South West Wales

'Challenge' as National Botanic Garden overspends £300k

The Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales Image copyright PA
Image caption The Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

The National Botanic Garden of Wales faces "challenging times" after overspending by £300,000 last year, its interim director has said.

Gary Davies said the attraction, in Llanarthney, Carmarthenshire, needs to do more to attract visitors.

About 120,000 people visit each year but both the Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire council have cut its funding.

Mr Davies, who leaves next month, said it "needs to grow commercially".

Speaking on BBC Radio Cymru, his comments were at odds with his predecessor, Dr Rosie Plummer, who warned about the dangers of greater commercialisation when she left.

Mr Davies said he believed the garden has a "very successful future" and it was a "flagship destination, not just for south west Wales, but the whole of Wales".

Changes include building a children's playground and a butterfly house, which is due to open soon.

"It is something that we've noticed in the past few weeks - that children are crying going away from the garden, whereas I dare say in previous years they were crying when they were pulled into the garden," Mr Davies added.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales' annual grant from the Welsh Government has been cut by almost 11% to £581,000 this year and Carmarthenshire council has announced it is cutting its funding from £50,000 to £30,000 next year.

Image copyright National Botanic Garden of Wales
Image caption The National Botanic Garden of Wales generates over half of its own income by visitors through the gate

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