parc Howard. I have always voiced my full commitment to the future of Parc Howard and I have worked with my team to secure a range of investments and improvements that will encourage more people to use and enjoy this wonderful park.
“The park still is, and always will be, owned by the people of Llanelli but we want to make the most of it – there is a lot of value to heritage and culture.
“We have allocated funding to kick -start development with exciting new playground equipment to improve the offer for young children and families, and have committed further funding to the ongoing maintenance of the mansion house.
“We are also proposing the sensitive commercialisation of the mansion house with potential uses including a wedding, banqueting, conferencing and private event venue, and reintroducing the cafe that was once so popular.
“We also plan to house a genealogy centre at the mansion which will tie in perfectly with Llanelli’s Heritage Six and our plans to improve the county’s archive services in Carmarthen.
“We have worked with the Parc Howard Association and Friends of Parc Howard who are keen to support our proposals as a way of benefitting the park going forward with private investment that will create profits for the ongoing maintenance and development of the park.
Children visiting Parc Howard will be the first in the world to play on an especially-commissioned giant space net – a huge four-mast rope climbing frame with a trampoline at its centre.
Carmarthenshire County Council has commissioned a number of leading play equipment designers to come up with a series of new play equipment designs to improve the provision currently available at both playgrounds.
The preferred design includes a crawling pyramid, wobble-bridge, wizard’s tower fortress and forest shop with slides connecting the upper playground to the existing equipment on the lower level.
Existing equipment will be refurbished and updated as part of the work, including the ship and castle in the toddler area and new swing sets.
The work will be carried out in phases to ensure children still have equipment to play on as work gets underway and the first phase – the new equipment on the upper level of the toddler’s area – is anticipated to be complete d by the end of July.
The giant space net will be in place by the end of September to take the junior playground into the autumn season.
“We would of course like to have it all complete d in time for the school holidays, but the giant space net will be worth waiting for,” said Cllr Dole.
“Our teams will work hard to get the rest of the new equipment in place as quickly as possible so that children can use it during their summer break – we will be sectioning off parts of the playground whilst work is underway so that there is always something they can play on.”
The Mansion House
Carmarthenshire County Council will be seeking private investors to put money into the sensitive development of the mansion house, with potential uses including a wedding, banqueting and conference venue.
Proposals will centre around allowing the building to generate income with profits that will benefit the whole park.
It is hoped that the mansion house will become the home for Heritage Six , which will enable community access to provide artefacts, images and oral histories of Carmarthenshire for hosting on an online heritage website for the region.
The council has already committed additional funding to the maintenance of the building which costs around £100,000 a year to keep, with £250,000 being spent on the roof alone this year.
“We have fantastic plans to develop the mansion but will be very sensitive in the choice of commercial operations given its unique history and location within the park and surrounding residential area,” said Cllr Dole.
“We plan to advertise opportunities for private firms to propose uses and then run it, with potential for uses such as a wedding, banqueting and conferencing venue with a percentage of profits going back to the park. Planning permission may be needed for certain aspects, which would be submitted later in the year.
“With the support of the Parc Howard Association and Friends of Parc Howard , we hope to move these plans forward in the very near future.”
Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman
THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.
Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.
Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.
Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.
“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.
Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.
The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.
Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.
Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.
He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.
He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.
A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.
A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.
He is married with two children and three grandchildren.
‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’
LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.
Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.
During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.
Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”
“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”
Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.
Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”
Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.
“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”
MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails
LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.
Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.
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