Time running out to decide on location for Carmarthen's winter wonderland
THE company eager to bring a winter wonderland to Carmarthen says town leaders have just three days to find a location — or lose out on an economic bonanza.
Bosses at Swansea-based Studt Funfairs say time is now running out to identify a suitable site.
Gurnos Rees, consultant for the family-run firm, said it was prepared to bring the event to the town free of charge — and waiver a usual set-up fee.
While not on the same scale as similar wonderlands in Swansea and Cardiff, it is expected to generate a huge income for the town with stalls and an ice rink planned as part of the festive show.
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Figures highlight that Swansea's event annually pulls in £7 million for the city's coffers.
The issue is expected to be discussed tonight at a meeting of Carmarthen Chamber of Trade and Commerce, but Mr Rees warned a location needed to be decided upon urgently.
He said: "We need a site in the town decided upon by the end of the week, but time is running out."
The warning came after hopes to use the Quay for the event were dashed over health and safety concerns.
The Carmarthen Town Strategy Group, Chamber of Trade and Commerce, and the town council are working together to try and bring the project to fruition. Carmarthenshire Council has also offered to assist.
The town park in Morfa Lane has been suggested as an alternative to the Quay, but Mr Rees said a hard-standing area is ideally needed and warned a central location was necessary to capitalise on the economic potential.
He said: "It would be huge, absolutely huge.
"But it has to be in the town centre because that's the only way shops and businesses will benefit.
"There might be scope to have the wonderland at John Street car park behind Marks and Spencer but that is up to the town strategy group and the chamber of commerce to decide."
Town council clerk Selwyn Thomas, who sits on the Carmarthen Town Strategy Group, said the venture would be good for the town but added it had not been discussed by the town council officially.
If a decision on where to locate the wonderland is made before the end of the week, Mr Rees said the ball would start rolling immediately.
"At this stage, we do have time to bring it in but it may be just for a week from November 16, when the Christmas lights go on.
"We would see how successful it is and return nearer Christmas for another week with a view to bringing a full wonderland next year."
Chair of the town strategy group and manager of St Catherine's Walk, Mike Pugh, said he was disappointed the Quay had been ruled out but said Carmarthen should be rivalling Swansea and Cardiff with a wonderland.
He added: "The town is a key shopping destination now and why shouldn't it go head to head with Swansea with a wonderland?
"The county council are still willing to help us with general support and assistance.
"Hopefully tonight's meeting will give traders the chance to give their views on where we could place the wonderland in the town."