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University suspend a fifth person in Llanelli wellness village probe

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A FIFTH person has been suspended by Swansea University as part of its internal inquiry linked to plans for a £200m wellness village in Llanelli.

A university spokesman said: “We can confirm that another member of staff has been suspended as part of our ongoing internal investigation,”

Paul Roberts, the lead for Regional Development, Health and Wellbeing has raised a grievance with the university over the way his suspension was handled, saying that he was tricked into attending a meeting supposedly about early retirement or redeployment to another department.

Mr Roberts also said he had “been working under a climate of fear since the suspension of fellow colleagues in November last year”.
The university said it could “make no further comment at this stage.”

Staff have previously been told that the matters being looked into did not concern “the academic performance of the university or its financial wellbeing”.

Meanwhile, the Wales Audit Office and an independent legal review have concluded that Carmarthenshire County Council has acted properly and robustly in its planning and governance of the Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village scheme.

Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, has welcomed the findings saying he is pleased the independent reviews show that the project is progressing properly and positively.

The authority invited the Wales Audit Office to review the scheme to seek assurance that it had acted with sound governance, proper risk management, and had fully protected public assets.

The audit has concluded that the council has followed appropriate processes and has effectively protected public money.

Separately, the council’s Executive Board ordered an independent legal review of the £200million scheme.

That review concluded that the council has followed due legal process, showed good governance, has properly managed risk, and has taken prudent steps to ensure the project is legally and financially safe.

The £200million Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village project is one of 11 projects that make up the £1.3billion Swansea Bay City Deal.

Planned for Delta Lakes on the Llanelli coast, it is set to create close to 2,000 jobs and boost the local economy by £467million.

Plans have been approved by the council’s Planning Committee, and the Executive Board has allocated £16.4million for the leisure centre element of the project in its 2019-20 Capital Programme.

Cllr Dole said this should be seen as a clear commitment to the project, and called for more support to ensure the scheme progresses without further delay to secure jobs and opportunities for the Llanelli area.

“I am delighted that both the Wales Audit Office and the independent review have shown clearly that the council has acted properly at all times in planning for the Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village,” he said.

“Both reviews are clear that there has been no misuse of – or risk posed to – public funds and that the project has been properly managed in line with external legal advice.

“As an Executive Board, we were keen for independent reassurance following months of needless speculation about the project. Now that these reviews have concluded, we look forward to delivering on our vision of jobs, prosperity and wellbeing for the people of Llanelli and Carmarthenshire as a whole.”

The Wales Audit Office and the legal reviewers were given full access to all records relating to the project and carried out a detailed appraisal of the council’s actions.

A full report will be considered by the Executive Board on March 4.

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Gigabit broadband voucher scheme boost for Wales

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THE UK’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is to be given a boost in Wales thanks to a new partnership between the Welsh and UK Governments. Ministers from both Governments are now urging Welsh businesses and communities to apply for the funding to get gigabit speeds.

The announcement follows an agreement between the UK and Welsh Governments, and reflects the higher costs of deploying fibre infrastructure in Wales, as a result of the country’s topography and the location of premises.

The UK Government’s Gigabit broadband vouchers – worth up to £2500 – are currently available to small businesses and surrounding local communities to contribute to the installation costs of a gigabit-capable broadband connection.

Under the new arrangements, the Welsh Government will provide an additional £3,000 for businesses up to a certain size and an additional £300 per residential property. This means that for group* projects in Wales up to £5,500 is available per business, compared with £2,500 elsewhere in the UK. Up to £800 will now be available per residential property in Wales, compared with £500 elsewhere.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “Although the vast majority of premises in Wales can now access superfast broadband, we are working hard on assisting the remaining five per cent that cannot access it and where commercial companies have no plans to reach. There is no one size fits all solution to reach the final premises, and the Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme is an important part of a suite of measures to achieve this.

“This voucher scheme can provide a vital funding source for group connectivity projects, and could be of great benefit to communities currently without access.
I’m pleased we’ve been able to work with the UK Government to provide an enhanced scheme for Wales, taking into account the particular challenges we face here with geography and the location of premises.”

UK Minister for Digital Margot James said: “This exclusive scheme for Welsh businesses and communities is a vital part of our modern Industrial Strategy and build a Britain that is fit for the future. Working with the Welsh Government, together we can make sure that everyone in Wales has the connectivity they need for the digital age.”

The voucher scheme forms part of a package aimed at improving connectivity in Wales. The Welsh and UK Government funded £200 million Superfast Cymru programme has already taken superfast broadband speeds to more than 733,000 Welsh homes and businesses commercial companies had no plans to cover. The Welsh Government is also investing a further £22.5 million to reach an additional 26,000 premises and the UK Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation** that will make fast broadband a legal right for every home and business in Wales by 2020.

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Rescuers attend to injured construction workers in New Dock Street

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A MULTI AGENCY rescue operation is underway in Llanelli involving all three emergency services after an incident at a construction site.

Workers have been at the New Dock Street site, working for around three years, The Herald understands.

The Herald has been told that a piece of plant malfunctioned causing the emergency, which happened earlier this evening (Mar 19).

Four fire engines and three ambulances are at the scene, our reporter said.

A specialist line rescue team is involved in the recovery operation.

An eye-witness told the press that three workers have been affected.

The source said: “Concrete had just been mixed and had been poured into a skip which was then lifted using a machine. The concrete was being lowered into the hole, it’s probably about 20ft and then the machine toppled over.”

He added: “Two men climbed out of the hole on their own and as a precaution the third man was told to stay down there. The workers were told to leave the site as a precaution.”

At least one person has been seen being taken away in an ambulance.

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Llanelli: Met Bar incident investigated

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AN INCIDENT which resulted in a 51-year old man having to go hospital is being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The man has been discharged from Glangwili Hospital but police are looking in to how the incident happened and how the man fell down some steps.

The incident happened outside the Met Bar in Llanelli on Saturday night (Mar 16).

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Herald: “At approximately 10.55pm on Saturday March 16, officers responded to reports of an injured man outside The Met Bar, Station Road, Llanelli, after he’d fallen down some steps at the location.

“Ambulance was at scene, and the 51 year old man was conveyed to Glangwili Hospital with what was thought to have been a serious head injury. He was then later discharged from hospital, and the head injury was no longer believed to be serious.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police by calling 101 and quoting DPP/3011/16/03/2019/02/C. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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