THE 25-year battle to demolish “the biggest eyesore in the Amman Valley” was finally won this week as Garnant’s Arcade Terrace was levelled into dust.

The arrival of the demolition team was enthusiastically welcomed by residents, local business people and civic leaders who had watched in horror as developer after developer bought – and then abandoned – the four derelict terraced houses, which had become a haven for vermin amid the ravages of time.

Carmarthenshire county council deputy leader Kevin Madge, who has waged a oneman decades-long campaign to address the problem, was on hand, along with council leader Meryl Gravell, as brick by brick the buildings came down.

“It has certainly been a marathon, rather than a sprint,” said a delighted Cllr Madge.

“It has taken us a long, long time, but we have got there in the end.

“We are looking forward to replacing this eyesore with something for the whole community.

“The council’s regeneration department is already drawing up plans for the area that has been cleared.”

Garnant residents, although glad to see the terrace torn down, share mixed feelings over the end of an era.

“It needed pulling down,” said Pat Davies, of the Bargain Shop, directly opposite the terrace.

“It was a total eyesore, but it was a shame that it was ever allowed to reach that state.

“In some ways, it’s rather sad – it was part of Garnant’s history.

“What we really need is a car park.”

Terence Walker, of Brooklands Garage, was of the same mind.

“It is fantastic that the council have finally pulled it down,” he said, “but what will they put there instead?

“There’s a real opportunity here to alleviate the terrible parking situation.

“The last thing we want is more parks, benches and pretty bits and pieces. What we need is parking spaces.”