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Rainscape road closure threatening local businesses

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THE ONGOING works to rectify Llanelli’s long-standing flooding problems in the Tyisha area have led to some small businesses saying that they have suffered loss of trade due to road closures.

Construction of the Rainscape project, which is designed to address the large volume of stormwater getting into the foul sewer by creating a 1.1km long surface water sewer along with pumping stations and other connecting schemes, is predicted to last until December. The works have seen a section of Marsh Street closed to traffic.

Plaid Cymru Town Councillor for the Tyisha Ward Terry Davies told The Herald that ‘at least five’ businesses had raised concerns with him about lost trade.

“We can’t ignore the fact that businesses within the locality are fighting to stay lucrative – they rely totally on passing trade for turnover,” he explained.

“Coupled with low profit margins, they’re feeling the pinch after weeks of this road closure. They need easy access to their premises which has now been restricted by the Rainscape plans. The restrictions are said to be in effect until December of this year.

“The problem needs to be looked at in more depth to ensure traffic flow is available to all the businesses or we’re going to lose them and the employment that they offer. The Tyisha area of this town and county is the most deprived and this will make a massive impact on our community if we lose the businesses, we can’t let that happen.”

After concerns were raised, Morgan Sindall – the contractor carrying out the work for Dwr Cymru -has agreed to a temporary revision of the traffic management system in Caersalem Terrace which is said to have helped. Last week saw the street revert from a one way traffic system to a two-way street.

Cllr Andre McPherson, who represents the Tyisha Ward on Carmarthenshire County Council, told The Herald that businesses were being helped to apply for compensation if they could show that the works had affected their business.

“Over the last 12 months we have had several meeting with Rainscape on the process that is taking places in the Tyisha ward,” he added.

“As part of this we have had concerns about the financial impact to the businesses, and with this in mind we discussed with the aforesaid business what they needed to be done to help them through this disruption.”

Cllr McPherson explained that adverts were being placed in the local media to inform customers that the businesses were open as usual.

“All business have our contact information, and we are in contact on a daily basis to make this disruption is kept to a minimum,” he added.

However, Cllr Davies suggested that compensation would not completely resolve the issue.

“Losing the trade to contractors means they’ll go to other competitors. These businesses have taken years to develop and I fear for their closure,” he remarked.

“The access now at Caersalem terrace has helped but traffic will stop at the businesses there for deliveries and to collect materials. The street is far too narrow for this. The reason Caersalem was turned into a one way system was because of traffic congestion and difficulty in turning off Station Road.”

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First two cases of coronavirus in Carmarthenshire confirmed

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THE FIRST two cases of coronavirus have been found in Carmarthenshire, the Welsh Government announced today.

The two patients in the Carmarthenshire local authority area had recently returned together from northern Italy.

It comes as the Hywel Dda Health Board which serves the area opened two centres to test for coronavirus, one in Cardigan and one in Carmarthen.

The health board announced it had opened the testing centres to “help protect the health of our communities”, while also saying that centres could be opened in other areas across the health board.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, confirmed that a total of nine patients in Wales had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID -19) today, bringing the total to 15.

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Council unveils ambitious housing plan

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has unveiled major plans to build more council homes and further improve its existing housing stock, including an ambition to move towards ‘carbon neutral homes’.

Executive Board approved an impressive Carmarthenshire Homes Standard (CHS+) business plan this week (February 24, 2020) in a commitment to build on a £286million programme it has already delivered to bring council homes in the county above the Welsh standard for social housing.

Pending Full Council approval in March, the council has outlined its intentions to commit £49million to continue the CHS+ programme whilst developing a new standard to further improve the energy efficiency of their homes, aiming to cut and off-set carbon emissions to ensure homes are warm, cheap to run, and easily adapted to cater for people’s changing needs.

As part of this vision, the council is planning to improve the fabric of houses so that they become more energy efficient. It will also harness off-grid sustainable energy solutions, such as wind and water, and has committed to planting 1,000 trees to off-set carbon emissions.

The council has also made a new commitment to invest £52million building more homes over the next three years as it works towards returning its housing stock to levels last seen in the 1990s.

The new programme will link to the council’s wider strategic regeneration initiatives, including developments in the Tyisha area of Llanelli, town centres and key rural towns.

The administration’s previous promise to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes is just 15 homes short of the target it set itself for 2021, including the completion of its first major new-build development since the 1970s in Pembrey, and the phase-one completion of a second development in Bynea.

Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said the investment would not only improve living conditions for existing tenants and provide more quality affordable homes for local people, but will also contribute to providing employment and training opportunities in the local construction industry.

“The plan is very ambitious – we are building new homes and working with tenants and key partners to ensure Carmarthenshire is at the forefront of the decarbonisation agenda,” she said. “Carmarthenshire is one of three authorities working with Welsh Government to look at measures to decarbonise our homes, and this work will start in the next few months.

“The fact that we have been able to invest in our homes, we’ve been able to build suitable homes and adapt homes for people and their families is very impressive – there’s more to do, but we are ready to take the challenge. It’s a very exciting time.”

Delivery of the council’s ambitions depends on an average rent increase of 2.7 per cent, working out at roughly £87 a week for a two-bedroom home – the second lowest rent level for social housing in Wales and significantly lower than private rented accommodation.

The council will also seek £6.1million from the Welsh Government’s major repairs allowance fund.

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Llanelli: Notice of Motion follows school transport concerns

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A NOTICE OF MOTION will be discussed at Llanelli Town Council on Wednesday (Mar 4) following the concern of many parents over the loss of school transport for their children.

The motion will be proposed by Shahana Najmi, Town Council Leader and Councillor for the Lliedi Ward and seconded by Sean Rees, Llanelli Town Councillor for the Glanymor Ward.

The motion reads as follows: “Recent changes to UK legislation have led to the cancellation of many paid-for school transport with the consequence that many Llanelli school children are now expected to walk many miles often along unsuitable routes to get to School.

“This has only highlighted the need for change to how school transport is delivered. We believe that all children whether they pay or not should be able to access safe and effective school transport to enable them to get to and from school to a point safe and a reasonable distance from their home.

“We therefore write to the Ministers for Transport and Education at the Welsh Government to ask them to support a new School Transport Policy here in Wales that complies with UK legislation and ensure that children here in Llanelli are not expected to walk miles to school in often adverse weather conditions and often on unsafe and unsuitable walking routes.

“We also write to Carmarthenshire County Council to ask them to do all in their power to ensure that children in Carmarthenshire have access to appropriate school transport and consider all options available to them to ensure acceptable provision.”

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