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Llanelli couple walk for Bowel Cancer UK

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A HUSBAND and wife from Llanelli are joining Walk Together in Cardiff on Saturday 28 September to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK.

Paul James, (57 years old) and his wife, Sian-Marie, will be taking part in the walk because he was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016. He is now determined to make more people aware of the disease and raise much needed funds for the cause.

Paul said: “I’d really like to make a difference and anything I can do to raise funds for the life-saving work of Bowel Cancer UK has to be a good thing. I was very lucky to receive such excellent care and support from the colo-rectal team at my local hospital. In addition to this, I turned to Bowel Cancer UK as a source of information at the time and urge everyone to look out for, and act on, any unusual symptoms they notice, such as bleeding or a change in bowel habits.”

The charity has organised a five-mile sponsored walk along the beautiful Cardiff Bay, walkers will have the chance to soak up the scenery of the barrage with spectacular views of the Bristol Channel. It’s a perfect opportunity to bring people together to show support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones and raise funds to help stop people dying of bowel cancer.

Donations can be made to: justgiving.com/fundraising/sian-james9

Wales Fundraising Manager for Bowel Cancer UK, Michael Locke, said: “We are thrilled to have Paul and his wife Sian-Marie taking part in Walk Together and raising funds for the charity. For us at Bowel Cancer UK, this means we can continue with our vital work of saving lives, enabling research and improving the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer.

“Walk Together is for all ages and abilities and you can walk with friends, family and colleagues, or invite your local community to join you.”

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Wales and the second biggest cancer killer. Every year more than 2,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer and over 900 people die from the disease. However it’s treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.

To sign up to Walk Together in Cardiff or receive a fundraising pack with everything you need to hold your own memorable walk, visit: bowelcanceruk.org.uk/walktogether

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Scrutiny row engulfs Labour leader

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A DEBATE on a routine agenda item saw Labour Group leader Rob James take a major hit to his credibility.

The item before Wednesday’s Full Council (Oct 9) and was an apparently anodyne item of business relating to the governance arrangements for the Swansea Bay City Deal.

Emlyn Dole opened the matter briefly, plainly anticipating no substantial intervention. After his brief remarks, Chair Kevin Madge appeared ready to move the business on when Cllr James caught his eye.

The Labour leader chairs the City Deal Scrutiny Committee.

He raised three issues relating to the recommendations and suggested amendments to each. Two of them were superficially anodyne and related to quorum arrangements at meetings and the transaction of business. The third related to an unspecified ‘indemnity’ for the City Deal’s Programme Director.

After some tart comments about Carmarthenshire County Council’s chequered history with such indemnities, which include retaining an unlawful indemnity within the Council constitution, Cllr James said that the points he raised were agreed by the Joint Scrutiny which he chaired and should be incorporated into the text of the draft agreements.

Cllr Emlyn Dole reacted with a combination of surprise and (more predictably) outrage.

He claimed to have received no written notification of the issues Rob James claimed were agreed by the Scrutiny Committee. As far as he was concerned, no issues arose from scrutiny which would affect the reframed agreement and nothing substantive had ever been advanced concerning those points raised by Cllr James. He added a quick jibe, saying that the proposals before the Council were agreed by the City Deal Committee in July and Cllr James had ample time to raise the issue in writing since then.

Undaunted, the Labour leader stuck to his guns and insisted that it was only right that scrutiny had a role. He repeated that the amendments he put forward had been agreed by the scrutiny committee.

At that point, advice was sought from Wendy Waters, the Council’s Chief Executive.

She confirmed that late on Tuesday afternoon a letter from Cllr James, signed as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee had been received by the Council.

Head of Legal, Linda Rees Jones confirmed that shortly after the letter arrived, raising the points made by Cllr James, draft minutes of the relevant meeting had also been received.

Cllr Dole said he had not received those documents and a row between him and Cllr James over who knew what and when broke out.

While Emlyn Dole accused Cllr James of holding up the process, again and again, Cllr James said that scrutiny was essential and could not be ignored.
At that point, Cllr Darren Price intervened. Cllr Price is also a member of the Joint Scrutiny Committee.

He told councillors that not only was his recollection of what happened at the scrutiny significantly different from Cllr James’, but also that he had not received the draft minutes sent to the Council. He said he had briefly checked his emails during the meeting and could find no trace of either the agreed text of a letter or the minutes. He said he was relying on his own memory, but did not recollect what Cllr James said happened as being a settled decision and more of a point of discussion during the committee meeting.

He was soon followed by Cllr Giles Morgan, who rose to his feet carrying his tablet computer.

Cllr Morgan could never be confused for a fan of the Labour leader.

He told the meeting that he had checked his own notes of the scrutiny committee, of which he was also a member. Cllr Morgan said his notes did not agree with the interpretation Cllr James placed on events at the meeting. He said there had been a discussion on the individual points, but no resolution relating to the committee making amendments to the documents before the Council.

The intervention by Cllrs Morgan and Price left the Labour leader with nowhere to go. He replied that he was being subjected to a personal attack on his credibility and would, therefore, abstain when the motion regarding City Deal governance went to a vote.

The substantive agreement was approved by the Council.

A wounded Cllr James might now face a considerable struggle to regain his credibility. Much will depend on him proving what he said the scrutiny committee agreed is what committee members actually approved.

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Erw Las application has City Deal link

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a halfway house for teenagers at Erw Las, Llwynhendy, is at a property owned jointly by Professor Marc Clement.

Professor Clement is the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales. He was sacked from his position as Dean of Swansea University’s School of Management earlier this year. His dismissal followed an internal disciplinary process which examined his involvement in aspects of the Wellness Project and relationship with its developer in a separate project.
Issues arising from that investigation are now the subject of an investigation by Tarian, the South Wales Regional Organised Crime Unit.
Professor Clement denies any wrongdoing.

The Land Registry shows he bought the house for a recorded price of £375,000 in July this year.

The purchase completed roughly at the same time as the planning application’s submission and weeks after the applicants for the development approached the local authority for pre-application guidance.

The application is in the name of a company called Freshstart Care Ltd.

Professor Clement is not shown as having any interest in the applicant company.

A search of Companies’ House Records reveals companies with similar names operating in the same general field as Freshstart Care Ltd – including a significant provider of post-16 care called Fresh Start Care Services Limited. However, none of the directors of the applicant company is connected with the latter, which appears to have nothing to do with the application before Council planners.

The application for the hostel on a residential street has provoked significant local opposition and a slew of letters of objection sent to the County Council.

Each of the letters shares a common theme: that the application is in an unacceptable area to even consider placing a youth hostel for young offenders.

One lengthy objection notes: ‘There have also been grave concerns expressed in neighbouring Swansea relating to the number of private children`s homes being opened in that area. This results in the transferral of children with complex behavioural problems from other areas, with consequent increasing demands on both police resources and council services within the recipient area. The expansion of such homes in recent years is a very lucrative option with substantial profits to be made which many believe is the premier reason for the current Llwynhendy application’.

The presence of recently released young offenders at the property, if planning permission is granted, also exercises a significant number of respondents.

One writes: “I find it inconceivable that a semi-detached property should be considered suitable as a rehabilitation home for young, individuals as there is bound to be regular audible disturbance certainly for the adjoining neighbour if not for those living further away.

I understand that there will be four youths guarded/rehabilitated by 6 adults. This ratio of supervision would be the envy of any prison in the land and just confirms my suspicion that we can expect trouble, even when they are closely supervised.

I find it very odd that the residents were not advised or consulted about this change of use by the current owners of Han Y Bont. I understand some internal changes have already been made at the property. This seems rather foolish and arrogant to assume that the residents would not object and that the council would rubber-stamp it as a fait accompli.”

Several objectors also note chronic parking issues on the road, exacerbated by Erw Las’ use as a rat run for traffic and by boy-racers, trying to avoid speed cameras on neighbouring roads.

A further objection notes that, contrary to claims that the property is not prone to flooding, it has a river at the side of the property and has been flooded on a couple of occasions and the surrounding area is made up of marshland.

The Herald covered the story of Erw Las residents’ flooding complaints in 2016. Those who spoke with us said they had suffered from flooding for the last six years, we’re unable to get any help and unable to get any insurance cover for their homes.

One objector alleges: “The property is already kitted out for the youngsters to move in, so are they aware of something which the community is not?”

Cllr Deryk Cundy wrote:
a. We have no understanding of the supervision or regulation of the use of this property.
b. There are no guarantees on the safety of the residents of the property whoever they may be.
c. There are no details about the qualifications of the staff employed here.
d. There are no controls by the Council on the suitability of what is delivered here.
e. There are no regular inspections by the Council on the Health and Safety of these children.

Llwynhendy County Councillor and Chair of Llanelli Rural Council, Sharen Davies, also objected and asked: “As the local County Councillor for the Llwynhendy Area, I would like to request a site visit, for the Planning Committee to be made aware of the Rural area and the inappropriate environment for this development. I would also like to speak at the full Planning Committee.”

Not a single response from neighbours favours the plan and nor does the Council’s own Child Services team.

In its response, the Children’s Services Team write: “Carmarthenshire Children’s Services do not use private residential homes for looked after children so the proposed centre will be utilised by outside local authorities. Carmarthenshire is already a net receiver of a large number of looked after children and young people from other local authority areas – we currently have a population of out of county LAC almost the same size as our LAC population. We object to the planning application on the basis that this will contribute to an increase in the volume already entering and residing in the area.”

The application is certain to go forward for decision by the Planning Committee. It can expect a bumpy ride.

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OAP bus pass allows for FREE rail travel

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Free train travel on the following routes with your OAP bus pass.

Shrewsbury and Llanelli/Swansea (Heart of Wales Line)

Each year, from 01 October to 31 March, you can travel between any two of these stations:

Shrewsbury, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Broome, Hopton Heath, Bucknell, Knighton, Knucklas, Llangynllo, Llanbister Road, Dolau, Pen-y-bont, Llandrindod, Builth Road, Cilmeri, Garth (Powys), Llangammarch, Llanwrtyd, Sugar Loaf, Cynghordy, Llandovery,Llanwrda, Llangadog, Llandeilo, Fairfach, Llandybie, Ammanford, Pantyffynnon, Pontarddulais, Llangennech, Bynea, Llanelli, Gowerton, Swansea.

No free tickets for journeys wholly between Shrewsbury and Bucknell and Llanelli and Swansea.

Wrexham to Hawarden Bridge

You can travel free between any two of these stations:

Hawarden Bridge, Shotton, Hawarden, Buckley, Penyffordd, Hope, Caergwrle, Cefn y Bedd, Gwersyllt and Wrexham General

Machynlleth to Pwllheli (Cambrian Coast line)

Each year, from 01 October to 31 March, you can travel between any two of these stations:

Pwllheli, Abererch, Penychain, Criccieth, Porthmadog, Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Llandecwyn, Talsarnau, Tygwyn, Harlech, Llandanwg, Pensarn, Llanbedr, Dyffryn Ardudwy, Talybont, Llanaber, Barmouth, Morfa Mawddach, Fairbourne, Llwyngwril, Tonfanau, Tywyn, Aberdovey, Penhelig, Dovey Junction, Machynlleth.

We don’t accept concessionary tickets on the following trains during school terms:

06.10 Pwllheli – Machynlleth between Barmouth and Tywyn

07.34 Pwllheli – Machynlleth between Penrhyndeudraeth and Harlech.

12.56 Machynlleth – Pwllheli between Harlech and Penrhyndeudraeth

14.56 Machynlleth – Pwllheli between Tywyn and Barmouth

Llandudno – Blaenau Ffestiniog (Conwy Valley line)

You can travel free between any two of these stations:

Llandudno, Deganwy, Llandudno Junction, Glan Conwy, Tal-y-Cafn, Dalgarrog, North Llanrwst, Betws-y-Coed, Pont-y-Pant, Dolwyddelan, Roman Bridge, Blaenau Ffestiniog.

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