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EDITIONS
 Monday, 9 December, 2002, 18:01 GMT
Council invests 29m in jobs scheme
Carmarthen
Carmarthen is one of the towns being targeted
Nearly 30m is being invested by a west Wales council towards a 450m five-year plan to create 5,000 jobs and safeguard more than 2,000 others.

Town centres, including Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford, are all in line for major improvements as part of the masterplan.

This is a five-year project which we have put together, but it allows for flexibility

Mark James, Carmarthenshire Council

Burry Port, Llandeilio, Llandovery and Newcastle Emlyn will also receive some of the investment.

The scheme - the first of its kind in Wales - has been drawn up by Carmarthenshire County Council and the Welsh Development Agency.

On Monday, the council pledged nearly 30m to the scheme.

Projects already identified as part of the plan include an 80m leisure development at Pembrey Country Park, the visitor centre at North Dock and regeneration of the whole coastline from Loughor to Pembrey.

Cross Hands has also been identified as a key site for industrial and commercial development, along with workshops at Betws Park.

Chief Executive Mark James, said: "This is a five-year project which we have put together, but it allows for flexibility.

"Other projects which come along in the meantime can be slotted in and prioritised," he said.

'Worst-paid'

Executive members of the council have voted to invest the money in the ambitious proposal, which aims to regenerate the local economy and halt the exodus of young people from the area.

Mark James Carmarthen County Council Chief Executive
Mr James: "Huge investment"

It is hoped the plan will also improve prospects for the region's workforce, who have been described by council leaders as "some of the worst-paid in Europe".

Cash for the scheme is expected to come from European Objective One funding, the local Regeneration Fund, Wales Tourist Board, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the private sector.

Huw John, the council's regeneration executive board member, said he was confident the money would be available and that the effect could be dramatic.

"In five years' time, I am confident Carmarthenshire will be a thriving county, the envy of most, with a sound economy, good quality jobs, successful businesses and a range of high standard leisure facilities."

"It will be the place everyone wants to be and reserve our fortunes from being among the poorest in Europe to be one of the most successful."


More from south west Wales
See also:

02 Dec 02 | Wales
30 Oct 02 | Wales
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