Wellness Village reviews conclude council acted properly

84 days ago

Both the Wales Audit Office and an independent legal review have concluded that Carmarthenshire County Council has acted properly and robustly in its planning and governance of the Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village scheme.

Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, has welcomed the findings saying he is pleased the independent reviews show that the project is progressing properly and positively.

The authority invited the Wales Audit Office to review the scheme to seek assurance that it had acted with sound governance, proper risk management, and had fully protected public assets.

The audit has concluded that the council has followed appropriate processes and has effectively protected public money.

Separately, the council’s Executive Board ordered an independent legal review of the £200million scheme.

That review concluded that the council has followed due legal process, showed good governance, has properly managed risk, and has taken prudent steps to ensure the project is legally and financially safe.

The £200million Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village project is one of 11 projects that make up the £1.3billion Swansea Bay City Deal.

Planned for Delta Lakes on the Llanelli coast, it is set to create close to 2,000 jobs and boost the local economy by £467million.

Plans have been approved by the council’s Planning Committee, and the Executive Board has allocated £16.4million for the leisure centre element of the project in its 2019-20 Capital Programme.

Cllr Dole said this should be seen as a clear commitment to the project, and called for more support to ensure the scheme progresses without further delay to secure jobs and opportunities for the Llanelli area.

“I am delighted that both the Wales Audit Office and the independent review have shown clearly that the council has acted properly at all times in planning for the Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village,” he said.

“Both reviews are clear that there has been no misuse of - or risk posed to - public funds and that the project has been properly managed in line with external legal advice.

“As an Executive Board, we were keen for independent reassurance following months of needless speculation about the project. Now that these reviews have concluded, we look forward to delivering on our vision of jobs, prosperity and wellbeing for the people of Llanelli and Carmarthenshire as a whole.”

The Wales Audit Office and the legal reviewers were given full access to all records relating to the project and carried out a detailed appraisal of the council’s actions.

A full report will be considered by the Executive Board on March 4.

A copy of the independent legal review report and confirmation of the Wales Audit Office findings have been included in the public papers for the meeting.