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Big ambitions for Burry Port

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Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 13.47.02IT SEEMS that there are grand plans for the estuary town of Burry Port.

The Burry Inlet is a large estuarine complex located between the Gower Peninsula and Llanelli. The site contains the largest continuous area of saltmarsh in Wales (2,200 ha) and regularly supports large numbers of overwintering wildfowl and waders that feed in the saltmarshes and on the intertidal areas.

If you believe internet searches and Council planning announcements, the town and surrounding area is to become a vibrant and modern space in which people can enjoy working, living and playing. An environment where stylish and contemporary office buildings, attractive housing developments, as well as lively restaurants, bars, theatres and a wealth of other cultural and leisure facilities, sit comfortably together around expanses of sparkling water and lush green parkland.

There appear to be ample business opportunities for local people according to one website (llanelli-waterside.co.uk), The Herald discovered via the Swansea Bay Region website, which appears to be owned by Carmarthenshire County Council.

Llanelli Waterside claims that opportunities at Burry Port are diverse: including retail, leisure, commercial, tourism and that they all nestle side by side in this seaside town.

Enviably placed in more ways than one, Burry Port can allow the canny investor to achieve not just a good return but to have a position in one of the most up and coming areas in the UK.

A VIEW FROM ABOVE

The Herald took a morning out of the office to take in the estuary air at Burry Port and visited the prospective sites of Delta Lakes and Burry Port.

Delta Lakes looks like any industrial park dotted around Wales. Grey metal clad buildings within a fenced compound with a variety of small businesses occupying the largely windowless buildings.

The surrounding land and ponds appeared to be supporting a lot of wildlife. However, there was no view from the Delta Lakes estate other than the rising sand dunes and overgrowth which was some height above the proposed development area. A variety of drainage channels ran in all directions and supported reed growth, which one would imagine were doing a grand job of absorbing water. It really is one of natures natural sponges as it stands. As the risk of flooding low lying areas has been thrown in to sharp focus by recent events, this might be a consideration worth taking into account before any future development.

The website details developments at North Dock in Llanelli stating: “At the head of the dock lie the immediate development opportunities suitable for commercial uses such as a café bar, restaurant and a landmark hotel. These will create a lively visual focus from the bridge accessing the dock and generate linkages further west along Llanelli Waterside into the wider leisure and recreation developments at Old Castle Works.”

The website makes it all sound so tempting and to top it all the information states that “Delta Lakes is one of the few sites across South West Wales to be eligible for the South West Wales Property Development Fund. The aim of the Fund is to develop high-quality commercial ‘BREEAM Excellent’ buildings in the region.” There is also the final sales pitch, which should seal it for any canny investor. “The Fund can provide up to 50% of the costs to investors and developers for speculative projects.”

We drove on to Burry Port where a number of small independent shops still line the main high street. The banks have closed but there was a Natwest van in a car park, which appeared to be dispensing money.

The train station is ideally located for those living in the pretty new estates and the old original cottages to commute to where the jobs and universities are located or even jump on and head for the bright lights of London – or even Llanelli.

A BUSY TOWN

There were some empty premises but in general Burry Port was thriving. The website goes on to explain that “Investment has been made in infrastructure and transport to make the area more accessible and now provides perfect access into the Pembrey peninsular which now hosts attractions such as Beach Break Live and Ffos Las racecourse.

The Herald enjoyed the morning out at Burry Port but could no help wondering where the children of the families from all these new homes in the new Carmarthenshire Shangri-La would play football, rugby or cricket. What steps would be taken to ensure those facilities remained for the occupiers of new homes on the old zinc oxide works and the bijou apartments for artisans and craftsmen?

More on that next week, as we interview one lady who is struggling to keep open one of the town’s play areas, even taking home play equipment to fix herself.

We will be looking at whether resources for the existing infrastructure and community notwithstanding, including flood defences, should be prioritised before any new executive developments for the benefit of offshore investors is built.

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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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