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Meeting times will remain unchanged

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Carmarthenshire_County_Hall_from_across_TowyTHE TIMES of Carmarthenshire County Council meetings will remain the same following a lengthy debate.

Wednesday’s Extraordinary General Meeting was called to discuss the recommendations made by the Cross Party Constitutional Review working group (CRWG).

The council was recommended to undertake a survey by the Welsh Local Government Association.

Following the survey, the CRWG recommended that the majority were in favour of the existing arrangements.

However, that survey only received 44 responses from the 74 councillors.

Many members questioned whether it would be a good idea to hold the meetings at different times to suit other people and allow more to attend.

Cllr Callum Higgins said: “The feedback I have had from people who may have previously stood for council have found it very difficult to commit time to serve in the public. Varying times of council would improve the situation for some people who might be interested in standing but they cannot do so because of work commitments. It’s been this way for a while but it is something that needs to be looked at.”

Cllr Gwyneth Thomas added: “I think we need to be more flexible in order to attract young people. As someone who works part time it is easy to change shifts in order to be here but we have to be more flexible. This is the way it’s always been but it is time that we look at this and review this to try and include people who aren’t in a position to attend meetings.”

Cllr Giles Morgan said: “We could be far more pro-active in the times of meetings, it’s fair to say that we haven’t really tried it and that’s probably because it suits the majority but nobody can tell me we’ve tried it because we haven’t. I’ll be voting against this today because there should have been a half-way house, there should be a handful of meetings at a better time for people who are working.”

Cllr Darren Price told the chamber that he had suggested having late afternoon meetings on the survey but added: “I hadn’t taken on board the suggestion that we could split it and have some meetings in the morning and some in the afternoon. That would certainly help those who work full time.”

Cllr Andrew James added: “We have had 44 replies out of the 74 so if that’s the way it is, we have to listen to democracy. We have to be flexible but we also have to consider that there are just 24 hours in the day, if we are going to give a contribution here and seek the people that we represent, I think we have to remember how can we be at an evening meeting here, when we have meetings within the community. So before we make too many changes be careful what you wish for.”

Cllr Jeff Edmunds said: “What strikes me is what motivates people to become councillors. Why do you sit here? We all knew before we became councillors what that commitment was and I’ve got no preference so evenings could suit me but it could certainly suit a bias of people who work to have it in the evenings. However, that would go against family life and there are people who have other commitments in the evenings as well as their family lives. We become councillors because there is a motivation that drives us to become councillors and that’s not what time we have the meetings, I’m sure that it goes far deeper than that.”

Cllr Emlyn Dole added: “This process is ongoing annually at this council and it can certainly be reviewed again. We are looking at figures here but the biggest disappointment in the figures is that 30 councillors had no preference because they didn’t bother to respond to the survey. I expected 74 responses and that’s when we have the accurate figure.”

Cllr Tom Theophilus said: “During the winter months the members that represent the rural areas could be snow bound and we must remember that the rural areas are not gritted and therefore the roads will be very dangerous to travel at night time so I don’t think it would be wise to have evening meetings during the winter months.”

The majority of members voted in favour of keeping the existing meeting times while three abstained from voting.

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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default

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CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at https://claims.fscs.org.uk Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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