Llandeilo Provisions Market: Renovation Dream, Parking Nightmare
Where are Llandeilo’s 349 daytime and 508 evening car park spaces? We don’t know.
Carmarthenshire County Council has used these figures to justify planning approval for a major commercial redevelopment of the listed Provisions Market building at the top of Carmarthen Street at the junction with New Road. See also the Carmarthenshire Herald, October 21.
Only 36 spaces would be provided on site, but the apparent availability of hundreds of spaces elsewhere in the town led the planning committee to decide last week (October 13) that the shortage of spaces at the historic building would not be a problem – even though the 16 or so existing informal parking spaces on the New Road and Carmarthen Street sides of the county-council owned building would disappear to allow for tables and chairs.
Llandeilo town has three public car parks. Crescent Road, by far the largest, has 165 spaces. There are 25 at Llandeilo Station and 15 in the Carmarthen Road car park next to the Fire Station, according to figures obtained by Llandeilo’s hard-working county councillor Edward Thomas. That’s a total of 205, or 144 less than the daytime figure given to the planning committee. And scarcely anyone would walk from the station to the Provisions Market, a distance of nearly half a mile via steps and Alan Road. A less steep route via Station Road is three-quarters of a mile.
Cllr Thomas is “very concerned” about the loss of unofficial parking spaces outside the Provisions Market. “I am actively campaigning for more parking spaces in Llandeilo, because there is definitely a need for it,” he said. Flat land suitable for parking is at a premium, though, and so it may become necessary to find land outside the town and run a shuttle bus service.
Residents only parking
Daytime on-street parking in Llandeilo is residents only in New Road, as well as in Crescent Road, Church Street, Abbey Terrace, Bank Terrace and Quay Street. Between 6pm and 8am these residents’ spaces are, in theory, available to anyone including, of course, the residents. In addition, at designated spaces at the top of New Road and opposite the civic offices in Crescent Road, drivers can park for up to two hours if a residents’ bay is vacant. Within a couple of hundred metres of the Provisions Market, there are 23 one-hour parking bays in King Street and five 30-minute bays in George Street, but these are intended for quick shopping stops.
Carmarthen Street is narrow and displays double yellow lines on both sides. Rhosmaen Street, part of the A483 Swansea to Manchester trunk road, is definitely No Parking.
Plans for the Provisions Market include two of the 36 parking spaces to be reserved for the disabled. The parking area would absorb the Carmarthen Street recycling site, which would be moved elsewhere. At present there are about 12 spaces behind the building in addition to the 16 at the front and side, and they are normally full – so the new plan adds only eight spaces.
Additional 175 spaces required
If guidelines for new commercial development were followed, there would be 175 spaces at the refurbished Provisions Market, including 12 for the disabled. Most disabled drivers need to be close to their destination – but within 50 yards or so of the Provisions Market the options, if the two reserved spaces were occupied, would be the 10 spaces outside Pili Pala Nursery opposite, or temporary use of a residents’ parking bay, in both cases limited to two hours.
The council’s highways and transport department appears to have had a change of heart since 2012, when lack of parking was a reason for the Head of Transport’s recommendation to refuse the application, by the housing association Gwalia, to construct four houses and nine flats on the site, and to renovate the Provisions Market building as a shell for future commercial use. Gwalia had proposed 16 parking spaces for the dwellings and five for the market building (two of which have since been taken by a bus stop).
The 2012 proposals would have resulted, at least initially, in few people on the site, probably between 20 and 25 residents, but the latest plans, by Dawnus Construction Holdings Ltd, are for an events venue with retailing, catering, and business uses which could employ 80 people full-time and 23 part-time. There would be some parking for customers if all employees walked to work, or came by bus – but that is improbable.
There is little spare parking space in Llandeilo now in the daytime – so 103 additional employees, and an unknown number of customers, are likely to park on the streets, and the main candidate near the Provisions Market is Carmarthen Road beyond the Police Station and down to Llandeilo Rugby Club, where there are no yellow lines, plus smart residential roads off Carmarthen Road like Diana Road, Lôn Rhys and Parc Pencrug.
The Herald is awaiting replies from Carmarthenshire County Council to questions about the number of car park spaces in Llandeilo, and the source of the figures given to the planning committee.
More cars with internal combustion engines coming into Llandeilo would worsen the already severe air pollution problem. On the other hand, frequent public transport between isolated rural homes and the town centre would not be affordable. Electric cars must be part of the answer — but they still need somewhere to park (and recharge).