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Parc Howard: Call for chair to resign

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Controversial: Ken Rees

Controversial: Meeting chair Ken Rees

AT A MEETING of the Parc Howard Association on Tuesday (Jul 14), Ken Rees survived a vote of no confidence in his leadership on the casting vote of the Association’s vice chair. Mr Rees was allowed to vote for himself in the ballot, which showed the depth of divisions in the Association’s committee.

After the meeting, Parc Howard Association member Catriona Waldron, who backed the calls for the one time UKIP candidate to step down, contacted the Herald.

Ms Waldron detailed the process of voting on the night and told the Herald: “I didn’t expect to win and I didn’t. The vote was close, 5 for and 5 against. Margaret Gimblett, the vice-chairman (who was in the chair) used her casting vote for Ken Rees. Ken was allowed to vote for himself. It was all extraordinarily unpleasant.”

Ms Waldron explained: “Ken was entirely unrepentant; he said he had been acting in the best interests of the park and the people of Llanelli and he was supported without reservation in this by the Association’s ‘old guard. Eldon Phillips, our press secretary (where has he been for the last two months?) left the meeting, declining to participate in such controversial proceedings on the grounds that he is a clergyman. Another committee member lost his temper and shouted at me ‘none of this matters anyway.”

The fact that Ken Rees remains chairman appears to leave the way open for him to continue negotiations with a company, which, as The Herald exposed has no track record of heritage development, despite the many claims it has made to the contrary to the County Council.

It appears that there has been some reigning in of Mr Rees by the association. Phil Lawler, the Association’s secretary, has written to Ken Rees and told him that if he ever attends meetings with Loca Ventures Ltd that he should not present himself as representing the Parc Howard Association.

Loca Ventures Ltd were the company purportedly offering to take over Parc Howard and turn it into a wedding venue.

The Herald exposed a number of issues surrounding this company including their rocky financial background, their offer of remuneration for individuals on the Parc Howard Association and their apparent links with a Sharia Law centre in Nuneaton. Central to the deal appears to be Nick Spysznyk who the Herald exposed (June 19) as the main person in negotiations with council officials regarding the future of Parc Howard and subsequent proposals for the development of Ffoslas and the Pembrey Country Park.

Mr Spysznyk appears to have been in negotiations with Carmarthenshire County Council officers Wendy Walters and Jonathan Fearn as far back as May this year while local elected council members were kept in the dark.

During the public meeting at Parc Howard (June 6) people attempted to ask Ken Rees questions over his involvement in clandestine meetings with Loca Ventures Ltd as well as his attempts to influence a public meeting where an ‘introducer’ for Loca Ventures Ltd, Tony Rees, was in the audience.

At that meeting Ms Waldron was constantly interrupted by the chair when she attempted to expose the chair’s involvement with Loca Venture. Mr Rees banged his gavel on the table constantly and at one point Ms Waldron was only allowed to speak following the insistence of Councillor Jan Williams that her questions must be heard.

In a telephone call to the Herald Ms Waldron said that the committee meeting (July 14) was farcical and resembled a soap opera. Asked why she was calling for the resignation of Mr. Rees she said: “This was something I felt I had to do, having said publicly in the meeting in the mansion house that I would call for his resignation. A lot of people have watched your (Herald) video online and asked me when I was going to do it.”

Mr Waldron explained she was not alone in her incredulity about the actions of the Association chairman and his close associates on its Committee.

Ms Waldron told the Herald: “I will resign now and sadly the new people that I had persuaded to join the committee – Phillip Lawler, who is a professor of Economics, David Phillips, a lawyer and judge and Hugh Davie, a Museums Officer in Swansea – people who I thought would bring some expertise and campaigning zeal to the committee have said that they will not stand again at the AGM in September. They have had enough. Most of the committee’s activity consists in correcting minutes and we have been made to feel that we are outsiders. We in fact join a long list of people who have joined the committee over the last few years and left, marginalised by the Officers (as they always call themselves) and despairing of achieving anything. The PHA committee is really a self-serving and self-perpetuating clique and I no longer think that it is capable of acting as a vehicle to campaign for the park.”

Ms Waldron told us she had asked for documents relating to a company known as ‘KMS’, a company associated with Loca Ventures Ltd, as did Cllr Bill Thomas. Their requests were refused.

Ms Waldron summed up her feelings on events surrounding the less than transparent approach of the Parc Howard Association and her future aspirations for the park. Ms Waldron said: “I actually feel liberated to campaign for the park. There is a group of volunteers meeting on Saturdays to clear the rose garden and I shall be helping out with Nia’s (Griffith) petition and ‘Support the Park’ day on July 25th when I intend to have a dog petition – they use the park, so they can bark for the park. We will be photographing paw prints and raising a contribution to the fighting fund.”

Ms Waldron closed by complimenting The Herald for its coverage of events at Parc Howard.

She concluded: “I’m getting on the train to London to visit my son in half an hour. I have to take the Llanelli Herald with me these days – he is very impressed. When I showed him the edition with the revelations about the sheikh, he couldn’t believe it. Gavin is an economist at the House of Commons. “Mum, he said, “It’s far more exciting than Westminster!”

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Councillors campaign to ditch single-use plastics

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TWO Llanelli councillors have put aside party politics to press the Town Council to ditch single-use plastics, which includes products like plastic bottles, coffee cups and lids, plastic cutlery, straws and plastic stirrers.

Cllr Siôn Davies, a Conservative, and Cllr Sara Griffiths, an Independent, have submitted a joint motion to Llanelli Town Council to do away with single-use plastic products, encourage plastic free initiatives and ensure recycling routes are available to capture plastic waste.

Cllr Sara Griffiths, who represents the Lliedi ward, said:

“Single-use plastics are only used once before they’re thrown away.

“They’re not biodegradable and if they end up in a landfill, they can release toxic chemicals which can make their way into our food and water supply.

“It’s obvious we need to use less plastic and move towards more sustainable alternatives.

“It would be fantastic if Llanelli Town Council could lead the way and remove single-use plastics from our premises and encourage plastic free initiatives.”

The motion, which has been put forward to the July meeting of Llanelli Town Council, will need to be passed by a majority of the council’s 22 members.

If passed, Llanelli Town Council will also boycott plastic ‘food-on-the-go’ packaging, plastic bags, plastic drinking cups and condiment sachets.

Cllr Siôn Davies, who represents the Elli ward, said:

“Llanelli Town Council has a golden opportunity to lead by example.

“We have the chance to inspire others – local businesses and community organisations – to take similar action.

“Cutting out single-use plastics could go a long way to encourage local groups and organisations to ditch single-use plastics themselves.

“What we want, and what I think most of the general public want, is for us to work together cross-party to take action and solve the problems facing Llanelli.”

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Logic festival is back with a bigger and better line up

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FANS of dance music in South Wales are in for a real treat this year as Logic Festival is returnins to Swansea on Saturday September 7.

The festival is now in its fourth year, and this time its bigger and better with bigger name DJs, more arenas and three licenced bars to keep you refreshed and ready to party. New for 2019 there are also six arenas of which one is a chill out area and the bigger name DJ’s make this the best event that Wales has to offer, without a doubt.

For those of you that know the Logic Festival history it will come as no surprise that the owners have gone all out for 2019 to bring a diverse line up of world class DJs playing alongside the best that Wales has to offer in DJ talent, with some returning names that had such a great time in 2018 that they just had to come again and witness the legendary Logic Festival atmosphere for themselves, first hand.

Returning this year are headliners in the both the Trance and Hard Dance arena’s, Judge Jules and Darren Styles. Making first appearances in the Trance Arena are Dance Anthems legend Dave Pearce, German superstar Scot Project and all the way from Israel is BLiSS the DJ/ guitarist who jams along to his own tracks! Not to be outdone the Hard Dance arena features sets from UK hard dance legend Andy Whitby and flying in from Germany is the infamous Uberdruck. He will be playing alongside two Italian Hardstyle titans Technoboy and Francesco Zeta who again have flown in specially for Logic Festival 4.

And completely new for 2019 is the Clubland Classix arena where revellers can hear some of the biggest and best dance anthems ever made being played by the likes of: Ian Van Dahl who will be performing a live PA, and DJ sets from N – Trance, 4 Strings, Flip and Fill, Breeze and Scott Brown. This is a welsh festival exclusive so don’t miss out on the only chance you will get in 2019 to see so many heroes of Clubland all under one roof.

With a bigger line up, comes a higher capacity and more amenities for the public like two extra bars that have been custom built to stop the bottleneck effect that the extra numbers will bring with the event, more toilets on site so that queuing can be avoided and for the first time ever, a proper chill out arena has been added playing laid back vibes all day which has been inspired by the Balearic sound of ibiza, the party capital of Europe.

When asked to comment on all of the new improvements, the festival organiser and Logic brand owner Jason Pufal said: “No expense has been spared this year to make Logic Festival 4 the best event it could possibly be, as a thank you to all of the loyal customers who come every year and make the event so special.”

“In preparation for the bigger crowd that we are expecting this year, due to the fact that we have in effect supersized Logic Festival 4, everything about the event will be improved for 2019 and we are greatly looking forward to opening the gates for 12 hours of solid dance music based entertainment.”

So if you want to witness the best in dance music in six fully covered arenas in 2019, there is only one destination to head for and that is: Logic Festival 4, Ynysforgan Farm, Morriston, Swansea on Saturday September 7th, with the gates opening at 11am. We hope to see you there amongst a crowd of thousands!

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Innovative Llanelli school’s quality recognised by major award

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CLOSE to a year after its official opening, a state-of-the-art Llanelli school has been recognised for excellence.

Ysgol Pen Rhos, a £10.2 million primary school in the Seaside area of the town, was highly commended in the school project of the year category at the prestigious Education Buildings Wales Awards.

Officially opened in June 2018, the school features facilities including a flying start nursery, solar panels and classroom terraces for outdoor lessons.

A 3G pitch has also been made available for school and community use, as well as hard and soft landscaping areas. Features including brickwork and pitched roofs have been incorporated to reflect the industrial heritage of a neighbouring terrace of houses, alongside the use of more contemporary features like metal and wooden cladding. The project also delivered community benefits including training and local employment.

Ysgol Pen Rhos was funded by Carmarthenshire County Council’s Modernising Education Programme and the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools initiative.

The school was initially developed and then delivered and project managed by Carmarthenshire County Council’s in-house Property Design Team, working with HLM Architects. Ysggol Pen Rhos was constructed by T Richard Jones (Betws) Ltd.

Created from the merger of the former Copperworks Infant Nursery School and Lakefield Primary School, Ysgol Pen Rhos caters for 420 pupils and 60 nursery children.

Cllr David Jenkins, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Resources, said: “Receiving an award for the quality of the school’s design and build is worthy recognition for an outstanding team effort that involved the council and its partners, as well as staff and pupils.

“The inclusion of environmentally friendly features also means the school will be sustainable for many years to come, with the availability of outdoor learning and landscaped areas sure to inspire pupils now and in future.

“This work has led to a facility that provides a world class learning environment, while celebrating Llanelli’s rich industrial heritage.

“Ysgol Pen Rhos is among many completed or planned projects in Carmarthenshire that show how seriously we take our commitment to providing the county’s children and communities with top quality facilities that meet the needs of the 21st century.”

Joe Cudd, Head Teacher of Ysgol Pen Rhos, said: “This award recognises the hard work of an exceptional team of people. Ysgol Pen Rhos is a wonderful place to learn.

“Our school is at the heart of the Seaside community and a place where we can realise our children’s dreams. We hold 480 futures at Ysgol Pen Rhos in a building that inspires, nurtures and is filled with the voices of the future.”

Ysgol Pen Rhos is located on the regenerated site of the former Copperworks Sport & Social Club and the Draka wire factory.

Other schools in the Llanelli area which are expected to be on the move in future include Ysgol Heol Goffa, which is relocating to a new facility at an adjoining site to Ysgol Pen Rhos.

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