IT 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.
Station Road: Off-licence refused alcohol licence
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.
Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman
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.
‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’
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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