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Ponytyates businessman dies

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ONE OF Carmarthenshire’s most prominent businessmen and entrepreneurs has passed away after a short battle with illness. 

Clive Hughes from Pontyates passed away on Sunday (Jul 24) at Prince Phillip Hospital in Llanelli.

He was the owner of Hughes Haulage and a number of other businesses he had established in other countries including Australia and South Africa.

His haulage and logistics companies were massive and established him amongst one of the most successful Welsh businessmen during 60s, 70s and 80s. He could often be seen mixing with some of the world’s most successful and , often, most notorious men, including Alan Bond and Jeffrey Archer.

Clive returned to Wales after having retired in the Caribbean with the aim of creating jobs in his home county. He was passionate about Wales and trying to create employment for young people.

At one time, Clive was embroiled in a planning battle with Carmarthenshire County Council over a proposed biomass power plant, which he said would have created 600 construction and permanent jobs. The plants at Coedbach, near Kidwelly, and in Swansea never got the go ahead and Clive fought until his last days to try and find out who was behind the funding of the Coed Bach Action Group who successfully thwarted his plans.

At the time, Mr Hughes said: “I do feel that enough is enough – I’ve endured years of harassment and lies against my character and businesses, which is not what I expected when I came back to Carmarthenshire. My land has been blighted, I am obstructed at every stage and at every level by the local authority and local members. My businesses have been at the receiving end of Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning department. It’s a planning system which has allowed ‘nimbyism’ to flourish. I have been fortunate to have enjoyed successful multi-million pound businesses all over the world. However, I have never been treated so badly as in my home county. I’ve had excellent business relationships all around the world and for over 30 years.”

Clive Hughes was a prominent figure at the Scarlets as the Vice Chairman of the club for many years. He was also seen regularly at the Liberty Stadium mixing with the VIps, including his friend, leader of Swansea Council, Chris Hollie and Leo Lyons of Lyons Glass. He was a member of Moriah Chapel in Meinciau.

Clive’s wife Meirwen told The Herald: “He was always chasing a new business venture. Clive was a restless soul and never afraid of speaking the truth. In recent months, he challenged the First Minister Carwyn Jones as to why he was awarding contracts to China when he had the ideas and the plans to produce energy through Welsh funded and Welsh based business. Clive never got any answers to the many questions he asked of both the local authority or the Welsh Assembly Government.”

Mr Hughes is reputed to have invested over £3.5 million in Carmarthenshire in attempts to get his renewable energy business off the ground and a substantial amount of money was paid in planning fees.

Both Dutch and South African companies were in talks with Clive shortly before his death regarding the prospect of his plants opening up in those countries.

Clive Hughes died without realising the potential of his renewable energy scheme, which he claimed could have powered homes in Carmarthenshire at a fraction of the cost of the big companies, while creating local jobs.

Carmarthenshire County Council leader Emlyn Dole provided his own personal tribute to Clive Hughes: “I’m part time minister in Meinciau, and it was through that he met both me and my wife, separately at first. Gwenda and I went with him to Australia three times, He was always nagging us to go out and take the service for Western Australian Welsh community, who met monthly and hired a chapel. Gwenda would sing, I would play guitar – I got to know Clive from that time on.

“He introduced me to two of the great pleasures of my life, golf and red wine. He started me off with some very nice Chilean Shiraz at Hong Kong Airport. In fact, he tried to drink his minister under the table and ended up with a bout of gout that lasted three weeks!

“We were opposites, both fascinated with each other. If the main quality of an entrepreneur is taking a risk, he was an entrepreneur. He owned business across the world. It was an education to be with him, and I got that opportunity.”

Cllr Dole concluded: “He was great company and a great friend and it is as a friend that I have the most respect for him. My condolences to his wife, Meirwen, and family. He was a great guy.”

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First two cases of coronavirus in Carmarthenshire confirmed

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THE FIRST two cases of coronavirus have been found in Carmarthenshire, the Welsh Government announced today.

The two patients in the Carmarthenshire local authority area had recently returned together from northern Italy.

It comes as the Hywel Dda Health Board which serves the area opened two centres to test for coronavirus, one in Cardigan and one in Carmarthen.

The health board announced it had opened the testing centres to “help protect the health of our communities”, while also saying that centres could be opened in other areas across the health board.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, confirmed that a total of nine patients in Wales had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID -19) today, bringing the total to 15.

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Council unveils ambitious housing plan

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has unveiled major plans to build more council homes and further improve its existing housing stock, including an ambition to move towards ‘carbon neutral homes’.

Executive Board approved an impressive Carmarthenshire Homes Standard (CHS+) business plan this week (February 24, 2020) in a commitment to build on a £286million programme it has already delivered to bring council homes in the county above the Welsh standard for social housing.

Pending Full Council approval in March, the council has outlined its intentions to commit £49million to continue the CHS+ programme whilst developing a new standard to further improve the energy efficiency of their homes, aiming to cut and off-set carbon emissions to ensure homes are warm, cheap to run, and easily adapted to cater for people’s changing needs.

As part of this vision, the council is planning to improve the fabric of houses so that they become more energy efficient. It will also harness off-grid sustainable energy solutions, such as wind and water, and has committed to planting 1,000 trees to off-set carbon emissions.

The council has also made a new commitment to invest £52million building more homes over the next three years as it works towards returning its housing stock to levels last seen in the 1990s.

The new programme will link to the council’s wider strategic regeneration initiatives, including developments in the Tyisha area of Llanelli, town centres and key rural towns.

The administration’s previous promise to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes is just 15 homes short of the target it set itself for 2021, including the completion of its first major new-build development since the 1970s in Pembrey, and the phase-one completion of a second development in Bynea.

Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said the investment would not only improve living conditions for existing tenants and provide more quality affordable homes for local people, but will also contribute to providing employment and training opportunities in the local construction industry.

“The plan is very ambitious – we are building new homes and working with tenants and key partners to ensure Carmarthenshire is at the forefront of the decarbonisation agenda,” she said. “Carmarthenshire is one of three authorities working with Welsh Government to look at measures to decarbonise our homes, and this work will start in the next few months.

“The fact that we have been able to invest in our homes, we’ve been able to build suitable homes and adapt homes for people and their families is very impressive – there’s more to do, but we are ready to take the challenge. It’s a very exciting time.”

Delivery of the council’s ambitions depends on an average rent increase of 2.7 per cent, working out at roughly £87 a week for a two-bedroom home – the second lowest rent level for social housing in Wales and significantly lower than private rented accommodation.

The council will also seek £6.1million from the Welsh Government’s major repairs allowance fund.

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Llanelli: Notice of Motion follows school transport concerns

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A NOTICE OF MOTION will be discussed at Llanelli Town Council on Wednesday (Mar 4) following the concern of many parents over the loss of school transport for their children.

The motion will be proposed by Shahana Najmi, Town Council Leader and Councillor for the Lliedi Ward and seconded by Sean Rees, Llanelli Town Councillor for the Glanymor Ward.

The motion reads as follows: “Recent changes to UK legislation have led to the cancellation of many paid-for school transport with the consequence that many Llanelli school children are now expected to walk many miles often along unsuitable routes to get to School.

“This has only highlighted the need for change to how school transport is delivered. We believe that all children whether they pay or not should be able to access safe and effective school transport to enable them to get to and from school to a point safe and a reasonable distance from their home.

“We therefore write to the Ministers for Transport and Education at the Welsh Government to ask them to support a new School Transport Policy here in Wales that complies with UK legislation and ensure that children here in Llanelli are not expected to walk miles to school in often adverse weather conditions and often on unsafe and unsuitable walking routes.

“We also write to Carmarthenshire County Council to ask them to do all in their power to ensure that children in Carmarthenshire have access to appropriate school transport and consider all options available to them to ensure acceptable provision.”

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