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Grillo site: Developer to cut community funding

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grilloAS REPORTED in last week’s Herald, the meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning committee which had been due to consider six planning applications – for up to 230 homes at the former Grillo site, was halted after an intervention by the Welsh Government.

The Head of Planning, Eifi on Bowen, told the meeting that the day before the meeting he had received an email from the Welsh Government referring to a letter from 2010 instructing the authority not to approve the Grillo application.

The instruction was in response to a request by a third party to call in the applications. On the morning of the meeting, with the committee due to proceed to discuss the plans in spite of the previous day’s email, the Head of Planning received an email from the Welsh Government directing the local authority giving formal notice under Article 18 that it was not in a position to approve any of the six applications including the school.

Legal advice tendered to the meeting by one of the council’s own legal offi cers warned members that if they proceeded to discuss the proposals and indicate their position, they were open to challenge on the basis that they would have predetermined the application. While the planning committee has decided to write to the Welsh Government expressing concern at the short notice given before the meeting, it is not clear on what basis they could proceed and why the Council had failed to take into account a preexisting and long-standing direction from the Welsh Government that it could not make a decision in relation to the site.

Committee members also requested that the Executive Board member for regeneration and leisure, former Council leader Meryl Gravelle, who appears to relish slapping down the Welsh Government from her seat on the moral high ground, writes to the Minister responsible, Carl Sargeant. Hengoed Councillor Sian Caiach told The Herald: “I am the councilllor who objected to the Grillo site application in Burry Port. The objection is in the public domain and could have been read out in the planning committee 23/4/15 but Mr Bowen, head of planning, chose not to do so.”

Cllr Caiach, explained: “My objection was properly registered, together with supporting documents. My concerns are environmental: the Grillo site is that of an old chemical factory and CCC have spent a great deal of money trying to get it developed, even going to court on behalf of its owners. The site is next to the estuary and taking away or neutralising the contaminated land must be done very carefully to protect the sensitive environmental site adjacent to it.” Expressing concern over the Council’s motives in pressing ahead with the development, Sian Caiach continued: “The land was I believe originally owned by CCC and sold on as a development site.

I am not sure, but the Council may have some residual liability to the developers if planning does not go through. The neighbouring sites are all to be sold off with planning permission to raise funds for the council except for the school site, which they will presumably keep. However, all of them are likely to add to the sewage problems locally.” Cllr Caiach concluded: “Interestingly the developers will now give much less money to the community than promised originally in 2008. As I pointed out in my letter to Eifi on Bowen, the Grilllo development originally [2008] promised around £700,000 for Burry Port. In the new plans this sum is halved and the £200,000 donation promised to the town council for the upkeep of the Memorial Park has been abandoned.

“This promise has been changed to allow the developer to provide this sum in work around the site to improve the public realm, which appears to be initiating landscaping and improving play areas after the homes are built. The town councillors must be very disappointed, as must the education department who have agreed to accept only £189,000 of Section 106 monies, compared to the original £360,000 for local schools.” Councillor Caiach’s previous interventions in the troubled scheme’s complex history received a frosty response from Burry Port’s own town council. Speaking in 2014, current Mayor Andrew Phillips suggested that “Her meddling, in a ward that she does not represent, has caused a great deal of damage to the ongoing development of Burry Port.”

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Plaid’s pro-EU Saturday push in Trimsaran

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DUBBED Pro-EU Saturday, the 30th November in Trimsaran saw the local girl and MP candidate Mari Arthur, descend on her home village of Trimsaran, to draw attention to the £680million of European Union (EU) funds that Wales receives every single year.


The only Remain candidate in Llanelli, Mari Arthur was proudly joined by Plaid Cymru regional AM Helen Mary Jones, Wales MEP Jill Evans, County Councillor Kim Broom, and a whole host of supporters, to speak with as many people as possible in the community ahead of the General Election on 12th December.


Plaid Cymru candidate Mari Arthur said: “I was thrilled to be joined in Trimsaran by so many people to talk about why EU funds have been vital for the area. We are a net beneficiary, which means that, as a nation, we get £245milion more than we pay into the EU.


“Trimsaran Leisure Centre itself is a building that received £180k from EU funds and is now the beating heart of the community. It’s great to see how this is still having a positive impact on people living in the village and further afield.”


West Wales and the Valleys is a “less developed region”, which means it is one of the “poorest regions” in Europe, as its GDP is less than 75% of the EU average. This means that £680million of EU funds comes to Wales, in the form of:


Structural Funds which amounts to just over £4 billion in extra funds to Wales since 2000, including £180,000 towards the build of Trimsaran Leisure Centre Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with £200million a year – almost a third of all EU funding in Wales – providing vital support to 16,0000 farms in Wales.


Other Funds that help support everything else, like the arts and biodiversity. Speaking from Trimsaran, Jill Evans MEP, said: “It’s wonderful to be here today in Trimsaran and to see the fantastic support on the doorstep for Plaid Cymru, and the only local candidate on the Llanelli ticket: Mari Arthur. It’s very heartening!


“Obviously, like elsewhere in Wales, there’s a real feeling of frustration on the doorstep in relation to Brexit – among those who voted to leave AND those who voted to remain three years ago. Plaid Cymru is proudly Remain, because we believe Brexit – particularly a No Deal Brexit – would be catastrophic for Wales.


“Ask yourselves this: will Westminster Government honour this level of funding, post-Brexit? It is almost certainly a No. Vote Plaid.”


Helen Mary Jones AM, also at Trimsaran Leisure Centre, said: “It was wonderful to be at Trimsaran and to have a glimpse into what the future could be like: with Kim Broom speaking up for the community at Plaid Cymru-led Carmarthenshire Council, myself at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, Jill in Brussels and then Mari at Westminster. It would be wonderful to have a team in place that could deliver comprehensive support to the community.”
The Pro-EU day highlighted the positive impact that EU funding has had on the lives of people and communities across the Llanelli constituency.

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Criminal damage at a caravan park in Kidwelly.

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POLICE are investigating reports of thefts and criminal damage at a caravan park in Kidwelly.

Two reports have been made, with a number of items stolen from two caravans at Tanylan Caravan Park.

The first incident took place between September 23 and October 12.

A number of items – including fishing equipment, computer consoles and £300 cash – were stolen, and an awning window was smashed.

The second report was made on October 13, with the crime taking place sometime after August 25.

Scooters, camping equipment, TVs, DVD players, Amazon fire sticks, a Wii U console, and several other items were taken.

Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to contact PC 810 at Carmarthen Police Station.

You can report information by calling 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Abandoned property fire in Burry Port probed

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POLICE are investigating a fire at an abandoned property in Burry Port.

A call was made at around 1.20am today (Tuesday, November 19) reporting that a detached house in Graig was well alight.

The house is not lived in, and has sustained substantial fire damage.

There were no witnesses to indicate who has started the fire, but two people were seen running away from the scene.

Due to the temperature inside the building remaining high today, it has been unsafe for investigators to enter the building.

Anyone with information, or who saw a person or people acting suspiciously in the area between 12.30am and 1.30am is urged to contact the joint investigation unit at Llanelli Police Station.

You can report information by calling 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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