Grand home gets £6m restoration
WORK on the next big attraction in Llanelli is underway.
Progress is being made to complete the latest part of the major refurbishment of the 18th century Llanelly House.
The grand building is expected to open its doors to the public in the summer after undergoing a £6 million makeover, being operated by the Carmarthenshire Heritage Regeneration Trust, which took over the house in 2010.
And as well as being a beautiful grade two listed structure, Llanelly House will become the country's first dedicated genealogy centre.
The project, which started just over 18 months ago and is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Welsh European Funding Office, forms part of the wider five-phase regeneration of Llanelli currently ongoing.
The £60 million scheme has already seen the opening of the town's new bus station, Odeon cinema and Y Ffwrnes theatre, which opened last weekend.
And it is estimated the refurbished town house will create another 30 jobs — 10 direct and 20 associated jobs — and bring in around 30,000 visitors a year.
Plans to regenerate the house have been a star-studded affair — with celebrity interior designer Laurence Llewelyn Bowen championing its plight back in 2003 on the BBC'S Restoration programme, hosted by Welsh comedian Griff Rhys Jones.
The house was a finalist on the show, losing out to the Manchester baths, but it took a further six years for the project to finally get off the ground.
After being built in its current form in 1714, the building had been at the centre of town life — housing the Stepney family in the 1900s.
Director of the project Craig Hatto — who was behind the London Science Museum before taking on the house two years ago — said the trust was now gearing up for the official opening in the summer.
"Llanelly House will be a flagship for Wales for digital tourism," he added.