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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2006, 10:06 GMT
Theatre plan for demolition site
Old Castle Works
The Old Castle Works site has been derelict for many years
Plans for a 24m theatre and cultural centre have been drawn up for derelict industrial land in Llanelli.

Work has begun to demolish large parts of the Old Castle Works site which had been branded an eyesore.

A bid has been made for 18m in lottery funds for the development that includes a theatre, arthouse cinema and a cultural exhibition centre.

Carmarthenshire council said it should know by March if its plans had passed the initial funding round.

The majority of the derelict buildings, part of a former tinplate works, are being razed to the ground, although a Grade II-listed tinning house is being retained.

It is hoped a "cultural village", with a mix of commercial and publicly funded developments, will be built in its place.

Mark James
The work is key to our plans to regenerate Llanelli,
Mark James, Carmarthenshire council

The council has submitted an application for an 18m grant to the Living Landmarks scheme run by the Big Lottery Fund.

It admitted competition for the money would be fierce but said it had identified 6m in match funding.

It would replace Theatre Elli - Llanelli's existing council run theatre and cinema complex.

Chief executive Mark James said: "The proposals for the theatre complex are part of the overall development of the site as a cultural village.

"This will complete the transformation of the coastline.

"It is a vital regeneration project which will attract investment to the town, create many jobs and we hope provide first class leisure facilities."

The Arts Council for Wales helped fund an initial feasibility study.

There are also plans for a five-screen cinema and bowling alley from the commercial sector.

Mr James said the demolition work was due to be completed within weeks.

"This eyesore has blighted Llanelli for many years - I am extremely pleased that clearance and restoration work has started."

The council was told it would know in March if the scheme had passed the first phase. If successful the authority would be given 250,000 to develop its plans.

"The work is key to our plans to regenerate Llanelli," added Mr James.

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05 Feb 05 |  South West Wales

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