The Llandovery Alternative: planning a different future
Studying the plans: a steady stream of Llandovery residents came to read the Alternative Plan for the town, before and after the annual meeting of LATRA, the Llandovery Area Tenants and Residents Association, in Rhys Pritchard Hall on Saturday March 9th. The proposals for A Larger Llandovery — where should 148 new homes be built? have been prepared jointly by LATRA and by Calon Cymru Network, a community interest company intent upon reviving the villages and small towns along the Heart of Wales railway line.
The essence of the proposal is in an earlier post. The task now is to achieve a change in Carmarthenshire’s draft Local Development Plan before June, to replace a planned block of standard high-density suburban housing with highly energy-efficient housing, including many with workshops and/or offices for home-based employment. The plans include allotments, orchards and green spaces for wildlife, on three or four suitable sites, all within an easy walk of the town centre.
Llandovery faces a dilemma. Services are disappearing because the population is too small to support them. More people, to arrest the erosion of services, means a need for jobs, which are lacking. So, we think, we want homes that will appeal to those wanting to start or expand small businesses — jobs and homes in tandem, and Llandovery becoming well-known as a centre for sustainable lifestyles. Thank heavens we still have the railway!
There are many hurdles ahead. Will landowners and planning committee members share the aims? Will today’s residents agree with the vision? Will it be possible to raise sufficient funds? One step at a time…..
Totnes is further along this alternative path, and so is Stroud, but the ancient town of Llandovery, granted its charter by Richard III in 1485, with its cobbled market square, fountain and fine Georgian buildings, could soon be joining them. I really hope so.
by Pat Dodd Racher (Calon Cymru member)