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Councillors discuss derelict buildings

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derelictCARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL (CCC) recently convened joint meeting of its Community Scrutiny and Planning committees to discuss how the local authority deals with properties in a state of disrepair, including buildings of historic interest.

They received a report relating to the monitoring of an Action Plan, including recommendations, from a Task and Finish Review that had been carried out in relation to Enforcement issues.

Councillors discussed whether dilapidated dwellings should be brought back into beneficial use, or whether the council should look at how it advises owners of buildings of historic interest on how to positively manage such buildings.

Members were advised that issues of ensuring the site was secure remained the responsibility of the owner, although the authority would investigate if there were concerns that a building could be classed as dangerous, as defined under the relevant Building Act.

It was noted that management of properties falling into disrepair could potentially fall under different legislative frameworks such as, Building, Planning, Housing and Heritage Acts, depending on the nature of the specific site.

It was agreed that a further update report would be provided to members before the end of the year.

Planning committee Chair, Cllr Alun Lenny, said: “I’m grateful for the work that Cllr Anthony Jones and other members of the Task and Finish Group put into preparing this Action Plan. Taking Enforcement action against owners of buildings for planning or environmental reasons can take a lot of officer time and cause considerable frustration to local members.

“The dilapidated condition of many buildings, ranging from old churches to houses that have been vacant for many years, is a source of great concern to the council and public alike.

“Empty houses are a blight and can have an adverse effect on the appearance of a street. Larger semi-derelict properties, such as chapels and churches, can pose a threat to public safety, but getting the private owners of such properties to take action can prove very difficult and may involve costly legal steps by the local authority.

“On the other hand, I’m delighted to see that the council is taking a proactive approach by bringing empty houses back into use – 135 over the past year alone. Although the process can be a lengthy and costly one, turning an empty house back into a home is a win-win result. It increases the housing stock, saves on building land, creates jobs for local companies and improves the street scene.”

Task and Finish Group Chair, Cllr Anthony Jones, said: “I’d like to thank the Task and Finish Group members and council officers and partners for their work in looking thoroughly at the range of planning enforcement issues.

“We have made 23 recommendations to evolve our enforcement work to assist communities that feel the impact of planning issues,” he said.

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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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