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Hendy: Site bulldozed before objections are heard

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Concerned: Nia Griffiths MP

Concerned: Nia Griffiths MP

BULLDOZERS have moved in to demolish hedgerows, take up kerbs and cut down trees to make a new access for a proposed new building development near the Llwynbedw estate in Hendy, Carmarthenshire.

Residents contacted The Herald on Friday (Oct 23) to visit the estate as they were concerned that the contractors were in breach of planning procedures. Hedgerows are protected Under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 (SI no 1160): It is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows (excluding those forming garden boundaries) without permission.

Residents told The Herald that Persimmon Homes has instructed contractors to move onto the site and begin clearing but that the planning process has not been completed. A sign on a nearby lamp post cited the date for closure for objections as 4/11/2015 Residents also claim that the new access to the site was not on the original plans they were privy to. Around 15 residents gathered at the site last Friday along with Nia Griffith MP and Lee Waters, the prospective AM for Llanelli. Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning department has been called into question yet again by the residents of the Llwynbedw estate who say that their requests for a planning enforcement officer to come out and see what was going on were ignored. Lee Waters said, “This company (Persimmon Homes) is a stock market quoted company a major home builder and they seem to be not complying with local planning permission, knocking down hedges, starting building before the planning process has taken its course. Here is an example where a company has clearly not obeyed the rules and it is for Carmarthenshire County Council to restore people’s faith in the planning process.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Nia Griffith MP told The Herald, “I think it is absolutely terrible when people wake up one morning to see machines tearing up the hedgerows and roadway assuming that they are going to get planning permission. There are proper processes. This should be going to a planning committee and it should be considered. All of the residents objections should be taken into consideration. An officers report would be produced and a sensible decision made with all of the evidence. When people are allowed to ride roughshod over the rules it opens the flood gates for others to do the same. My concern here is we have not yet seen the enforcement officers coming out to see what is going on. They should be on this like a tonne of hot bricks and really making sure that they keep on top of the situation and make sure that people can not get away with building without planning permission. People believe that there is a lack of consistency and that there is one rule for one and one rule for another. Their voices are not being listened to. I think it (Carmarthenshire’s Planning Dept) is going to have to do a lot to regain the public’s trust. There is a rumour going around that you can do anything in Carmarthenshire and you will get retrospective planning given to you.”

Huw Llewellyn, managing director for Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We can confirm that we carried out work at a site in Llwyn Bedw, Hendy.  This was preparation work for the development to divert existing overhead electricity and BT telephone wires, the work was undertaken utilising statutory undertakers’ powers and was not reliant on the planning approval.

Carmarthenshire County Council is aware of the work that has been undertaken and we have been in full dialogue with the authority. An agreement is in place that no further work is to be carried out before the completion of Section 106 agreement which will release the planning approval for the new development.”

In a statement by Carmarthenshire County Council Development Management Manager Julian Edwards he said, “The planning department has been made aware of works being carried out at the site in question, and the developers have been contacted to advise them that any works that constitute development, or the removal of any trees, should cease with immediate effect. The site will continue to be monitored accordingly, with the authority considering what action will be relevant and expedient. Additional works on the land, for example the raising or diverting of power lines, would not necessarily constitute development requiring formal approval, although the authority will monitor this element as well.”

Planning application S/31228 for the construction of 96 dwelling houses and associated infrastructure works was submitted by Persimmon homes in October 2014, and was publicised both in the local press and by means of site notices. Subsequent notices have also been displayed when amended details have been received, the most recent of which took place only last week. As yet, no target date has been set for consideration of the planning application.”

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Tip off leads to pensioner’s drug stash

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A BRIEFCASE full of drugs has been recovered during a raid in Swansea suburb.
Police acting on information provided by a member of the public executed a warrant in Gorseinon and recovered a large quantity of cannabis.
A man was arrested on suspicion of possession of the class B drug, with intent to supply.
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “At around 5.40pm on Wednesday, January 6, following an intelligence led operation, a 68 year-old man from Gorseinon was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis.
“He was taken to Swansea central police station for questioning. He has been released under investigation”.

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New Year – new start – for two seals released back into the wild

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Two grey seal pups have been returned to the wild for the New Year following months of RSPCA rehabilitation.

They were released at Port Eynon, Gower, Swansea, on 3 January as the sun rose – just days into 2021 – by  RSPCA animal rescue officer Ellie West and RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben – who caught the beautiful event on camera. One seal had been originally rescued from Abereiddy in Pembrokeshire – the other from Trevone in Cornwall. They were both found in distress, underweight and with injuries.

Ellie said: “This was such a lovely release – to see them both enter the sea happily where they belong with the sun rising in the distance was just glorious. It was a lovely way to start the new year.”

The seals had been transferred to the Welsh coast from RSPCA Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre in Hastings the previous day and had spent the night at the RSPCA Llys Nini Branch seal unit.

“These two pups – nicknamed BB8 and Luke Skywaker – have been in the fantastic care of RSPCA Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre who have given them the best rehabilitation over the past few months. It’s always fantastic to hear when they have put on the appropriate weight and can be released back into the wild,” added Ellie.

Ellie had been involved in the initial care of the seal rescued from Abereiddy Beach back in October.

“He was a weaned pup that had pretty much moulted out all his baby white lanugo coat, so he was fully weaned, but he was found quite underweight, lethargic and had the snotty face of a sickly pup,” she said. “He also had a lump on the top of his neck.

“He was reported to myself and Keith and we asked Welsh Marine Life Rescue (WMLR) to attend who very kindly collected him and cared for him for a few days until we were able to transfer him to the wildlife centre.

“Once again we want to thank WMLR for all their assistance, expertise and all their hard work this past season. We could not do what we do without them.”

At RSPCA Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre the seal had the lump removed under anaesthetic by the vet team.

The second seal from Cornwall came into RSPCA care in November and weighed just 16.3kg. The seal had suffered a few small wounds and was a bit wheezy, with centre staff treating him for lungworm and administering antibiotics. When he left the centre the seal – who was named Luke Skywalker – weighed a healthy 40kg.

Before release, the seals were given identification tags in their hind flippers for ID purposes. The RSPCA often receives good feedback from sightings – and the scientific results received reveal that seals that go on from rehabilitation survive in the wild.

The RSPCA advises that if members of the public spot a seal on a beach that they think might need help, the best thing is to observe them from a distance and do not approach them.

Seals are wild animals and have a nasty bite. Never try to return a seal to water yourself, as you may put yourselves and the seal at risk by doing this. It is also advised they keep dogs away from any seal and keep them on leads on beaches that have seal colonies too.

It’s not unusual for a seal pup to be alone, as seal mums leave their pups very early on in life. So if the seal pup looks fit and healthy and shows no signs of distress, it should firstly be monitored from a safe distance for 24 hours.

If you see a pup whose mother hasn’t returned within 24 hours, is on a busy public beach, or if you think the seal may be sick or injured, please stay at a safe distance and call the RSPCA’s advice and cruelty line on 0300 1234 999. An unhealthy seal pup looks thin (but not bony) with a visible neck, like a dog.

There is more information on the RSPCA website about what to do if you see a seal or pup on the beach alone.

If you have an animal welfare concern or find an animal in distress please call 0300 1234 999.

This winter, the RSPCA expects to rescue thousands of animals from neglect, cruelty and suffering. Already this Christmas we received more than 44,000 calls to our cruelty line but the calls to our rescue line are not stopping so neither will we. To help our rescue teams continue to reach the animals who desperately need us this winter, visit www.rspca.org.uk/xmas and Join the Winter Rescue #JoinTheRescue

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Community Midwife home for Christmas after 85 day battle with COVID-19

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SHARON GEGGUS, a community midwife from Llanelli is home for the holidays after a three month battle with coronavirus.
Sharon began to feel unwell in September, experiencing shortness of breath and a high temperature.
As these symptoms persisted and her condition began to worsen, she was admitted to Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli on 16 September, with a temperature of 41°C.During her stay, she credits the support of her family and the staff at Prince Philip Hospital for helping her get through the ordeal. Speaking of her experience in hospital, Sharon says: “I was sedated for about five weeks, but I was told that the staff were playing music for me. They had contacted my family to find out what my favourite songs were, and they would play those.
“It was really hard but the hardest times I didn’t really know about – my family were the people going through it. I can’t stress how well the staff looked after me. I used the iPads provided through the hospital to keep in contact with my family and the staff would also help me phone and communicate with my family.  
“The ITU staff and the staff on Ward 9 where I went for rehabilitation were amazing. I’m a community midwife myself and I would obviously treat someone how I wanted to be treated – but they really went above and beyond.
They would sit and chat with me when I was feeling down and they made sure I was in contact with my family all the time, even letting me hang up pictures of my family on my wall.”
Sharon was clapped out of the hospital on 10 December, 85 days after being admitted. Even though she is home, the road to recovery isn’t over.
She says: “There’s still a long way to go but I’m getting there. I can get around using a walking frame and only need oxygen when I’m really moving about. It’s so nice to be home, I think you just sort of relax a bit and move around more and just feel better for being back with your family.”
Reflecting on her experience, Sharon offered this advice to others with COVID-19: “Keep in touch with your family as much as you possibly can, it’s what got me through. I wouldn’t really know what else to say, just keep positive and keep in touch with your loved ones, that’s what really helps.”
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