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A former market hall which was once home to a slaughterhouse is now a big step closer to becoming offices, shops, and a cafe.

Carmarthenshire Council’s planning committee has given permission to convert the building in Llandeilo but listed building consent will also be required from Wales’ heritage body Cadw.

The council-owned building has been vacant for nearly 20 years and is showing plenty of wear and tear.

The new-look market hall will be a mix of retail, office and business units, with a central area for events and festivals.

There will also be conference rooms, a cafe, outdoor seating areas and an adjacent car park with 33 spaces.

Councillors Mansel Charles and Joseph Davies spoke in favour of the proposals before the committee approved the application with chairman Cllr Alun Lenny saying: “Hopefully work can start and businesses and so on can be established and make that part of town a vibrant area as indeed it has the potential to be.”

The work will, however, require the removal of the striking lantern roof – and a new first floor will be created in the grade two-listed building.

The planning committee report said the change of design was, according to the council’s own conservation officer, “regrettable” but “reasonable”.

The conservation officer said the proposal “probably represents the least harmful alternative” in preserving the building’s architectural and historic character as far as possible while providing viable uses.

There were no objections to the proposal in the community and Llandeilo councillor Edward Thomas is supportive.

Last November the council’s executive board approved funding towards the £3.9m market hall project, which is expected to provide space for 17 businesses and help create 45 jobs.

The executive board had set aside £562,000 the previous year towards the scheme, and then received written confirmation of a £1.4m Welsh Government grant.

The council had planned to apply to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the remaining £2m but this did not go further because of the time it was expected to take to secure funding approval.

The authority will therefore fund the remaining £2m, mainly through the use of reserves and unspent capital budgets.

Speaking at the executive board meeting in November 2019, council leader Emlyn Dole said: “It’s timely as well as completely necessary for our rural economy.”

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