Carmarthenshire Council buys seven Llanelli centre properties
Carmarthenshire County Council has bought seven properties in Llanelli Town Centre as part of its ‘Opportunity Street’ project.
More than half of the properties in the town centre’s main shopping streets, including Stepney Street and Vaughan Street, are owned by private landlords who lease out the buildings and set their own rents.
Buying some of these properties from the private owners was identified as one of the key priorities of the Llanelli Town Centre Taskforce, chaired by Leader of the Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole.
It means that the council now has more control over the buildings, and the aim is to bring them back into use with a mixed retail and residential offer.
It also means that the council is able to set the rent at an affordable level.
The council secured money through the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places fund to bolster the council’s own funds in order to purchase the buildings.
Cllr Dole said: “Opportunity Street is all about bringing more town centre properties into council ownership so that we can bring them back into use.
“Nobody wants empty units in the town, and a lot of criticism has been aimed at the council for not doing enough about it. When I launched the Llanelli Town Centre Taskforce, bringing more units back into use was one of my main priorities, and Opportunity Street is helping us achieve this.”
Numbers 10 and 12 Stepney Street were the first properties purchased in March 2015. Planning permission for a retail unit and two two-bedroom residential units for each of the buildings has since been approved.
Work has started and should be finished by May 2017. It is being carried out by local contractor Lloyd and Gravell, which has also committed to deliver additional community benefits throughout the works, in liaison with the council’s Economic Development team.
The council’s housing team is funding the residential element of the project, and will manage the units once complete.
The retail units will be available to let through the council’s Corporate Property team.
Discussions are now underway regarding the five other properties bought under the scheme.