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Goods Shed: ‘Now the hard work really begins’

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Inside the Goods Shed (Pic Darren Harries)

Inside the Goods Shed (Pic Darren Harries)

THE LLANELLI Goods Shed Project has received further good news recently, after it was awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales.

The £58,000 development grant followed hot on the heels of a similar grant of £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

However, as one of the trustees said: ‘Now the hard work really begins.’

The ground-breaking Goods Shed project aims to restore the derelict Grade II Listed building in Marsh Street and bring it back into life as a dynamic multi-purpose hub for the community.

The whole scheme is currently estimated to cost £1.7m.

It’s a hugely ambitious idea and the biggest independent project of its kind in West Wales.

The cash went into a total budget pot of £133,800 of development funding which will give the project lift-off.

The development funding will allow us to do the preparation work of reports from surveyors and architects and planning permissions. That work is underway.

Lead architects (Cardiff-based Davies Sutton, award-winning conservation architects) have been appointed.

Surveyors were hard at work on the site this week and last week. All that activity is a sign of a project taking shape.

But it’s a project which needs the support of the community of Llanelli and beyond – from local residents living close to the site to other interested groups who (we hope) will come from far and wide to use the building.

Of crucial importance to us now is taking the people of Llanelli with us on the journey to completing this project.

We will be consulting with the public as we finalise the plans for the building.

And we remain open to ideas from all stakeholders and interested groups and individuals for the future use of the building.

The Goods Shed charity’s trustees appreciate there is no monopoly on good ideas and we suspect that many very innovative uses for the building will be provided by the wider community.

The latest announcement from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is a huge boost for the project and represents another important part of our funding jigsaw.

Both the HLF and Big Lottery fund grants carry passes into a Round Two of further capital funding – and that is where much of the hard work will be required in coming months.

We are grateful to Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund Wales for showing confidence in the project. Accessing grant funding is an incredibly competitive and challenging business nowadays, so we thank both organisations for recognising that we have a project here in the Goods Shed that is worthy of support.

To get to this stage, we have already received support from Carmarthenshire County Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund. Both HLF and Big Lottery Fund have been extremely helpful in guiding us through the grants process.

In addition to the development funding, we also have a pledge of £400,000 in capital/building works funding from the Railway Heritage Trust.

All that we have achieved so far is down to the support we have received from the people of Llanelli and we look forward to counting on their further support as the project starts to gather up a greater head of steam.

Our project will breathe new life into the building and our current plans involve establishing a multi-purpose community hub to include offices, arts facilities, a cafe and a heritage experience.

Once the building is renovated and in daily use it will be a huge improvement for this area, near Llanelli Railway Station, and will be a real boost for the local community.

As project officer, I will be working closely with the local community and interested groups, organisations and individuals over the next few weeks as we begin to lock down our plans for the site.

Of course, the key player in the whole project is Network Rail, the current owners of the Goods Shed site.

We have been working closely with Network Rail in recent years to secure the site. Their cooperation in helping us progress the project is greatly appreciated.

The Big Lottery’s CAT2 (capital asset transfer) scheme is all about bringing buildings back into community use.

For those unfamiliar with the site, the former Llanelli Railway Goods Shed is an imposing Grade II listed building situated alongside the main railway line just east of Llanelli Station.

Built in 1875, it is one of the few surviving examples in Wales. In fact, we have looked, but have not yet found anything that resembles it in Wales. It is built in the classic ‘Brunel’ style.

The shed has been unused for many years and has sadly fallen into a state of disrepair.

In 2011, the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust was formed with a view to restoring the building and bringing it back into use for the benefit of the community.

The Goods Shed is sited on the former South Wales Railway that ran from Chepstow to Fishguard.

The Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, visited the Goods Shed as part of a fact-finding tour of west Wales’ heritage sites.

Mr Skates said: “I was delighted to see at first hand the hard work being put into the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust project.

“It’s an ambitious plan for an area which needs investment and rejuvenation and the energy and enthusiasm shown by the Trust members, volunteers and project supporters is impressive.

“The proposals set out by the Trust are supportive of the aims and objectives of our Historic Environment (Wales) Bill and wider policy, which aims to improve the management and protection of our historic environment, including finding sustainable solutions for future use of historic buildings, such as these proposed for the Goods Shed. I wish the Trust the very best in their efforts.”

It is associated with the nearby station buildings with both groups of buildings dating from a growth in the tinplate industry that was centred on Llanelli.

The Goods Shed remains as an example of a particular type of functional building and is included on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, Grade II.

WHAT WILL THE GOODS SHED HOUSE?

The building is divided into four parts – main office block, large railway good shed platform hall, basement and steel canopy (this is also Listed status).

Some of the ideas include transforming the main office block into rental accommodation for startup businesses and social enterprises; providing a meeting space for community groups; and providing coworker space for creative industries.

It is hoped that the main shed will host exhibitions focusing on Llanelli’s railway history and the town’s industrial past; along with a restaurant and space for community group activities, private hire events, and exhibition space.

Options are also being considered for the basement, outside area, and canopy area.

These are ‘ideas’ at present and the trust will spend time consulting with local residents and a wide range of community groups, organisations and individuals to establish what the community needs and wants in the shed.

HOW DOES THE PROJECT ‘STACK UP’ FINANCIALLY?

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 15.04.27

One of the frequently asked questions on the project is: How does it stack up financially?

The figure of £138,000 is the amount of money the trust ‘needs’ to complete development works.

So far, the trust has been given £58,800 of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales money and £50,000 of Big Lottery Wales CAT2 funding.

Other funds have been received from Carmarthenshire County Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund. Fund-raising, other donations and contributions, charity reserves and other non-cash contributions (such as gifted equipment) and volunteer time will make up the balance for the development stage of the project.

The main bill for the capital costs – the actual building refurbishment and renovation and other construction costs will come to an estimated £1.76m, with work on the project scheduled to commence in 2017.

Of that sum, £400,000 has already been secured by the trustees from the Railway Heritage Trust.

The rest of the money will come from the Stage 2 capital funding bids being submitted to Big Lottery Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund (Wales) and other funding sources, including European funding, other grant funders, other charitable trusts, commercial sponsorship arrangements, individual donors and sponsors and fund-raising.

TRUSTEES

There are eight members of the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust. Headed by MP Nia Griffith, the other members are Richard Roper, secretary, Martin Doe, treasurer, Ken Jones, heritage officer, George Parker, technical officer, Councillor Roger Price, Charles Watson and the Rev Eldon Phillips.

The eight Trustees have a wide range of relevant skills and experience.

Nia Griffith has been MP for Llanelli since 2005 and is currently the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.

Richard Roper spent his entire working career with British Rail/ Railtrack/Network Rail before his retirement in 2002.

Martin Doe is a solicitor in private practice in Cardiff. He has a wide range of experience in community projects.

George Parker is a director of the award-winning Parker Brothers Contractors and Parker Plant Hire in Llanelli.

Rev Eldon Phillips is widely known in Llanelli and beyond for his work as a vicar and for his contributions to the community and charitable life of the town.

Ken Jones is an experienced heritage enthusiast with a wide knowledge of planning issues and community-based project and organisations.

Roger Price is a former Mayor of Llanelli and a teacher.

Charles Watson has worked in construction, industry and logistics. He is a committee member with Llanelli Disabled Drivers Association.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can join the Friends of the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust for a £10 annual subscription. The membership offers invitations to regular fund-raising events and newsletters on the progress of the project. You can join by emailing the treasurer, Martin Doe, on – mdoe@etlp.co.uk

The trust will soon be in a position to start recruiting volunteers. Initial tasks are likely to include help with research and the publication of a booklet on the history of the shed and a leaflet on the projected uses for the shed. In future months, there are likely to be opportunities for painting and decorating work and light site clearance works. Donations towards the cost of the project are welcome at all stages. Please contact the treasurer by emailing Martin Doe on: mdoe@etlp.co.uk

The charity trustees are also looking to extend the membership of the trustees.

Key areas of experience will include: Finance; project management; procurement; facilities; and café/centre management.

If you think you can help as a volunteer or trustee, please send a full CV to project officer Robert Lloyd – 07777 683637 email-rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Witness appeal after car is stolen and burnt out

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a car from a property in Lando Road, Burry Port, which was later found burnt out in Pembrey Country Park.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the theft of the blue Ssangyong Rexton, which took place sometime between 5pm on Friday, 11th November, and 9am on Saturday, 12th November, and would like to speak to anyone who may have information or CCTV or dashcam footage.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: DP-20221112-109

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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