PLANS to demolish a water testing laboratory to make way for houses looks a step closer.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said it expected to sign a legal agreement with Carmarthenshire Council this week or next regarding its empty laboratory on the outskirts of Llanelli.
This would tick a planning box and make the sale of the facility to a developer more likely.
NRW’s current outline application is for six detached houses, two semi-detached houses and two affordable homes — each with two parking spaces — plus landscaping, drainage measures and the creation of a turning head within the Pen-y-Fai Lane site.
In addition, the existing access at the northern end of the two-acre site would be closed, while access to the laboratory’s adjoining property would be maintained.
A design statement submitted on behalf of NRW said: “Overall, it is considered that the proposed development is sensitive to the area’s character and is well integrated within the existing form and layout of residential development in the area.”
The laboratory was home to NRW’s analytical services. It moved from Llanelli to a new £2 million facility at Swansea University’s Singleton Campus just over a year ago.
An NRW spokesman said: “Since relocating to Swansea, NRW’s analytical services has continued to provide and grow this service, gaining new commercial customers in both private and public sectors, whilst also improving links with academia.”
The team comprises microbiologists who test water samples from more than 100 beaches across Wales, including Aberavon, Langland, Port Eynon and Pembrey, from May to September.
Staff also carry out all sorts of soil, pesticide and metal analysis and can respond 24/7 to pollution incidents.
The NRW spokesman added: “We are yet to sell the old laboratory site in Llanelli, but still intend to do so, subject to securing the required planning permission, to get best value for the taxpayer.”