THE Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council Emlyn Dole is insisting that he wants to work with anyone who has an interest in securing the long term future of Parc Howard despite the guardians of the park’s claims that he has not consulted them and is not listening to the wishes of the organisations, the Town Council or the residents living near the park and users of the park.
Following our article 28/09 (Leader’s trajectory deviates from Parc Howard’s guardians target) we asked the leader why he was insisting that he has consulted with the organisations associated with Parc Howard and had received their support for the plans including the car park when they all maintain he has not consulted them and that they want the plans withdrawn?
We have now received the following response from the leader. Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “I have always been clear about my commitment to Parc Howard and have reiterated this on many occasions, along with my intentions to be transparent about aspirations for the park and mansion.
“I have had countless conversations with many interested parties over a period of nearly two years since I became Leader of the council. Everything I have said has been at an informal level, from me to them, to help keep them informed of potential developments and get their views before we proceed as a council to submit detailed plans. It is when plans and applications become formalised, such as the planning application for the car park, that everyone – not just those interested parties – have a chance to share their views formally.
“I will continue to work with anyone who has an interest in Parc Howard to secure the best possible outcome for its long-term sustainability.”
Speaking to Llanelli Online about her concerns surrounding a lack of clear written proposals and plans for the future of the park and the commercial aspect of development Nia Griffith MP said: “The difficulty here is that we are very concerned when people’s views are perhaps taken for granted or assumed and that is the issue here when your organisation is named and we are talking about Llanelli Town Council and there are no minutes that record a particular view then clearly people are very upset. What needs to happen now is, it is not enough to say I am sharing this or that informally, let’s see, let’s have some writing, let’s have some written understanding, let’s have some plans presented in good time. It is all very well saying you can look at it when it gets to the planning stage. A lot of money would have been spent by that stage. Perhaps the rationale behind it has not been understood.
“There is genuine debate to be had about appropriate parking for disabled to access events in the park. What we have is a particular proposal for a two storey car park at considerable expense to the public purse but we don’t actually understand the full rationale behind that. We understand that this is almost speculative that it maybe in the future that some commercial use would require that but really we need the debate first.
“Until we secure an understanding of the use of the park, which or most people around the park they would welcome a cafe at the side of the park and sensitive commercialisation but what they don’t understand is all this talk about a much bigger type of commercial project. That seems to be putting the cart before the horse in having a particular type of two storey car park before anything has been decided.
“It would be nice if the County Council produced a draft paper about what they think about that rather than having the they said this and he said that arguments and counter accusations that are going on. Lets have a paper looking into the sensible options that the public can discuss. For the wider public they would agree there is a cost and it is a cost worth paying.
“If the council is genuinely proposing commercial activity lets have the consultation sooner rather than having possibly as a result of some talks with some particular individuals. If there is a will to make some sort of commercial exercise there are proper processes for then putting that out for tender. People resent that possibly behind closed doors deals are being done with X or Y and there hasn’t been a discussion as to A) if what they are proposing is the type of thing we want and B) If we do want that kind of thing letting every valid tenderer put their tender in if they wish to.”