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Demolition stops as Cuddy collapses

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DEMOLITION work on the former Pontrilas factory on Llanelli’s North Dock has stopped after the contractors in charge of the site went into administration.

Work on the prime development site ground to a halt at the end of last week.

The Cuddy Group entered administration on Monday (Jul 23) following a protracted period of ill health for its head, Mike Cuddy, the former Ospreys Managing Director.

A statement from the company said: “During his enforced absence from work at Cuddy Group, he had hoped that others would have stepped up to fill the gap he had left. Unfortunately this did not happen and the challenges facing the company increased month on month throughout 2017 and into 2018.”

With the company’s finances deteriorating, Mike Cuddy returned to work in April six months earlier than planned and against medical advice but despite injecting personal funds into the business he ‘ was left no alternative but to put the company into administration’.

The company added: “Mike is devastated and as you can imagine, the news and the associated stress, are taking a heavy toll on his health.

“He intends to continue however, to do everything he can to ensure that the company workforce is successful in finding alternative employment.”

For the year ended July 21, 2016, the latest accounts filed at Companies House, Cuddy Group made a pre-tax profit of £233,000 on turnover of £31.5m.

Cuddy had been in restructuring talks with Grant Thornton, but it appears that those talks have ended without agreement on a way forward that keeps the firm intact.

The Pontrilas building on the Llanelli coast was to be demolished to make way for future development.

Constructed in the 1960s, the building has been underused for many years and become increasingly dilapidated.

Cuddy were in the process of razing the building to the ground over the next few months.

Cuddy Group Ltd took over the site from Carmarthenshire County Council in December 2017.

Due to elements of asbestos within the building fabric, a controlled demolition programme was necessary using specialist water suppression systems. The precautions were necessary because of strict asbestos removal standards to eliminate danger to the public, including air monitoring to ensure nobody, either on or off site, is at risk.

The council’s executive board member for resources, Cllr David Jenkins said: “Current works at North Dock, Pontrillas, are on stop.

“We have received contact from the administrators. Should the company not be in a position to complete the remaining site works we will engage with alternative contractors to complete what is required.

“No decision will be made until we have received further information from the administrators.”

While supplies, subcontractors, and workers remain unpaid and – in many cases at the end of their financial tether – Mike Cuddy has moved to reassure followers of Neath RFC that the club’s future is safe.

Even though the Club’s main sponsors were the Cuddy Group, the assets of the rugby club are owned separately from the collapsed business, it is understood in the hands of members of the Cuddy family.

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Llanelli to holds it first food and drink festival

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THIS SATURDAY (Oct 20), Llanelli town centre is holding it’s first ever Food and Drink Festival.

The festival which is being funded by Ymlaen Llanelli Business Improvement District, Llanelli Town Council and Welsh Government will see the town filled with a selection of artisan and street food and drink stalls from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, 20th October. Visitors will be able to buy everything from cheese and chutneys and to craft beer and wine.

In the St Elli shopping centre there will be a show demonstration kitchen where local chefs will be showing off their cooking skills from 10am on a variety of themes including the Big Welsh Breakfast, Fish is the Dish and Keep It Local.

You can also learn how to make bread, mill flower and churn butter at free workshops in the St Elli Centre and well as listen to live music in the entertainment marquee in Vaughan Street.

There are free activities for children throughout the day too including a toddler trail, disco potatoes and a pottery bus.

Llanelli market who are pioneers of little or no packaging will be taking part in a Go Green Trail and offering free canvas bags to customers on the day.

There is free parking all day in town too!

On Friday night the festival is kicked off by a food trail around some of the town’s best bars and restaurants. The Thomas Arms, Ruby’s, Llanelly House and Marzano’s will be offering tasters of their favourite dishes to some lucky customers. Anyone that completes the trail and get a stamp at every location gets entered into a prize draw to win a £50 voucher to spend at any of the four restaurants. You can pick up a stamp card at any of the four up until Friday evening.

Paolo Piana will be hosting a Come Dine With Me evening at Y Lle on Old Castle Road where participants will take part in an interactive dining experience and learn how to cook some Italian dishes from scratch. There is also a Welsh Cheese and Wine Evening taking place at the mayor’s parlour to raise money for the mayors chosen charity (both of these events have limited space to booking is essential).

Chair of Ymlaen Llanelli, Lesley Richards said: “It’s great to see months of work finally coming to fruition with our First Food and Drink Festival this weekend and we are all very much looking forward to it. We hope to see a large number of visitors in the town centre on Saturday to visit the food and drink stalls. Once they see what fantastic businesses we have in Llanelli, we hope they will return to support our lovely town which is a great place to do your Christmas shopping. Don’t forget there’s free parking all day too!”

Llanelli Town Mayor, Cllr. David Darkin said: “I’m really excited about the upcoming food festival. I’m sure this will be a fantastic showcase of what Llanelli town has to offer and a great family friendly event. Llanelli Town Council is very pleased to see this event taking place in our community.”

 

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A Llanelli pub wants to pay you to drink beer

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A LLANELLI pub has launched a search for the UK’s first ever ‘Pub-licist’ and is encouraging locals to apply for the coveted role – which will include drinking beer and catching up with friends.

The New Stepney Hungry Horse pub on Eastgate, is advertising the dream job for pub goers and calling for a local spokesperson to represent the pub company in return for a £500 salary.

As well as drinking on the job, the Pub-licist will also be faced with responsibilities that will include tucking into pies, lasagne, and fish & chips, and attending entertainment events at their local pub, on top of playing the odd game of darts, karaoke or taking part in the pub quiz.

The Pub-licist will also be required to make a number of visits to their local, in order to provide feedback and recommendations to help make their pub the best in the country.

Each task must be reviewed thoroughly and key feedback provided to management, to help the pub stay ahead of competitors and retain its role as the hub of the community.

The winning candidate should know their cask from their craft, be a pro at pub quizzes and have a taste for the finest pub-grub. Interested applicants should visit hungryhorse.co.uk/publicist before Tuesday 13 November explaining why they’ve got what it takes to be Hungry Horse’s first Pub-licist.

Andrea Daniels, general manager at the New Stepney, said: “Nothing beats the atmosphere and comradery of a local pub – and it really is the guests who make it such a great place to be.

“We’re searching for a pub fanatic who just loves a trip to their local, to become our first ever Pub-licist and help us to become the best pub the community.

“So, if you fancy taking part in a pub quiz, sipping on a cold beer or tucking into traditional pub classics – all while getting paid to do so, then we want to hear from you. We’d love it if the UK’s first ever Pub-licist was from Llanelli!”

Applications are open from Tuesday 16 October – Tuesday 13 November to apply or find out more, visit: hungryhorse.co.uk/publicist.

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Police say ‘stop protecting’ murder suspect Steve Baxter

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JUST over two weeks ago Simon Clark, aged 54, was found dead at Grove Caravan Park in Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police is continuing its manhunt for Steve Baxter, who is wanted on suspicion of Simon’s murder.

Baxter also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He has connections in the West Wales, South Wales, South West and North England areas of the UK.

Officers and staff are working round the clock to follow all possible lines of enquiry.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Steve Baxter and he has been added to the Most Wanted section of their website. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “It’s over two weeks since Simon Clark was murdered at Grove Caravan Park, Pendine.

“The manhunt for Steve Baxter is ongoing and I must stress to the public that officers and staff are working round the clock to investigate all possible lines of enquiry that could lead us to him.

“I urge anyone with information of Baxter’s whereabouts to come forward. If you do not want to speak to police directly, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, which is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to his arrest.

“Someone knows where he is or has been in the last two weeks. Please stop protecting him. Simon Clark’s family deserve to see all those involved in his death brought to justice.”

Four people have been charged in connection with the murder: Jeffrey Stephen Ward, aged 40, from Pendine, has been charged with murder; Linda Mary Rowley, aged 52, from Pendine, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder); Kirston Macklin, aged 52, from Newport, Gwent, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder) and Julie Louise Harris, aged 46, from Tonypandy, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder).

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999. Do not approach him.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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