With most of us working from home, and not venturing out much, you’d probably be surprised to see just how much Llanelli is changing.
Historic buildings which were once home to legendary nightclubs have been torn down, while major facelifts are planned for prominent eyesores.
A number of new developments are in the pipeline for both the town centre and the areas surrounding it.
Here are some of the projects that are set to transform Llanelli.
For decades the YMCA building, which has dominated part of Stepney Street, has remained derelict.
The formerly grand building was once contained a parlour, gymnasium, billiard room and swimming baths after opening in 1909 as Llanelli’s first Young Men’s Christian Association.
In the years that followed it went on to become home to a number of businesses, including a confectionery store and tanning studios to name a few.
But it is now set to be brought back to life with plans unveiled for it to be reconstructed into commercial units, office spaces and residential units.
The plans, commissioned by Carmarthenshire Council, aim to retain a lot of original features of the historic building – including the front facade and the existing staircase.
Once completed, the building would house four commercial units and residential parking on the ground floor, office use on the first and residential units on the top floors.
Last year, plans to replace the prominent building which was once home to the Altalia restaurant and the Barbican pub were revealed.
The 19th century building, which stood on the corner of Market Street and Stepney Street since the 1800s, will be replaced with commercial units and apartments as part of an investment to regenerate the town centre.
Plans to demolish the property were met with anger and controversy by local residents, with a petition being launched to try and save it.
Carmarthenshire Council said that the historic building could not be redeveloped due to its poor structural condition. However, the new design is hoped to give a nod to its character by replicating its splayed corner.
The Market Street North scheme is one of a number of developments aiming to improve the appearance of the main shopping district in a bid to attract more commercial interest and footfall.
As well as the former Altalia building, the demolition of 8-16 Market Street is set to make way for a new proposed development which include a mixed use arcade development, including residential, retail, office and bar/restaurant units.
The proposal includes plans to demolish the former nightclub The Moonraker.
One of the biggest and most expensive developments to have ever been proposed for the region includes a state-of-the-art care home and assisted living and rehabilitation centre, outdoor leisure space, a wellness hotel, and the new leisure centre as well as new housing.
Clinical services will be delivered at the new life science and wellness village in Delta Lakes, including physical rehabilitation, and space provided for life science and health businesses.
Research, training and skills development will also take place at the 83-acre site.
Work was supposed to get under way last summer but, much like other projects across the country, it was delayed due to the pandemic.
140-bed hotel in Machynys
Earlier this year plans were submitted by Carmarthenshire Council for a brand new 140-bed hotel.
If approved, the hotel would be created on land next to Nicklaus Avenue, in Machynys, on part of the site formerly occupied by the Machynys brickworks.
The proposed development would offer a range of relaxation opportunities to promote wellness, while also boosting visitor numbers to the area.
It would also benefit from stunning views across the Burry Inlet, as well as the Machynys golf course.
The county council explained that the development would support the local tourism economy and contribute “positively to the economic and cultural growth of Llanelli and the wider region”.
Swiss Valley Reservoir
The popular beauty spot is getting a big revamp this year with new paths and plans for water sports.
The reservoir was awarded funding from the Welsh Government last year to create more ‘blue spaces’ – places where people can enjoy natural water.
The £121,000 ‘Access to Water’ grant will enable visitor access to the Lower Lliedi Reservoir for paddle sports and angling.
Work has already got underway to improve access paths and facilities, including the car park and toilets.
The funding will see plans to bring back a range of paddle sports to the reservoir including stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, windsurfing, and kayaking as well as bank fishing.
And a pontoon and ramp for paddle sports to access the water are also planned and work is due to be completed in the coming months.
It was announced last year that the former Raffles nightclub would be transformed into brand new apartments.
The nightclub closed its doors back in the 1980s, with the building becoming an eyesore in the town centre in recent years.
A “contemporary” building will be constructed using “modern building methods which will respect the established building line of Murray Street”.
A pre-application report said: “The vision for the site is to create an attractive place to live in a prominent location within the town centre on the site of a historically popular bar and club.”
Restoration work has been taking place inside the town’s historic cinema in recent years with the aim of bringing it back to its former glory.
The 1938 art-deco building was a staple of the town and the era, providing residents with theatre productions and cinema screenings until 2011.
It was initially hoped that members of the public would be able to head inside at the end of last year but coronavirus restrictions meant that wasn’t possible.
One of the cinema’s screens and the bar and café are ready to open but the pandemic has meant that the project’s completion has been pushed back.
The former brewery was once the largest in Wales, however, for the last two decades it has become an eyesore in the town centre.
The 18 flats, three maisonettes and six townhouses which were available for social rent were all due to be finished and have people living in them by the end of 2020.
Work to develop the surrounding area and create a vibrant river bank space next to the Afon Lliedi also came as part of the plans to transform the property.
The £3.7 million development has been planned with the view to restore the character of the buildings through careful renovation work and to sympathetically renovate the fabric of the listed building whilst converting it into homes.
Maes y Gors estate
Commonly known as the Four Tys, the estate was built on one of the town’s most well-known roads during the 1960s.
The Maes y Gors estate, in Station Road, was once a thriving community but the flats are set to be razed to the ground.
The complex, which is made up of 44 flats with only two of them recently occupied, will be replaced with more modern housing.
Multi-million pound regeneration proposals for Tyisha include 110 new housing units – some owner-occupied – new shops and offices, improvements to the nearby Llanelli railway station, and more attractive links to the town centre and the life science and wellness village which will be built at Delta Lakes to the west.
Railway Goods Shed
Restoration on the 145-year-old railway goods shed is finally underway after a decade of planning and fundraising.
The site is a derelict Grade II listed building, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and once played a crucial role in the development of Llanelli as a major industrial centre.
The heritage trust is working to transform the shed into a hub for cultural, heritage, community and enterprise activities.
The first phase is an £850,000 revamp of the office building by Ammanford-based TRJ Ltd to create office and meeting space for organisations, business start-ups and community groups.