PARC HOWARD will not be getting a car park slap bang in the middle or thereabouts as planned by Carmarthenshire County Council following the withdrawal of the planning application.
Letters were sent out to those who had requested that the application be called in, many of whom had signed a petition against the council’s plans.
One of the towns most famous cartoonists Roger Lewis summed up the feeling in the town with this cartoon.
This was the first drawing sent to us by Roger Lewis when we launched. It is a masterpiece and magical take on the ‘goings on’ at Parc Howard as published in our news article ‘Llanelli being ‘misled’ over Parc Howard. Image © Roger Lewis.
Letters sent to objectors read as follows
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 – SECTION 77 CALL-IN REQUEST.
TO CHANGE THE USE OF A FORMER SPORTS COURT TO PROVIDE A CAR PARK FACILITY FOR USE BY VISITORS TO THE PARK, INCORPORATING IMPROVEMENTS TO THE ACCESS ROAD LINKING TO OLD ROAD AT LAND AT PARK HOWARD MANSION, PARC HOWARD, LLANELLI, SA15 3LJ.
APPLICATION NO: S/35541.
Further to your call-in request in respect of planning application referred to above. We have been advised the application has been withdrawn. As no application is currently before the Council for consideration, no further action will be taken on your call-in request. I enclose a copy of the notice withdrawing the application for your information.
Many residents were concerned about the loss of space in the park and the impact pollution from more cars would have on an areas synonymous with peace and tranquility. Campaigners staged protests at the park, which had seen a steady stream of debacles involving what some considered ‘madcap’ ideas by the council.
One involved the erection of a giant ‘spacenet’, which overlooked the bedrooms of neighbouring properties. That, it was discovered had not been thought out properly and was subsequently binned amid fears it was sited above a mineshaft.
The cost of creating a car park for a potential commercial venture, which the council had in mind for the mansion house also came under fire from the local community. Many asked why the council were paving the way for a commercial venture using tax payer’s money.
This decision will please the campaigners for green spaces at a time when the council have published a list of green field candidate sites for potential housing development across the county.
Lee Waters AM told Llanelli Online: “I’m pleased there’s been a re-think. Encouraging more car journeys in a part of town where levels of air quality are already breaching European limits makes no sense. Nor does urbanising an area of green tranquility in the heart of our town.
“I want us to make more of Parc Howard but that doesn’t mean turning a tennis court into a car park.”
On hearing the news of the withdrawal, Nia Griffith MP told Llanelli Online: “I am relieved to hear that the County Council has shelved controversial plans for a two-storey car-park on the tennis courts in Parc Howard.
“I very much hope that this will herald a more positive dialogue between the Council’s leadership and residents and users of Parc Howard, and a greater open-ness and sharing of any plans before decisions are made.”
A former member of the Parc Howard Committee who did not wish to be identified by name said: “After all those arguments and time and money spent. There were so any people against it. They should be putting in water features and places for people to enjoy themselves. I give up on them. If they want to commercialise Parc Howard they need to place facilities there first.
“The leader personally ordered equipment in costing over £100,000 without planning permission or consultation. There was also the Loca Ventures episode when the council had clandestine meetings with members of that company. They then turned up at the Town Council offices and tried to compromise the clerk.”
The shady history of the park was not written during the time of the Stepney and Howard families. Some may remember the dark episode in more recent times when revelations of secret meetings, plans for radical muslim ownership of the park and claims that football clubs and former footballers were interested in having a stake in the park.
It was reported in one Llanelli newspaper that the footballer Robbie Savage would not go ahead with the Four Winds Hotel development at Ffoslas unless the 250 year lease on Parc Howard mansion was secured. That report was pulled from the Llanelli Star website and is no longer accessible.
Parc Howard remains a bastion of peace and tranquility, which became removed from the ownership of the people of Llanelli and now sits in the ownership of the county council.
In the words of Mr Walter Scott long deceased. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808).