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Drefach homes plans passed

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PLANS for a new 22-home development in Drefach were given the go-ahead by Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning committee this week.

The committee heard that concerns had been raised by local residents about the development, which was adopted for housing under the 2014 Local Development Plan.

Introducing a report, Planning Officer Jonathan Thomas noted that the application had been subject to delays to allow councillors to visit the site and for the applicant to submit an impact assessment for the resident dormice.

He explained that the outline plans, for 20 4-5 bed open-market detached properties and two affordable homes, would see a new access route built from Heol Blaenhirwaun to the north, and the existing road at Bron yr Ynn would be widened and brought up to adoptable standards.

Mr Thomas acknowledged that there had been concerns from local county councillors and the community council, which centred on the potential for the new access to cause a ‘rat run’ through the estate.

Recommending the plans for approval, he noted that other objections were either covered by planning conditions or answered in the report.

However, local county councillor Aled Owen addressed the committee, noting that the site visit should have allowed them to see the infrastructure concerns inherent in adding 22 homes to an ‘unsuitable road’.

He added that there were concerns about the entrance from Heol Blaenhirwaun, which would be near the school, and suggested the road would be used as a shortcut for people travelling from Tumble to Cross Hands.

Cllr Owen also raised concerns about a lack of traffic calming measures, and noted that the new road would cause to loss of a flat green space used for seating suggesting that a different access route would alleviate some of these issues.

Cllr Eirwyn Williams asked what measures would be put in place to protect wildlife, specifically dormice, during construction. He was told that the application ahd been delayed while this matter was sorted, and seasonal controls and mitigation plans put in place Mr Thomas added that under the European Protected Species licence failure to achieve this could see the licence withdrawn.

Stating that he was ‘not happy’ with the application, Cllr Kevin Madge asked whether widening the road would have any effect on the elderly residents who currently parked there. He also suggested that flashing lights be fitted at the junction onto Heol Blaenhirwaun, and asked what the financial contribution towards local recreational areas would be.

His concerns about the new entrance were echoed by Cllr Dorian Phillips, who asked whether the existing entrance would be sufficient on its own. Cllr John James also asked whether the entrance would be too close to the school.

Highways Officer Kevin James explained that Bron yr Ynn would be widened and footpaths would be fitted on both sides.

The spaces where cars were currently parked would be turned into residents’ parking areas.

He added that there would be a speed hump on Heol Blaenhirwaun near the entrance, and the entrance itself would have good visibility.

Cllr Dot Jones suggested that the speed bumps did not prevent speeding on that particular stretch, and people even overtook in the 20mph area.

Councillors were told that moving the new entrance from its proposed position would lead to a large reduction in the size of the plot due to the gradient of the land.

10 councillors voted in favour of the application, with four voting against and three abstaining.

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Cold temperatures likely to lead to icy conditions

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A YELLOW weather warning is in place over Wales from 10pm tonight (Jan 16) and 11am tomorrow morning (Jan 17).

As temperatures drop, there is a strong chance of ice patches causing dangerous conditions for motorists.

Icy patches developing with wintry showers also affecting some areas.

What to expect

  • Some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces
  • Probably some ice on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths
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Police target burglary suspects in dawn raids

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SIXTEEN addresses have been raided by police in an operation responding to a spate of high-value burglaries in the south Wales area.

Officers targeted locations in Fforest-Fach, Clase, Morrison, Brynhyfryd and Bonymaen following a year of thefts in the city and Neath Port Talbot.

Operation Timmia also saw locations in Swansea citry centre targeted by South Wales Police.

Six people have been arrested and remain in custody, The Llanelli Herald has been told.

The large scale operation used the police helicopter, forensics teams, financial investigators and cash-detecting dogs.

Police seized three caravans, a cannabis cultivation, large amounts of cash and jewellery, and a number of other items believed to be linked to crimes.

Detectives said those arrested are being held on suspicion of several offences, including conspiracy to commit burglary.

They have also issued an appeal to trace a further four suspects: Daniel Casey, 27; Terrence Casey, 19; Michael Casey, 18; and Patrick Joyce, 20.

All four men have links with the travelling community and are known to travel throughout the UK, said police.

“We know the recent spates of burglaries and car thefts across the division has been of real concern in our local communities and I hope the scale of this morning’s enforcement action reassures the public that we do take the matter seriously and that we are fully committed to bringing those responsible to justice,” said Det Insp Dave Peart.

“We now have a number of individuals in custody and enquiries are ongoing to locate a number of outstanding suspects.”

As part of the raids, officers searched an industrial unit in the Fforestfach area of the city, and nine caravans on Millstream Way traveller site.

The force said the investigation follow what has been described as a “high number of burglaries and aggravated burglaries in the past year”.

In some instances, homeowners were confronted by armed gangs who either threatened or inflicted violence.

Supt Cath Larkman added: “During some of the recent burglaries we’ve seen an increasing use of, or willingness to use, violence, so today’s action was absolutely proportionate and necessary to protect the public from further criminality and potential harm.”

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Band leader sexually assaulted 14-year-old cadet

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THE LEADER of an Army cadet band turned a kitchen into a sauna and sexually assaulted a naked teenage boy.

And Philip Pryor, now 65, used a British Legion computer to download child pornography.

Pryor, of Llys y Llyfgell, Burry Port, has been jailed for two and a half years.

Swansea Crown Court heard how Pryor had been the leader of an Army cadet band in Burry Port, which attracted members from across west Wales, as well as being a branch secretary for the British Legion.

Robin Rouch, prosecuting, said the Army had a hut in Burry Port which the band used for rehearsals and some cadets slept there, as did Pryor, before a concert.

A man who was a 14-year-old cadet at the time told police how Pryor would boil pans of water and place towels around doors and windows and turn the kitchen into a sauna.

Boys were encouraged to take off their clothes, as did Pryor.

On at least three occasions he touched the boy indecently, said Mr Rouch.

The victim did not complain until many years later after he had seen a television news item about young footballers being abused and confided in a friend about what had happened to him.

He later told police that at the time Pryor, who had played in a military band while serving in the Army, had told him that because of his standing in the community there was no point in complaining as no-one would believe him.

Mr Rouch said a police investigation began and officers removed a British Legion computer used by Pryor and found he had downloaded a small number of indecent images of schoolboys.

Pryor admitted three offences of indecent assault and one of possessing child pornography.

His barrister, Frank Phillips, said Pryor was now remorseful and ashamed and had lived as a recluse since his arrest.

Judge Geraint Walters told Pryor he had been in a position of trust.

“You targeted him and abused him more than once.

“The fact that he went to the police so many years later demonstrates the long lasting effect of what you did to him. It has never left him.

“It shows the wickedness of an adult taking advantage of a youngster.

“There was some grooming here in that you allowed him to have alcohol and cigarette.

“I accept you have led a blameless life since the offending but it is not possible for me to pass a sentence that could be suspended,” he added.

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