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Drefach homes plans passed

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PLANS for a new 22-home development in Drefach were given the go-ahead by Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning committee this week.

The committee heard that concerns had been raised by local residents about the development, which was adopted for housing under the 2014 Local Development Plan.

Introducing a report, Planning Officer Jonathan Thomas noted that the application had been subject to delays to allow councillors to visit the site and for the applicant to submit an impact assessment for the resident dormice.

He explained that the outline plans, for 20 4-5 bed open-market detached properties and two affordable homes, would see a new access route built from Heol Blaenhirwaun to the north, and the existing road at Bron yr Ynn would be widened and brought up to adoptable standards.

Mr Thomas acknowledged that there had been concerns from local county councillors and the community council, which centred on the potential for the new access to cause a ‘rat run’ through the estate.

Recommending the plans for approval, he noted that other objections were either covered by planning conditions or answered in the report.

However, local county councillor Aled Owen addressed the committee, noting that the site visit should have allowed them to see the infrastructure concerns inherent in adding 22 homes to an ‘unsuitable road’.

He added that there were concerns about the entrance from Heol Blaenhirwaun, which would be near the school, and suggested the road would be used as a shortcut for people travelling from Tumble to Cross Hands.

Cllr Owen also raised concerns about a lack of traffic calming measures, and noted that the new road would cause to loss of a flat green space used for seating suggesting that a different access route would alleviate some of these issues.

Cllr Eirwyn Williams asked what measures would be put in place to protect wildlife, specifically dormice, during construction. He was told that the application ahd been delayed while this matter was sorted, and seasonal controls and mitigation plans put in place Mr Thomas added that under the European Protected Species licence failure to achieve this could see the licence withdrawn.

Stating that he was ‘not happy’ with the application, Cllr Kevin Madge asked whether widening the road would have any effect on the elderly residents who currently parked there. He also suggested that flashing lights be fitted at the junction onto Heol Blaenhirwaun, and asked what the financial contribution towards local recreational areas would be.

His concerns about the new entrance were echoed by Cllr Dorian Phillips, who asked whether the existing entrance would be sufficient on its own. Cllr John James also asked whether the entrance would be too close to the school.

Highways Officer Kevin James explained that Bron yr Ynn would be widened and footpaths would be fitted on both sides.

The spaces where cars were currently parked would be turned into residents’ parking areas.

He added that there would be a speed hump on Heol Blaenhirwaun near the entrance, and the entrance itself would have good visibility.

Cllr Dot Jones suggested that the speed bumps did not prevent speeding on that particular stretch, and people even overtook in the 20mph area.

Councillors were told that moving the new entrance from its proposed position would lead to a large reduction in the size of the plot due to the gradient of the land.

10 councillors voted in favour of the application, with four voting against and three abstaining.

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Llanelli bus depot to close after 100 years

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THE LLANELLI HERALD understands that the Llanelli Bus Depot at Inkermans Street will be closing its gates for good. 

The Bus Depot has served the local community for approximately 100 years, Drivers will now be sent to work from depots in Carmarthen, Swansea and Tycroes. 

All services will remain in the the town, this newspaper can confirm, and our reporter was told that there will not be any redundancies. 

One bus driver told us that he and he co-workers were “not completely happy”, but the unnamed source added “At least we still have jobs to go to.” 

Further updates are expected on this developing story.

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Two week national ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ announced for Wales from 6pm on Friday

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MARK DRAKEFORD, The First Minister of Wales has announced a two week ‘fire break’ lockdown from Friday October 23 at 18:00 HRS, to last until Monday November 9 at 00:01 HRS

Mr Drakeford said: “This firebreak is the shortest we can make it. It must be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus.”

All non essential businesses, including tourism businesses will be told to close.

Businesses have been told that they will be given £1000 each automatically to help with the economic impact of the shutdown.

Mr Drakeford added that children will be the priority and that childcare facilities will open as normal. Primary schools will open after half term.

Secondary schools will be closed for a week after half term to help control the virus.

Universities will offer a mixture of face-to-face learning and learning via video link. Students must stay at their university accommodation during the lockdown.

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of a Wales-wide lockdown, Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has called the lockdown “not-proportionate” and is calling on the Welsh Government to be “open and transparent” on the evidence to support a lockdown and if the First Minister is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns every month.

Paul Davies MS said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.

“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns. This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year. The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate. The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.

“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “The evidence to support an all-Wales lockdown is weak and I am sceptical that this so-called ‘fire-break’ will tackle the situation in those parts of Wales where infection rates have been out of control. The key issue for Welsh Government to address is what will be done differently after the firebreak ends in those parts of Wales where infection rates have spiralled out of control. Otherwise the whole of Wales risks being dragged back into a series of rolling lockdowns.

“As we saw earlier in the year, lockdowns come with huge costs in terms of harm to the economy and to people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. With the Welsh Government asking UK Government to fund this lockdown, I hope that as many businesses as possible get support they need quickly. Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses will be hit particularly hard by these latest restrictions and I will be fighting hard again to see that they are protected as the lockdown kicks in.”

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Drakeford to make decision on ‘fire-break’ lockdown in Wales by Monday

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WALES is facing a national lockdown lasting at least two weeks in plans described as a “fire-break” by the first minister.

He said a decision was likely to be made on Monday, while talks continue with health officials, scientific advisors and councils over the weekend.
“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

Responding to the speculation First Minister, Mark Drakeford, is set to announce a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in Wales, Welsh Conservative health spokesperson, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “I implore the First Minister to think again before heading down this path.

“The decision to lockdown Wales once again will have devastating consequences – from an economic and public health perspective – and should be the last resort.

“Only yesterday, the former director of communicable diseases at Public Health Wales, Dr Roland Salmon, said a circuit-breaker is likely to fail and the Welsh Labour Government should listen carefully to his warning.

“Earlier this week, Welsh Conservatives called for the urgent resumption of shielding in Wales with a substantial package of support to ensure the financial, physical and mental well-being of those most at risk is protected.

“This should be the immediate action taken by ministers along with prioritising PPE and testing in the problem areas in Wales such as hospitals, care home, universities and meat factories.

“It’s not too late for the Labour Government to reconsider and choose a different approach in Wales.”

Mr Drakeford warned that 2,500 people were now being infected with coronavirus every day in Wales, with critical care units in hospitals full.

“A successful fire-break would re-set the virus at a lower level,” he added.

Together with a new national set of rules for the whole of Wales after the fire-break period we would have slowed the virus down enough to get us through to Christmas.”
Plaid Cymru has been calling on Mr Drakeford to introduce the circuit-breaker without delay, while Labour at Westminster says a similar approach should be adopted in England.

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