Darkin Architects Featured In South Wales Evening Post

Llanelli Architect And Businessman Says, "Town Centre Is Improving"

By: Chad Welch

Posted: October 24, 2014


A LLANELLI architect and businessman claims the “town centre is improving”, despite a retail survey listing it as the second worst town centre in the UK.

David Darkin, 31, owner of Darkin Architects believes Llanelli’s town centre is getting better thanks to inward investment.

On the very same day that specialist retail property experts Harper Dennis Hobbs released its list of 500 town centres, with Llanelli pipping only Dudley to last place, the town’s Assembly Member Keith Davies unveiled his plan for its future.

In the National Assembly, Mr Davies said he aimed to “inject vibrancy” into the town.

But, Mr Darkin, a fellow Labour supporter, believes Llanelli is already heading in the right direction.

“Everyone’s seen the Eastgate Development, Llanelly House and the library, but there’s a lot more going on to help independent retailers,” he said.

“Many grants have been given out by the council to help local businesses.”

A member of Llanelli Chamber of Trade, Mr Darkin claims that over the last few years Carmarthenshire Council has awarded more than £100,000 in grants to businesses from the European Regional Development Fund.

This cash boost, he said, has helped to refurbish the fronts of many shops in Llanelli including Amy’s FashionsUtopia Hair Salon, Pebbles and Timeless Tattoo — projects Mr Darkin’s business has designed — and he hopes more will follow in the future.

“That recent report, damning Llanelli as the second worst shopping centre in the UK was misleading,” Mr Darkin claims.

“If you read their methodology, you can see that it only focuses on the ‘retail offering’.

“That means that the service sector and our new cultural and leisure facilities such as the theatre, library, cinema and restaurants aren’t factored.”

He added that the survey had also ranked the spend potential of the centres, with Llanelli ranked 196th with a value of over £235m.

“In an increasingly digital world, I think that Llanelli is heading in the right direction,” Mr Darkin said.

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