A former open cast mine near Timsaran, Llanelli, is to be redeveloped as an “equestrian centre of excellence” after plans for the £16million Ffos Las Racecourse received the go-ahead from Carmarthenshire County Council earlier this week.
Once completed the centre will have facilities to hold flat and National Hunt racing as well as trotting, show jumping and eventing competitions. The British Horseracing Board has already granted the course 10 races per year for its all weather track, with the first scheduled to take place in August 2005.
A time schedule of less than two years to complete the extensive work required, including the redistribution of a million tonnes of rock and shale and 250,000 tonnes of soil, will be tight but Huw Richards of project partners, Walters Group, believes it is feasible.
“We know it is a massive challenge but it is well within our expertise and capacity,” he says. “A great deal of thought and preparatory work has gone into Ffos Las already and we have the team to realise this dream.”
The county council has put its backing behind the project to redevelop the 608-acre site, which was originally earmarked for redevelopment as wooded and agricultural land.
“This is a new and exciting development, not only for Carmarthenshire, but for the whole of Wales and the racing world,” says Meryl Gravell, leader of the Carmarthenshire County Council. “We are totally supportive of the initiative which is re-generation in the best possible way.”