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Plaid’s vision for Carmarthenshire

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Cllr Dai Jenkins: Plaid will invest in Carmarthenshire

Cllr Dai Jenkins: Plaid will invest in Carmarthenshire

PLAID CYMRU have decided to use some of the County Council’s nine-figure reserves to invest in a strategy to create jobs and improve the standard of living in Carmarthenshire.

That’s according to a press release from Plaid Cymru received by The Herald this morning.

The release reveals that since taking over the leadership of the county council from Labour in May, Plaid has been analysing the council’s substantial capital reserves and is not prepared to just sit on them.

As a result, almost £20m will be released from those reserves towards projects right across the county.

The £20m committed, together with grant aid and match funding, will enable expenditure over the next five years on a number of major projects which will create jobs and improve the quality of life of people in Carmarthenshire.

The projects include:

  • The much-needed renovation of Carmarthenshire Museum at Abergwili
  • Provide a new archive for the county (in possible partnership): £2m
  • Extend Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery as focal point of King Street ‘cultural quarter’: £750k
  • New circular cycle track at Pembrey Country Park : £500k
  • Contribution towards restoring Carmarthen park Velodrome as a major cycling venue: £286k
  • Carmarthen-Llandeilo cycling and walking track: £5.75m
  • Cross Hands economic Link Road – Phase 2: £12.3m
  • Upgrade and new attractions at Pembrey Country Park: £1m
  • New care home in Llanelli: £12.5m
  • Disabled Facility Grants to help older and vulnerable people to live in their own homes: £10m
  • Glanaman Industrial Estate refurbishment: £1m
  • Renovate Llanelli Market: £300k
  • Rural Enterprise Fund to help enterprises create jobs and economic growth: £2m

Plaid says the above are IN ADDITION to tens of millions of pounds to be spent on new schools and a large number of other capital projects.

“Since taking over control of the council in May, in alliance with the Independent group, we’ve been analysing the reserves in detail and have established that almost £20m could be released for much-needed capital projects,” said Cllr Dai Jenkins, Plaid Cymru’s deputy-leader of council and Executive Board Member for Resources (pictured).

“People may ask why we don’t use these reserves to offset cuts in services – a course of action advocated by Plaid last year. But the truth is, at that time, due to lack of vision by the Labour-led administration, it was unclear why there was so much money in reserves and what use could be made of it. Some of it may be spent on off-setting cuts to services, but most of the money will be invested in a detailed strategy to create jobs and improve standards of living.

“With council reorganisation on the horizon, it’s imperative that we spend the money raised in our county for the future benefit of Carmarthenshire,” said Cllr Jenkins. “Plaid has a clear vision for our county’s future – and the means to deliver it.”

Earlier this year, Council Chief Executive Mark James was controversially given editorial space in one newspaper to slate Plaid Cymru’s plans to use the Council’s capital reserves to alleviate the impact of cuts on Carmarthenshire’s population. That intervention caused widespread disquiet about the appropriateness of Mr James’s intervention in political debate.

It appears that members of the Plaid Cymru group, after a difficult first few months in power with the Independent group, have flexed their own political muscles in an attempt to deliver the sort of improvements they favoured while in opposition.

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Station Road: Off-licence refused alcohol licence

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AN OFF-LICENCE on Llanelli’s Station Road has been refused an alcohol licence by Carmarthenshire County Council after councillors decided it could add to the area’s crime and disorder problems.

The Licensing Committee’s decision has been upheld after the applicant, who runs the shop Kubus, appealed to the courts.

The applicant, Aram Mahmood, had asked the council for permission to sell alcohol at his shop between 9am and 9pm Monday to Sunday.

However councillors felt that granting the licence would contravene the authority’s Cumulative Impact Policy, which creates a presumption against the granting of premises licences in the Station Road area, due to anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled crime issues.

A Dyfed Powys Police representative said Station Road is still identified as a crime and disorder hot spot, and a Drinking in Public Places Order (DPPO) is in place.

During April 2017 and March 2018, 164 anti-social behaviour incidents were recorded in Station Road, over a quarter having occurred within licensed premises.

A fifth of all related crime and 13 per cent of all alcohol related anti-social behavior incidents recorded in Llanelli town occurred in Station Road.

Over 40 alcohol related violent crimes were also recorded there during the same period.

Although there are now fewer premises selling alcohol in Station Road, statistics show there is still a high level of alcohol related crime and disorder in the area.

The applicant told the committee that his main customers were families wishing to buy Polish and European foods and products.

He told councillors he had ordered a CCTV system and assured them that the management of alcohol would be well controlled by staff, though believed that his customers would not cause problems.

The licensing committee’s decision was upheld following the applicant’s appeal to Llanelli Magistrates Court.

Justices found that there was no evidence of exceptional reasons to justify departing from the Cumulative Impact Policy and were satisfied with the committee’s decision.

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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