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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Department store for mart site
Debenhams will anchor the development
One of Britain's biggest high street names is set to be the focus of a multi-million pound redevelopment of Carmarthen town centre.

Debenhams is being lined up to open a department store on the derelict former cattle mart site.

Nearby traders at the indoor market fear they could be forced to move to accommodate the scheme but Carmarthenshire council leader Meryl Gravell said they had nothing to fear.

Speaking after an executive board meeting to select a developer for the project, she said the historic market would benefit from the plans.

I have always said I'm not necessarily against a move - let's wait and see what the options are
Trader Mike Lowe

More than 35,000 people have signed a petition calling on the council to maintain the market, which dates back to Roman times, at its present location.

But Mrs Gravell said under the plans the traders could either stay put or consider a "slight" move to a nearby location.

"They will have to be very careful, wherever Debenhams will be is where the mass of people will visit.

"We want to develop the market into one of the best in the whole of Wales.

"We have already got a lot of good Welsh produce being sold in the market."

Multi-screen cinema

The developer, whose details have not been released, was selected from a shortlist of four at Monday's meeting and will now come up with several options for the town centre.

As well as Debenhams they have been asked to include a 10-pin bowling alley, multi-screen cinema, additional shops, restaurants and car parking for more than 500 cars.

A series of public exhibitions is likely to be held for residents and community groups to have their say.

Director of regeneration Dave Gilbert said: "Everyone will have the opportunity to see the plans and give us their views and comments before a final decision is taken."

Some market traders say they will wait and see what is on offer before deciding whether or not to support the scheme.

Mike Lowe said: "I have always said I'm not necessarily against a move - let's wait and see what the options are."

But fellow trader Gwenda Williams said: "I'm not against Debenhams coming into town but I am against moving."

Hunt starts for mart developer
16 Jun 03  |  South West Wales

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