CONSULTANTS will help 10 rural Carmarthenshire towns develop plans to create jobs and develop services - with Cwmaman, Llandeilo and Llandovery among the first towns set to benefit.

The news follows a wide-ranging county council report which aimed to protect and revitalise the rural economy, provide more housing, nurture the Welsh language and attract young people back to the area.

Carmarthenshire Council said individual growth plans would be written over the next 12 months by teams based in the towns, with support from external consultants and the authority.

The growth plans will focus on supporting existing businesses, maximising job creation, developing the distinctiveness of the area, new ways of delivering services, and sustainable energy production, among others.

Cwmaman town council clerk, David Davies welcomed the news. He said: "It's exciting news for the future of Cwmaman. An action committee will be set up and we are keen to get the public involved. Moving forward there will be two places available for the public to sit on the committee as a voice for the community."

Anyone interested is asked to contact David or Rob Venus, Community Development officer, on 01269 823299.

Cross Hands is also included on the list, but will be addressed afterwards, the council says.

The 10 towns initiative will be part-funded through a Wales-wide rural development plan.

Llanelli-based consultants, The Means, and Owen Davies Consulting, of Abergavenny, have been appointed to help develop the growth plans.

Around 60 per cent of Carmarthenshire’s population lives in rural areas, which have been hit hard by the closure of banks, shops and post offices.