It has been some time since this blog reported on Carmarthenshire County Council's ongoing attempts to offload Parc Howard in Llanelli, but it seems that new moves are afoot with the favoured partner this time being another of those shell companies Meryl Gravell is so fond of.
Mrs Chippings was spotted enjoying high tea with various planning officers and other invited guests at a Llanelli hotel a couple of weeks ago, busily discussing visionary schemes for the future of the old mansion and its surrounding parkland over the scones and Darjeeling.
Cneifiwr understands that among the potential new investors are some familiar old faces with interests in and around Meryl's favourite racecourse at Ffos Las including Pembrey Airport, which until recently advertised itself as "one of the few Airports in the United Kingdom that has 5000 acres of
adjoining land available for joint venture with very little planning and
environmental constraints", and medallion man Robbie Savage whose exciting plans for a hotel at Ffos Las have got no further than some old orgasmic press releases.
Meanwhile, Meryl has more exciting news for all of you in Tre'r Sosban.
"Council Chief Meryl Gravell shares thoughts on £1m Opportunity Street scheme in Llanelli" screams a headline in the online version of the Llanelli Star, complete with a picture of the Great Leader which must have been taken about 10 years ago.
Has there been a coup in County Hall with Meryl returned to her rightful place at the helm? Has Kev been placed under house arrest in Garnant?
Well, neither of these things, although the Labour Party in Llanelli must be gnashing its dentures and wondering why Kev has once again allowed the old monster to give the impression that she is running the show (come to think of it, she probably is) and play the role of Lady Bountiful.
Opportunity Street is a scheme to allow the county council buy up empty retail premises in the town centre, refurbish them as "commercial premises" and convert any upper floors into flats.
A related article reminds us that Llanelli was rated the second worst town in the UK for retail vitality last year, and that one in five shops is empty.
Needless to say, Meryl thinks this is "really exciting", and she cannot imagine that anyone in their right minds would criticise it.
The problem is that there is just £1 million in the kitty, with half the money coming from the Welsh Government and the rest from the council, and as one business owner pointed out, £1 million will hardly make a dent. The cost of purchasing and refurbishing properties could mean that the scheme would struggle to complete two projects.
Given the scale of the problem and the amount of empty retail and office space in the town, you also have to wonder who will want to take on the refurbished "commercial premises".
The council nevertheless remains confident that the investment will pay off.
It seems only yesterday when CCC were boasting that £60m had been spent on the regeneration of Llanelli. But when I tried to refresh my memory on the details they proved rather elusive on the Council's website. Given the impact that money had, it is hard to believe that a further million will make any difference at all.
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