THE new car park and amenity area on the site of the former Palais in Garnant has been officially opened by the leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Kevin Madge.

The Palais Car Park is close to Ysgol y Bedol and links cycle, walking and bridle paths at the top end of Garnant Park, at the confluence of the Amman and Cwm Garnant rivers.

The scheme, which has benefited from 80 per cent funding from the Welsh Government’s Western Valleys Regeneration Area programme, has provided a landscaped setting and provision for cars to park together with a separate hard standing area for unloading horses from horse boxes.

The car park has already been proving to be a popular hub for walkers, cyclists and horse riders who are able to conveniently access walks, cycle tracks and bridle ways.

The Palais opened on December 31, 1923, to be used as a cinema and dance hall which held regular dance competitions. It changed owners and became the British Legion Hall in 1934. It was named Haig Hall after Field Marshall Douglas Haig and was used as a memorial hall for war heroes of Cwmaman.

The old building suffered from lack of investment over the years, fell into a very poor state of repair and the corrugated iron-clad building was eventually demolished.

Cllr Madge spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony before a procession to the nearby War Memorial where the Vicar of Cwmaman, the Rev Alan Maunder, spoke and prayed for those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars .

Ysgol y Bedol pupils enacted a thoughtful and skilfully-performed interpretation of the relevance of the poppy when remembering the First and Second World Wars through the mediums of speaking, singing and dancing accompanied by an accomplished musical solo on the clarinet.

“The completion of the Palais site was the culmination of a series of projects taking place over 18 years that now links Pantyffynnon in the south through Ammanford and on to Garnant and Brynaman in the north with a walking and cycle track, accessible at several locations over its length," said Cllr Madge.

“The link provides a traffic-free environment for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the picturesque river scenery of the Amman Valley.”