Kidwelly farmer hopes to breathe new life into former Coedbach Washeries site
A FARMER from Kidwelly who has purchased a historic former coal site for £260,000 has said he is looking to "breathe new life" into the location.
Dai Gravell has bought the former Coedbach Washeries site, which is next door to his Mudlescwm Farm.
The 50-year-old said the 35-acre site provided plenty of exciting opportunities for development in the future — adding that he was open for ideas on its future use.
"With the help of the council and the Welsh Government I could do things to bring some life back into it in terms of industrial units in that nature or put part of it back into agriculture," he said.
"It would be things like small units for workshops or businesses wanting space to operate their business — it all depends how the council can advise me on the best way forward really and what sort of help there is from the Welsh Assembly."
To many, the closure of Coedbach Washeries spelled the death knell for the area.
The coal washery, seen by many as one of the last great employers in the area, closed in 1998 after 40 years in the town.
Unemployment jumped overnight in an already depressed area and residents feared they were on a downhill path.
Clive Hughes, who later took over the site, had hoped to bring a £70 million power plant to the area, but was met with fierce opposition from the Coedbach Action Team (CAT) and the application was rejected by Carmarthenshire Council in 2009.
A winding up order that was brought before a court in Birmingham in December meant the loss of the site, and Mr Gravell acquired it from Edward Symmons property consultants.
The dad-of-two added that it was a new venture for him, admitting he had never bought any brown land sites before, only commercial property in the past.
"The feedback has been positive so far," he said.
He added: "It's a new avenue and we will have to see where it goes, but nothing is starting yet.
"It's a shame that the Coedbach Washeries site had to come to an end — it employed a lot of people for nearly 30 years.
"I'm open to suggestions about the future, but something of that nature will be out of my hands.