Carmarthenshire County Council has granted outline planning permission for the £200 million Wellness and Life Science Village project earmarked for council land at Delta Lakes, which is on the coast just outside Llanelli.
The scheme and its governance, though, remain under a cloud: it is the subject of reviews by both the Welsh and UK governments and, separately, the Welsh Audit Office.
And the Welsh administration must also now decide whether to call in the scheme for determination by ministers. The initiative is a flagship project of the Swansea Bay City Deal.
The scheme would comprise an Institute of Life Science and a community health hub facility, as well as a so-called ‘Wellness Education Centre’, a ‘Clinical Delivery Centre’, a state-of-the-art leisure centre, assisted living accommodation, and a wellness hotel together with landscaped outdoor spaces for recreation.
The 23-hectare site is part of a wider area south of Llanelli town centre, which saw significant industrial use after being reclaimed from marshland. Natural Resources Wales has concerns about flooding issues.
In December 2018, the county council’s cabinet gave its backing to the project. However, the local authority decided to proceed with the scheme after ditching erstwhile development partner Sterling Health. This involved the termination of a formal collaboration agreement.
Alun Lenny, planning committee chairman, said: “This is one of the largest developments ever considered by this council. Llanelli has been in gradual decline since so many of its traditional industries closed, leaving a legacy of poverty and poor health, which the wellness development seeks to remedy. It is a truly groundbreaking concept, bringing together health, housing, leisure and medical research on the same site.
“Such a massive development on a post-industrial wasteland would herald an exciting new era in the history of Llanelli. I sincerely hope that the Welsh government agrees with our decision about this forward-looking development, which would do so much to regenerate Llanelli, Carmarthenshire and west Wales in general.”
Source: The Planner