Former Victorian asylum in Carmarthen could see new lease of life

A SPRAWLING former Victorian asylum on the outskirts of Carmarthen has new owners who want to convert it into a medical park, and they say there’ll be health and well-being benefits for the wider community.

A new company called Parc Dewi Sant Ltd has acquired almost all of the 38-acre site of the same name from Carmarthen Council after it was put up for sale.

It said all existing organisations on the site will retain their tenancy rights. These include NHS services and a Swansea University-run venue where student nurses are taught.

The rear of Parc Dewi Sant, Carmarthen, which Carmarthen Council is selling (pic by Richard Youle and free for use for all BBC wire partners)

Parc Dewi Sant Ltd said it planned to develop medical provision on the site while protecting the 22 buildings, some of which are listed. There’ll also be a gym and a walking track for community use.

A spokesman for the company said: “We want to create a hub for medical, well-being and leisure facilities which is accessible for everyone in the community. By bringing top-quality healthcare providers to the area, we aim to support the health and well-being of the local population.

“We are already in discussions with a number of healthcare providers, including a private GP practice, and would welcome discussions with anyone who wants to be part of a vibrant health hub.”

He added: “Taking on so many listed buildings is a significant financial commitment. However, we are fully committed to protecting these outstanding buildings and their history, while ensuring they have a meaningful purpose for years to come.”

The spokesman said the new owners – two Cardiff-based directors, according to Companies House records – have a large portfolio of residential, commercial and office developments in Wales, including many period properties.

A land use plan of the site published on Parc Dewi Sant Ltd’s website also shows an area of open market housing, a restaurant, cafe, food outlet, convenience store with flats above, and padel court. Carmarthneshire Council said it would retain control over development.

Parc Dewi Sant began life in 1865 as the Carmarthenshire, Cardigan and Pembrokeshire County Asylum. The hilltop hospital expanded and had more than 900 beds by the early 1970s. It was put up for sale for £2.5 million last year by the county council, which said at the time that a small number of its staff would remain there in the short term. The council’s main headquarters are at County Hall, Carmarthen.

Cllr Alun Lenny, cabinet member for resources, said: “There’s been a lot of speculation and some concern locally about the future use of Parc Dewi Sant, despite the council’s conditions of disposal meaning that we’d have control over development there.

“I hope that local residents will be comforted by the announcement about its future, which will give a new lease of life to the site, without impacting on their amenity.”

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