£5.5m Llanelli park plans on hold
A £5.5 MILLION grant bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to return a Llanelli mansion and park to its former glory has been deferred.
The Parc Howard Association has been working with Carmarthenshire Council on the bid, which should have been submitted this month.
But the bid will now be made to the Heritage Parks for People Fund in August to help to allow more discussion on the final plans. The decision came after Old Road residents started a petition to remove plans for a car park in the Llanelli beauty spot.
Pat Morris, leader of the campaign A Park NOT a Car Park, claimed such a facility would be dangerous for schoolchildren who often use the park.
Carmarthenshire Council said it had spent the last year developing a site master plan to make a lasting difference to the park's heritage and ensure its future.
County executive board member for leisure services Meryl Gravell said: "The vision for the park is one that provides the local community and surrounding areas with a facility that conserves the heritage of the park, increases access and understanding of the parks heritage and improves the long-term management and sustainability of such a valuable asset to the town of Llanelli.
"We have deferred the bid because we have only got once chance to get this right, show unity and satisfy the strict criteria set by our potential funders.
"These are challenging financial times for all authorities.
"Non-statutory services, which includes museums and parks under the umbrella of leisure, are low on the scale of priority behind education health and social care.
"For this reason we have to be innovative, bold and ambitious with help of all partners like the association to bid for funding opportunities to achieve our mutual dream.
"This is an exciting opportunity for the park. The bid, if successful, will ensure that Parc Howard continues to be enjoyed by residents of Llanelli and the surrounding areas for years to come."
The blueprint includes tea rooms, a restored bandstand and audience amphitheatre and a children's Splash pad.
Mrs Morris, a great-grandmother, said: "So far, only two men and one woman refused to sign my petition.
"I collected nearly 550 names in one week myself from, my neighbours, two local schools and local businesses like Dyfed Steel."