Contractor to be sought for £199m life science and wellness village in Llanelli

Work to identify a main contractor for a new life science and wellness village in Carmarthenshire is expected to get underway in January.

WalesOnline reports the rebranded project, called Pentre Awel, will feature a range of buildings and facilities at Delta Lakes, Llanelli.

Clinical services will be delivered there, including physical rehabilitation, and space provided for life science and health businesses.

Research, training and skills development will also take place at the eighty three acre site.

Pentre Awel will feature a new leisure centre, assisted living accommodation, a nursing home, plus open market and social housing.

The £199m scheme, meaning “healthy breeze”, is one of nine projects that form part of the Swansea Bay City Deal.

Dr Sharon Burford, who is leading on the Pentre Awel project, updated senior council, health and education representatives at a city region meeting on November 12th.

She said an expected £40m city deal contribution from the UK and Welsh Governments was “critical” for Pentre Awel.

She said the key aims of the project were improving the overall health of the population, trying to get patients home from hospital quickly and prevent them being admitted in the first place, and addressing the challenges of recruiting and retaining health and care staff.

She said “We are in the process of pulling together our procurement documents.

“We should go out to identify a main contractor in the first couple of weeks of January.”

A big chunk of the money for the project, £108m out of £199m, is expected to come from the private sector, with Carmarthenshire Council and other local public sector partners contributing the remaining £51m.

Sharon Burford said memoranda of understanding had been signed with further and higher education partners. These are Cardiff University, Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Coleg Sir Gar.

Carmarthenshire Council leader Emlyn Dole described Pentre Awel as “hugely significant”.

Addressing fellow members of the Swansea Bay City Region joint committee on November 12th, he said “I have lived and breathed this one for so long.

“The scope, ambition and reach of this enterprise has been huge.”

He said there had been careful consideration about the rebranded name.

He said “It speaks to the holistic nature of the project and what it offers.”

The project previously had the working title of Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village.

It ran into difficulties in 2018 when the council terminated a collaboration agreement with a private sector partner, following the suspension of Swansea University academics said to have links with the project.

Outline planning permission for the scheme has been granted, and some preparatory work has taken place on site. It is hoped that one thousand eight hundred jobs will be created over a fifteen year timeframe.

No one at the joint committee meeting asked questions when Sharon Burford’s presentation concluded, but they approved the project’s business case, which will go to the Welsh and UK Governments for sign off.

In a separate statement, Emlyn Dole said the council was “totally committed” to Pentre Awel.

He said “The importance and relevance of this project has been further reinforced through the Covid-19 emergency.

“It will help address skills shortages in health and care, while also capitalising on digital advances in delivering healthcare at home or in the community.”

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