MAJOR funding is needed to improve the playgrounds in Ammanford, town councillors have said.

The council's asset management committee met last week to discuss the future of the town's play areas, including Ammanford park.

Other playgrounds discussed were Maes y Coed, Riverway park and multi-use play area, Carregamman, Norman Road and Pantyffynnon and the skate park.

In recent months the town council has come in for some criticism for "not acting quickly enough" to secure funding for the projects.

A Facebook group created in the spring of this year has seen local residents hit out at the state of playground equipment posting their concerns to the page, which has amassed more than 1,000 members.

Councillors acknowledged these public concerns at its meeting on Thursday, October 14.

Chair Geraint Jones said: "We are all very aware that there needs to be some change and investment into the parks and now is the time to do it."

He added: "Obtaining funding isn't easy and what should be remembered is that this council decided to freeze the precept for last year and therefore limited funding is available to carry out significant work."

The town council said it intends to fully investigate and source as much grant funding as possible to ensure the works required to the parks are undertaken as soon as possible.

Ammanford and Riverway playgrounds were described as "health hazards" with Maesycoed also needing significant improvement works. Pantyffynnon park could see the path extended to allow for disabled access. Councillors agreed to get quotes for this with a final decision to be made at the next full council meeting.

Councillors agreed to close Riverway play area to the public while funding was sought, with the possible addition of CCTV to deter future vandalism.

It was also agreed to set up a parks working group with members of the public invited to join.

Cllr Stefan Butler said the parks investment would benefit the whole town. "People are quick to point out the boarded up shop windows, but by putting investment into the parks it will attract people into the town and increase footfall," he said.

He added: "This is probably one of the council's biggest projects it has undertaken, historically the parks have been looked after by the county council, so things unfortunately will not happen overnight."

Following the meeting, Cordelia McAvoy, from Ammanford, who set up the Facebook group 'Improve Ammanford play park' said: "A public consultation meeting needs to take place as soon as possible and a working group set up. They have discussed this in a previous meeting but it still hasn't taken place yet. They need to move on from a discussion and take action.

"Hearing that there is funding available is encouraging and I agree with the council with the need to address the parks issues as a whole.

"Once the group is set up they will be able to access a great deal of funding options that aren’t available to just the council.

"I can see they have good intentions, but they really do need to move forward now. Eight months down the line we are still discussing the same issues."

Ammanford Town Council said: "ATC aims to work with anyone who is interested in assisting with this work in order to resolve these issues as soon as possible and deliver the improved parks and recreational facilities for the public of Ammanford to enjoy.

"Anyone wishing to assist should contact"