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Disgusted pensioners say ‘enough’ to delays

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screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-10-13-23AN ELDERLY couple, one of whom has dementia, recently contacted The Herald to express concern regarding a number of problems in the bungalow they rent from the County Council. 

Dorothy McDonald of Waun Sidan in Llanelli began by telling The Herald:

“We have had problems with rats since November 2015. We had a flood in our kitchen caused by workmen climbing onto the roof to see where the rats were coming in and dislodging four slates.

“We were unable to use our kitchen for over four weeks while they put in a new ceiling and we had to go out to buy meals during that time.”

Dorothy continued: “Four weeks ago when we came back from a few days with our daughter in London , the smell in the bungalow was terrible. We traced it to coming from the attic. We rang the housing department in Llanelli and they said they would send someone out.

“For four weeks, I kept being told that someone would come out. Nobody ever did. My husband, who is 88 -years-old and has dementia, climbed the ladders and had a look but he couldn’t see and he couldn’t climb across the boards.”

Dorothy said: “I got up on Sunday , August 19 , at 5am to go to the bathroom and it was covered in maggots. I killed them all and washed the floor with bleach. I went and bought some spray for maggots and put that down. I got up early on the Sunday morning to find the bathroom crawling with hundreds of maggots again.”

Speaking about her frustration at not being helped , Dorothy said: “That was the final straw. I just broke down into tears. It was awful.

“I cleaned them all up again. At nine o’clock , I telephoned our local Town Councillor , Ken Edwards. He was great and he came round to the bungalow with his wife.

“I told him we had seen some coming from behind the bath . We pulled the side of the bath away to find under the bath was full of builders ‘ rubble.”

With the help of Councillor Ken Edwards , they contacted Carmarthenshire County Council. Dorothy said : “Someone called me straight away and he was really helpful. He said he could hear I was upset and he would get some one out as soon as he could. By 11 o’clock , a contractor arrived and he went up in the attic and at the very far side was what he described as a very large rat which had been dead for some time and it was crawling with maggots.

“He cleared all the area and he said that the workmen who did the ceiling had not finished the job there was also problems with the wiring. He said the rats were coming in under the eaves at the far corner.

Dorothy expressed her disgust at having to pay the full rent and community charge for a bungalow that is not fit to live in. She said : “If the bungalow had been rented out by a private landlord , they would be prosecuted.”

Dorothy says she is now seeking compensation for the distress and inconvenience as well as the money she has spent herself : “I have gone through the press because I want to show the manner in which Carmarthenshire County Council treat their elderly tenants.”

The Herald visited Dorothy’s bungalow on Wednesday (Aug 31). It was difficult to remain inside the bungalow for more than couple of minutes due to the overpowering smell of what can only be described as a rotting corpse. We saw for ourselves the pile of rubble left under the bath by contractors.

Dorothy told us : “The council workmen were supposed to come out at 8am yesterday. They did not arrive. After spending hours on the phone to them , they told me some one would be here in the next seven days. I told them I had enough ; I am near breaking point and was going to the press.”

We asked the Council to comment, but no response to our request was received in time for inclusion.

Head of Housing and Public Protection, Robin Staines, said: “An issue with rats at 13 Waun Sidan and neighbouring properties was resolved in April this year. Mrs McDonald reported this latest problem to us last week and a contractor has visited and laid bait. The drains have also been surveyed and no defects found. The contractor has reported that there may be a new access point to the loft at the properties, and as such, scaffolding will now be erected for roofers to seal off these points. “On the matter in the bathroom, rubble has been removed from behind the bath and works will be carried out to amend any damage. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will be agreeing recompense.”

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Deliveroo launches in Llanelli ahead of planned date

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FOOD delivery company Deliveroo has announced its early launch in Llanelli this week. According to Deliveroo, the company has brought forward the launch by weeks in order to help restaurants and customers through lockdown. This means that locals can now order food from a range of restaurants and grocery retailers in the local area. 

Deliveroo is an app and website that enables Brits to check out the very best local food in their area. The British company has seen great success and is now available in 12 different markets across the world. Deliveroo works with both the best independent restaurants like Best Pizza and Kebab House, Harry Watkins and Tinworks Brewery, well-known high street favourites like KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut as well as grocery retailers and convenience stores such as Co-op (see Editor’s Notes below for full list available on Deliveroo in Llanelli).

The food delivery company will continue to add new local restaurants, takeaways and convenience stores to the platform over the coming months, with the likes of Nando’s joining Deliveroo as lockdown eases. Apply here to become a Deliveroo partner. 

 The food delivery company is also giving customers 20% off orders for the next four weeks with code: LLANELLI10

The launch will be a major boost to small restaurant businesses across Llanelli who will be able to reach new customers and grow their restaurant businesses through offering delivery.  

Working with Deliveroo increases restaurants’ sales as they can reach a wider range of customers. This enables restaurants to expand their businesses, often employing more staff, broadening their menus and lengthening opening times as a result. 

Deliveroo will be looking for up to 50 people in Llanelli to become riders. Those who work as riders will be able to work when they want and where they want, delivering food and groceries to customers’ doors in as little as 20 minutes. 

This comes as Deliveroo will also be extending further into the suburbs of existing cities or towns that it currently operates in. The drive behind the rapid expansion is underpinned by the company’s belief that people in every part of the UK should have access to amazing meals wherever and whenever they want them.

Harrison Foster, Regional Director in the UK: “Launching in Llanelli is a key milestone for Deliveroo. Llanelli has a thriving foodie community and a wide range of restaurants and retailers, so we’re excited to connect them. We look forward to working with our new partners to reach a new customer base and expand their businesses.”

Deliveroo is focused on providing the ultimate food delivery experience. Customers have the option to schedule orders via the Deliveroo app up to one day in advance or receive food as soon as possible between 11.30am and 11pm on weekdays and 11.30am and 11pm on weekends, from a variety of independent eateries, traditional takeaways, high-quality chain restaurants as well as grocery retailers.   

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Lifeline for cockle-gathers could be on the way after Llangennech rail crash

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Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones has raised the impact on cockle-gathers of the Llangennech derailment last year.

She received an assurance from the First Minister that the Welsh Government was looking at way to help the cockle industry.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister, Helen Mary Jones MS said:

“In the Senedd I congratulated the public services for the way they co-operated around the clean-up after the Llangennech derailment, which, so far, has been very successful. I demanded a life-line scheme to help the cockle gathers.

“I raised with the First Minister issues for two groups of businesses particularly badly affected in the short-term by the derailment. 

“One of those was the very important cockle-gathering industry, the other, of course, were farmers who graze animals on those low-lying banks by the river. 

“There has been a request for the Welsh Government to consider whether some interim financial support might be made available to the cockle gatherers and the grazers while responsibility for the derailment and long-term compensation becomes a possibility. Many of these are small businesses; they operate on quite low margins and currently in difficult circumstances.

“The First Minister emphasised he was aware of the impact on cockle gatherers and particularly that they were unable to carry out their normal activities while the level of environmental contaminants in the estuary were being surveyed.

“Plaid Cymru believes it must be the polluter in the end that must pay for the damage that has been caused, but the rail accident investigation branch work is not coming to a conclusion quickly.

“The Welsh Government is expecting to receive advice in the next few days whether or not it is possible to devise a scheme through the Welsh Government in which some interim assistance to those industries could be supplied.

“The Welsh Government is keen to obtain that advice from officials in case it is possible, before the rail accident investigation is completed, so they can offer some assistance to those who have been most directly affected.”

The environmental impact of the Llangennech derailment last year was amongst the most significant in Wales since the Sea Empress disaster of 25 years ago. 

Monitoring of the site and surrounding area, which includes four sites of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation will continue for many years to come.

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UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery

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LLANELLI Labour representatives are urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.

Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith and MS Lee Waters set out Wales’ priorities ahead of the UK Budget on Wednesday March 3 2021.

They are urging the UK Government to make a series of commitments to Wales, including:

• sustaining UK-wide business support
• delivering welfare and taxation measures to support the most vulnerable
• redressing the historical under investment in Wales on research and development and rail infrastructure
• providing an injection of funding to support the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions
• providing guarantees for Wales’ specific funding pressures

Speaking ahead of the UK Budget announcement, Nia Griffith MP reiterated her calls for continued business support for those on the lowest of incomes. She said:  

“It is vital that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are retained – not threatened with being removed at the eleventh hour and putting livelihoods at risk. A delay to repayments should also be introduced for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with recognition given to the self-employed who are facing deferred bills.”

“It is also vital that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit is maintained and put on a permanent basis, making it available to people in receipt of legacy means-tested benefits. More than 300,000 families in Wales have benefitted from an extra £1,000 a year as a result of the uplift and removing this now would have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on thousands of households across Wales.”

Lee Waters MS said:

“The UK Government should continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in Wales’ infrastructure and public services. Particularly on rail, where we have been underfunded to the tune of billions since the start of devolution, this is the moment where Rishi Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to ‘levelling up’ all four nations of the UK.”

“This budget is a chance to hardwire a greener, fairer way of doing things into our recovery from Coronavirus. We are ambitious about our target of being Net Zero carbon by 2050, and averting the climate crisis which is increasingly affecting Wales through flooding. But to make that transition, we need a step change from the UK Government’s budget that allows us to invest in renewable energy and green jobs.”

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