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Council accused of tree neglect

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screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-12-08-36A LLANELLI man has spoken out over what he says is a waste of ratepayer’s money through the neglect of expensive trees planted on council land.

Carl Gower from Llanelli contacted The Herald to express his frustration, claiming that he has been trying to get Carmarthenshire County Council to do something about fallen and neglected trees in Llanelli, as well as issues with rubbish mounting up in back lanes.

Mr Gower told The Herald: “For the past six months, I have been complaining to Carmarthenshire County Council with regard to a very expensive fallen tree at the North Dock, near the Sospan restaurant. I have had no replies, no action and I have been totally ignored by the council.”

Mr Gower, of Old Castle Road, said that he had approached his local County Councillor, John Jenkins, and also that he had approached his AM and MP, but that nothing had been done to date.

Speaking about the fallen tree, he said: “It is a total waste of ratepayers’ money and it is arrogance on the part of the Director Ms Mullins. This tree is worth at least £600 and it is sad to see such a fine tree being left to die through neglect by the council.”

Mr Gower alleges that there are many fine trees in the council remit that are planted and then left to die: “The trees on the Star roundabout are dying, as are many on the Llanelli link road.”

Speaking about what he says is a growing problem with rubbish in the back lanes of Llanelli, he said: “I have also tried in vain to get the Director to give me the council policy on cleaning back lanes. The council are spending large amounts of money on new refuse lorries, which are now unable to take garden waste, and ratepayers are expected to buy a container from the council.

“How are elderly people expected to move the large bins for collection?

“There has been no consultation. The council Directors have a total disrespect for rate payers who fund their large, bloated salaries.”

The Herald contacted Cllr John Jenkins and he gave the following statement: “Carl has highlighted several areas where the County Council have been, at best, slow to respond to his concerns. I have seen the council’s promises to see to his concerns but action is often not forthcoming.

“The case of the uprooted tree in North Dock has been reported as far up the chain as the Director and I agree with Carl that it is a waste of money and a huge frustration that nothing has been done to date.”

The Lliedi Ward councillor went on: “It may seem like a small matter to others but the waste of ratepayers’ money and inaction by the council demonstrates why so many people in Llanelli get frustrated by the council. The Director needs to make good on her promises to my constituent and see to his concerns.”

Cllr Jenkins told The Herald that he was thinking of carrying out some remedial work himself unless something was done.

He said: “I’m half tempted to replace the tree and invoice the council. Carl first brought the tree to the attention of County Council in December 2015. He contacted me in April this year. Short of replacing the tree myself, I don’t know what to do. It’s like hitting your head against a wall with some cases. Why don’t they just see to the tree? I’ve submitted a formal complaint to the council about this tree.”

The Herald contacted Carmarthenshire County Council for a comment.

Environment Director Ruth Mullen told The Herald: “I have arranged to meet with the resident to discuss his concerns. He has also received replies in relation to specific issues he has previously raised regarding street cleansing and trees. Officers are also carrying out an investigation on the tree referred to in his latest email.

“In relation to street cleansing in Llanelli, this is an important priority and we are taking forward a number of actions to develop solutions to some of the long-standing issues, particularly in relation to the back lanes, and also working closely with representatives of the community to resolve some of these issues.

“Our cleansing and enforcement teams will be working more closely together so that rubbish bags and other fly-tipping can be dealt with more quickly and efficiently. We are setting up ‘cleansing zones’ so that officers can take ownership of specific areas and allocate resources based on need; and looking at specific streets/areas with continual litter and fly-tipping problems to carry out a ‘task force day’ approach involving colleagues from other departments, such as public protection and housing. Officers are engaging with the community, and are also looking at the powers available to ensure landlords meet all their responsibilities. We are also working with the police to tackle anti-social behaviour, in particular street drinking.”

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Plans for Cross Hands Health Centre to go before Welsh Government

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AN OUTLINE Business Case for the development of a Wellbeing Centre to be based in Cross Hands is to be resubmitted to Welsh Government, Hywel Dda University Health Board is pleased to announce.

The business case outlines our intention to develop an integrated health and social care network of services for the Amman Gwendraeth area and the construction of a Wellbeing Centre. If approved, the centre will provide a base for health and care services which will accommodate two local GP practices (Tumble and Penygroes), a library, family centre, community pharmacy and also community police support officers and voluntary sector groups.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we deliver some health and care services. Hywel Dda University Health Board has been working with partners and stakeholders to refresh the business case for the development to ensure that these continue to be fit for our population’s health and care needs both now and in the future.  It is anticipated that the Business Case will be resubmitted to Welsh Government in Spring 2022.

Rhian Dawson, Integrated System Director for Hywel Dda University Health Board and Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that we are now able to refocus on the development of the Wellbeing Centre in Cross Hands. This will not only be an asset for Cross Hands but will benefit Carmarthenshire as a whole. While it is unfortunate that the pandemic has delayed our progress, it has also demonstrated the importance of delivering services as close to home as possible.”

It is anticipated that the Centre could potentially be complete in 36 months from the approval of the Outline Business case. 

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Boris Johnson apologises over latest No.10 party revelations saying it was ‘work event’

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THE PRIME MINISTER says he thought party in March was a ‘work event’ but concedes he should have stopped the gathering on May 20, 2020.

In Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday (Jan 12), he apologised to the public and said that “I wish that things had been done differently on that night.”

But Boris Johnson said that Labour will have to wait for the outcome of an inquiry to know the exact details of what happened that night.

Labour Leader, Keir Starmer said Matt Hancock resigned when he broke the rules, and Allegra Stratton resigned for laughing about rule breaking. Why does the PM think the rules don’t apply to him. Boris Johnson says that is not what he said.

Starmer said the PM originally said he had been assured there were no parties. Then the video landed, and he pretended he was sickened by the parties. Now it turns out he was at the parties. Starmer added that it was his opinion that the public think he is “lying through his teeth”.

Tory MPs objected, on the grounds that MPs should not accuse each other of lying. Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, defended Starmer, saying he is talking about what the public think.

Johnson said he does not accept that. He added a laywer should wait for the facts.

Keir Starmer said that he spoke last night to a woman, Hannah, whose father died last May. She met Johnson last year, and Johnson told her that he had done everything possible to protect her dad. Hannah now knows her father’s death certificate was signed on the day of the party. Does the PM understand how she feels?

Johnson said he understands how she feels. He wanted to apologise. But the government has been doing what it can to protect people. It has the most tested population in Europe. And it has had the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, and one of the fastest in the world. Apologising again, the PM said: “Whatever mistakes have been made on my watch, for which I apologise, that is the work that has been going on in Dowing Street.”

Simon Hart MP: We have to get to the bottom of this

Simon Hart, the Welsh Secretary, and MP for South Pembrokeshire and West Carmarthenshire, has become the first cabinet minister to publicly express concerns about the latest partygate revelations.  Simon Hart said this morning: “We’re in the middle of an investigation, that was set up by the PM to get to the bottom and to get to the truth about what was reasonable at the time and what wasn’t. It’s frustrating to have to rely on the investigation and we must be careful to not pre-judge that or what the PM will say in a few minutes’ time.

“The one thing I’m not going to do is make light of something that is unquestionably something of a significant public concern.

“I don’t live on a different planet. The frustration and the hurt and indignation and the incredulity that emerging stories like this produce. I’ve got, like everyone, family and friends asking me these questions. We have to get to the bottom of this.

“Judgment will need to be made about what happens next.”

There is some excellent detail about the No 10 party on 20 May 2020 in the Times today. The paper reports that Martin Reynolds, who sent out the email invitation to around 100 staff as the PM’s principal private secretary, became “panicky” in advance of the event, because staff were concerned it was against the rules, but decided cancelling the event would make things worse. The paper reports: “That afternoon, staff began preparations. A row of tables was set up on one side of the garden to act as a bar. In the garden itself more tables were set up in a layout to encourage people to observe social-distancing rules.

“Officials and advisers began arriving shortly after 6pm. While many stayed away, about 40 came. Many took up Reynolds’ suggestion in his email that they should “BYOB” — bring your own booze — taking a trip to the Tesco Express next to Westminster station. The drinks table was well stocked with gin, rosé, red wine and white wine, and guests began to arrive and mingle.

“Two sources said that the prime minister attended, with one saying he was “wandering round gladhanding people”. His fiancée Carrie Symonds, whom he married last year, also attended and was said to have been drinking with Henry Newman, then an adviser to Michael Gove and now a senior figure in No 10.

“The Times has been told that one senior official at the event joked about the risk of surveillance by drones, which was viewed as a tacit admission that the rules were being breached.”

Police in England issued 118,419 fines for breaking lockdown rules between 27 March 2020 and 17 October last year. That included 800 fines in the week when the No 10 party was held on 20 May 2020.

In London 17,745 fines were issued between March 2020 and October last year, including 113 for holding illegal gatherings of more than 30 people.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, said: “Thousands of Londoners have been fined for flouting lockdown rules during the pandemic. It would be double standards of the worst kind for the police to turn a blind eye when those in No 10 have done the same.”

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards, questioned the British Government on the floor of the House of Commons this week with regard to the ongoing allegations facing the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

Allegations of a party held by government members and officials during May 2020 continue to plague the Conservative administration, with pressure mounting on the British Government over the past few days.

With an investigation into these claims commissioned, Jonathan Edwards MP questioned the government on what they believed would be an appropriate political sanction should the investigation conclude that a party was held and that the Prime Minister, or other Ministers attended.

The response came that it was not appropriate to comment on this hypothetical situation, and that they would await the results of the independent investigation.

Speaking outside the Chamber, Mr Edwards said: “I have been contacted my several constituents in the past few days outlining their shock, their disappointment, and their anger at the current allegations that this Government faces.

The stories they have shared with me of enormous personal sacrifice, of funerals held over video calls, and of elderly family members unable to see their loved ones in the flesh, have been emotionally powerful, and I thank them for sharing those experiences with me.

Should the allegations of Government Ministers attending a party at this very same period prove to be true, it will fly in the face of the collective struggle that everyday people have endured for almost 2 years now, and it will finally confirm what many of us here in Wales have already theorised: that the political ruling class in Westminster do not care about the citizens that they represent.”

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Llanelli Police Station to temporarily close for improvement work

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LLANELLI POLICE STATION will be closed from Monday, 10th January 2022 and will reopen on Monday, 31st January 2022 for work to improve the building to be undertaken safely.

During this time alternative arrangements will be in place for normal service to continue.

The front office staff will be working from Llwynhendy police station during this period to deal with public enquiries.

The Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue to work from a building alongside the police station and will be accessible as they are now.

Response officers will be continuing to work from the old police station to answer calls for service and will also be utilising Burry Port and Llwynhendy police stations.

The Public Service Point outside the police station will also remain working.

Police can also be contacted online at https://bit.ly/DPP101Online or by email at 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk.

Inspector Mark Davies said, “This level of investment in Llanelli police station clearly demonstrates our commitment to keeping a local policing base in the town and our desire to ensure our facilities are fit for operational use for the future.”

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