Planners approve £200m Llanelli wellness village

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Media captionA video by Carmarthenshire council shows how the village might look

A proposed well-being village which could create up to 2,000 jobs has been backed by planners - but the final decision could rest with ministers.

The £200m Wellness and Life Science Village planned for Delta Lakes on the Llanelli coast would see leisure, health and research facilities created.

The project was given unanimous approval by Carmarthenshire council's planning committee on Thursday.

But requests have been made for the Welsh Government to call in the plans.

This means the local authority is unable to offer final approval until the Welsh Government determines whether it will intervene.

The Wellness Village - a flagship project of the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal - also faces a number of investigations and reviews by partner bodies, including the UK and Welsh governments.

Image copyright Carmarthenshire council
Image caption An artist's impression of the village at Delta Lakes

Concerns have been raised after two senior academics at Swansea University were suspended, along with two other members of staff in November.

They include the dean of the business school, Prof Marc Clement, who was involved in writing the submission for the city deal funding, which includes the wellness village.

Carmarthenshire council subsequently cut ties with a company called Sterling Health - its private partner on the Wellness Village project.

The planning committee indicated on Thursday it was "minded to approve" the application, one of the biggest developments in Carmarthenshire in recent years.

The village would have a community health hub, a life science business centre, a wellness hub, an assisted living centre, leisure centre, hotel and an outdoor recreation area.

It is estimated that it could boost the local economy by £467m.

Image copyright Carmarthenshire council
Image caption Initial ground works started at the site in 2017

Councillor Alun Lenny, planning committee chairman, said: "Llanelli has been in gradual decline since so many of its traditional industries closed, leaving a legacy of poverty and poor health, which the wellness development seeks to remedy.

"It is a truly groundbreaking concept, bringing together health, housing, leisure and medical research on the same site."

The Swansea city deal aims to create more than 9,000 jobs over 15 years in the field of technology and science.

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