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WETLANDS on the outskirts of Carmarthen will be opened up to the public to create an attraction for walkers and school children.

Raised paths, benches, sculptures and signs will be installed on the Johnstown wetlands between the A40 and Monument Hill as part of the £128,000 Y Morfa project.

The county council has tendered a contract for the work, which will be part-funded by the European Union – and executive board members have agreed to transfer the 33-acres of land in question to Carmarthen Town Council on completion of the project.

The land includes a field currently used for grazing, and allotments managed by the town council.

The allotments in Johnstown, which are part of the land transfer

The transfer will be done on the basis of a 99-year lease with peppercorn rent, and a restriction will be included to ensure the land is used for recreation purposes only.

Executive board members were told that the county council would have to pay £6,400 annually to manage, maintain and insure the land if it wasn’t transferred after the project was done.

Councillor David Jenkins, executive board member for resources, said: “On a financial basis it makes sense, and on ecological, environmental and other factors it’s a no-brainer really, so I propose that we do transfer this land to Carmarthen Town Council.”

The recommendation was approved, and the hope is that the land transfer will encourage extra support locally for the Y Morfa project.

Carmarthen Town South councillor Gareth John, who is also a town councillor, said he was fully supportive of the project, and added that fencing would be installed alongside public footpaths in the allotments.

Rubbish on one of the current footpaths near the grazing land

But he said future management, maintenance and insurance costs for the town council would need to be clarified.

“The town council has to be made fully aware of the nature of the liability it would take on,” said Cllr John.

There is currently a raised footpath running along the top of the wetlands area which he said acted as a flood defence.

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