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Council accused of tree neglect




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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Business offer Welsh Government help in ‘non-essential’ shopping row




THIS morning (Tuesday, October 27), the Wales Retail Consortium, CBI Wales and Association of Convenience stores presented the Welsh Government joint recommendation to resolve the confusion over non-essential items.

The three industry bodies’ statement expresses the hope that the Welsh Government, ‘will agree to these recommendations and the people of Wales can refocus all their energies on respecting the Fire Break’.

The recommendations come in response to confused and confusing messaging from the Welsh Government, which allowed its public health message to be drowned out over the weekend by rows over whether toasters, Lee Childs novels, and size 16 jeans were essential items for customers. The confusion was not helped by a mistaken tweet by supermarket giant Tesco which claimed women’s period products were not essential items when they are and always have been.

The WRC, CBI Wales and ACS believe their recommendations will fulfil retail’s role in tackling the spread of the virus while allowing for discretion to be used on an individual basis – as recommended by Health Minister Vaughan Gething in a tense press conference yesterday,

The business bodies recommend:

  • To limit the spread of the virus and allow for individual discretion, retailers will prominently display Welsh Government approved signage in front of known non-essential items and in communal areas. The signage will make clear the government’s regulation and the need to abide by it.
  • This message will be reinforced through in-store announcements and social media messaging. Advising customers to put off non-essential purchases
  • We recommend the individual customer is trusted to make their own decision as to whether a product is non-essential or not, taking into account the notices displayed throughout the store and their immediate needs
  • If the customer goes ahead with the purchase of the item the final liability ought to rest with the customer
  • Retailers will remove special in-store promotional displays of non-essential items in order to minimise browsing and avoid triggering a non-essential purchase.
  • These recommendations would mean non-essential items are not removed from shelves – or cordoned off in stores – but large notices are placed in front of the products and in communal spaces informing customers of the Welsh Government’s regulations and the Welsh public are trusted to make the right decision.

They also say they ‘look forward to engaging with Welsh Government again this morning and we hope consensus can be reached’.

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Llanelli Christmas Carnival goes online




Preparations are underway to host the first ever virtual Llanelli Christmas Carnival. 

The carnival will go digital for the first time in its 42-year history due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in line with current Welsh Government guidance and increasing concerns about the spread of coronavirus linked to large gatherings. 

Whilst there won’t be the usual street parade, people will be able to get into the festive spirit from the comfort of their own home. 

The online celebration will be hosted as an event on Discover Carmarthenshire’s Facebook page on Friday, November 13. 

Over the years, thousands of people have been involved in the Llanelli Christmas Carnival – either dressing up to enter a float in the parade, volunteering, or simply enjoying the atmosphere with generations of their families. 

They can still get involved this year by sharing photos and video to help people celebrate good memories and help others reminisce about carnivals gone by. 

There will be a broadcast of music from talented local performers who would usually sing from the main stage, and people will still be able to countdown to the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights. 

The largest Christmas carnival in Wales, Llanelli’s festive celebrations are a joint effort by Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council, Llanelli Rural Council and Llanelli Round Table. 

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “It’s very unfortunate that we can’t hold Llanelli Christmas Carnival this year, but we’re determined to keep the spirit of the carnival alive. Let’s come together and celebrate one of the biggest events in Wales from the comfort of our homes – celebrate with generations of memories and look forward to a bigger and better carnival next year.” 

Sign up to attend Llanelli’s first virtual Christmas carnival – visit 

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Free Community Crime Prevention Kits to be distributed in Llanelli area




OVER the coming weeks, residents from both the Ty Isha and Glanymor areas in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, will receive free crime prevention kits that will aim to deter offenders and make both communities safer.

The prevention kits have been purchased through funding that was secured from the Home Office’s Safer Street Fund by Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.

The funding of £195,673 that was secured by Mr Llywelyn will go towards measures proven to cut crime, and will include employing two Community Wardens; purchase of SelectaDNA kits, Community crime prevention activity support, Environmental improvements and Community Crime Prevention kits.

SelectaDNA kits and Bike register kits are two of the Community Prevention kits that will be distributed to residents within the local communities over coming weeks.

The SelectaDNA kits are property marking kits that include a unique formula of DNA, UV tracer and microdots, which people can use to mark their valuable household items, so that if stolen, police are able to trace them. 

Similarly, the bike register kits include stickers, frame markings and microdots to uniquely identify a bike.  Users can add descriptions and photos to ensure that in the event of a theft, their bicycle can be easily identified and returned by Police through the BikeRegister Scheme.

Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys said, “I am delighted that both these crime prevention kits have been purchased through the Safer Streets funding that I secured earlier this year.  Hopefully, as they are distributed over the coming weeks, we will see that they will have a positive impact within the area.  Criminals know that DNA is the police’s most powerful weapon in convicting criminals therefore the DNA fear-factor is highly understood and acts as a huge deterrent.

“I have invested significantly in the area over recent years with community grants I made available in addition to the new CCTV system that is in place across the town. These new crime prevention kits that have been purchased through the new additional Safer Streets funding will further build upon my work over recent years and I hope the residents will feel a positive difference in their communities.

Both Ty Isha and Glanymor areas are considered to be two of the most deprived areas in Carmarthenshire according to the Welsh Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation. The funding secured will focus on tackling all acquisitive crime such as burglary, vehicle theft and robbery within the identified areas.

PCC Llywelyn added, “Ensuring the security and safety of residents is a priority of mine – everyone deserves to live safely, and free from harm. Acquisitive offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year. There is strong evidence that these crimes can be prevented by tactics that either remove opportunities to commit crime or act as a deterrent by increasing the chances of an offender being caught. I now look forward to continue working closely with all partners that have supported us with our bid, to tackle these crimes in both areas and to ensure that they become safer environments for community residents.”

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