The approval means the Pentre Awel project can now start drawing down funds from the Swansea Bay City Deal investment portfolio to support with its delivery.

A main contractor will soon be sought to start work on zone one of the project this autumn on an 83-acre site in South Llanelli.

Features of Pentre Awel being funded by a £40 million City Deal contribution in coming years include:

Pentre Awel is being led by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board, Universities and Colleges.

The City Deal funded elements of Pentre Awel are projected to create 1,289 jobs. Once the whole site is operational, this will increase to 1,800 jobs.  

In the next 15 years, Pentre Awel will be worth £467 million to the local economy.

Memorandums of Understanding have been signed with Coleg Sir Gar, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University and Cardiff University for the delivery of courses on site, with detailed heads of terms discussions on-going.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire County Council Leader, said: “This is a landmark day for the Pentre Awel project, which is testament to a huge amount of planning work that’s taken place for several years.

“The largest facility of its scope and size in Wales, Pentre Awel will include the delivery of business, research, health, education, leisure and aquatics activities all on one landscaped site in South Llanelli. This will generate a wide range of employment and training opportunities for local people while considerably boosting the local economy and helping research businesses develop innovative healthcare technology.

“Local people have always been at the heart of the Pentre Awel plans, which is why extensive consultation has taken place with our community partners to ensure the project accommodates the work, health and care needs identified and prioritised by local residents.

“We’re excited that we’ll soon be in a position to start delivering this major development, which will help attract even more investment to Llanelli, Carmarthenshire and the City Region in coming years to further accelerate our economic recovery from Covid-19.”

Wales Office Minister David TC Davies said: “As we build back better and stronger from the pandemic, projects like Pentre Awel show how we can bring growth and innovation to our communities.

“This development promises to bring hundreds of jobs, cutting-edge facilities and significant investment to the local economy. Delivering transformational projects across Wales is a top priority for the UK Government and is why we have backed growth deals covering every part of the country. I look forward to the continued progress of the Swansea Bay City Deal as it helps unleash the potential of the region.”

Welsh Government Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Pentre Awel is a game-changing development in Carmarthenshire. The project has huge potential to create important employment opportunities and provide first class facilities for people in the area to benefit from.

 “This is a hugely exciting and ambitious project, and I am pleased Welsh Government funding will see it now move forward into the delivery phase.”

Zone one of the project – anticipated for completion by the autumn of 2023 – will also include a state-of-the-art leisure and aquatics centre run by Carmarthenshire County Council, as well as extensive landscaping works to create car parks, public spaces and walkways.

The wider Pentre Awel project will also feature assisted living accommodation and a nursing home. Integrated care and physical rehabilitation facilities will enable the testing and piloting of life science technologies aimed at enhancing independence and assisted living

A hotel, expansion space for businesses, and elements of both open market and social and affordable housing will also feature. Landscaped outdoor spaces for recreation on site will benefit from spectacular views across the Loughor Estuary and Carmarthen Bay.

Pentre Awel is one of nine programmes and projects forming part of the Swansea Bay City Deal investment portfolio, which will combine to boost the regional economy by at least £1.8 billion and create over 9,000 jobs.

Funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector, the Swansea Bay City Deal is being led by Carmarthenshire County Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Swansea Council, in partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board.