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St Elli made more accessible

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MEMBERS of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Planning Committee unanimously approved a plan to improve access to the St Elli Church in Llanelli’s Town Centre.

The Church already had listed building consent for the provision of a ramped access to the Church via the Tower through the ecclesiastical process. Therefore, the matter came to the Planning Committee to decide the substantive planning issues.

The Committee heard that objections had been received referring to the potential loss of access to a small parking area adjacent to the landmark Church and one objection suggesting that the proposed access was too narrow.

A lively discussion of the application’s merits followed, in which members expressed varying degrees of disbelief that objections had been registered to the scheme.

Concerns regarding possible alternative access points were quickly dispensed with by way of a thorough officer’s report which walked members through the alternative access points and the reasons they were unsuitable.

The Planning Officer presenting the application told members that it was inappropriate that less mobile members of the community should access the Church other than through one of its principal access points. Alternative principal access points, members heard, would be unsuitable. Redesign of the main door would require significant extended works of a more visually obtrusive nature and the relocation of grave markers in the churchyard.

The Officer confirmed that the parking access was extremely restricted and the Church would most likely do away with it.

Cllr Kevin Madge spoke for many Committee members when he observed that Church congregations were ageing and that it was essential access was provided for the less mobile. He wholeheartedly supported the application, proposed for approval by Cllr Dorian Phillips.

The proposed entrance was the least intrusive option and Cllr Madge said he was reassured that all options had been examined.

Noting the Church’s lengthy history, Committee Chair Alun Lenny said that buildings such as churches have to adapt to survive.

Cllr Jeanette Gilasbey fully supported the application as meeting the needs for all people of all ages, residents and visitors alike. Speaking from own point of view, she appreciated the new access would address mobility issues.

Echoing Cllr Gilasbey’s words, Cllr Jean Lewis went one step further and wondered whether the objectors were churchgoers or building users. Cllr Lewis said that Churches were used for a number of purposes, including community-based activities and it was essential that all members of the community could access them.

The Committee unanimously approved the application.

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Gigabit broadband voucher scheme boost for Wales

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THE UK’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is to be given a boost in Wales thanks to a new partnership between the Welsh and UK Governments. Ministers from both Governments are now urging Welsh businesses and communities to apply for the funding to get gigabit speeds.

The announcement follows an agreement between the UK and Welsh Governments, and reflects the higher costs of deploying fibre infrastructure in Wales, as a result of the country’s topography and the location of premises.

The UK Government’s Gigabit broadband vouchers – worth up to £2500 – are currently available to small businesses and surrounding local communities to contribute to the installation costs of a gigabit-capable broadband connection.

Under the new arrangements, the Welsh Government will provide an additional £3,000 for businesses up to a certain size and an additional £300 per residential property. This means that for group* projects in Wales up to £5,500 is available per business, compared with £2,500 elsewhere in the UK. Up to £800 will now be available per residential property in Wales, compared with £500 elsewhere.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “Although the vast majority of premises in Wales can now access superfast broadband, we are working hard on assisting the remaining five per cent that cannot access it and where commercial companies have no plans to reach. There is no one size fits all solution to reach the final premises, and the Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme is an important part of a suite of measures to achieve this.

“This voucher scheme can provide a vital funding source for group connectivity projects, and could be of great benefit to communities currently without access.
I’m pleased we’ve been able to work with the UK Government to provide an enhanced scheme for Wales, taking into account the particular challenges we face here with geography and the location of premises.”

UK Minister for Digital Margot James said: “This exclusive scheme for Welsh businesses and communities is a vital part of our modern Industrial Strategy and build a Britain that is fit for the future. Working with the Welsh Government, together we can make sure that everyone in Wales has the connectivity they need for the digital age.”

The voucher scheme forms part of a package aimed at improving connectivity in Wales. The Welsh and UK Government funded £200 million Superfast Cymru programme has already taken superfast broadband speeds to more than 733,000 Welsh homes and businesses commercial companies had no plans to cover. The Welsh Government is also investing a further £22.5 million to reach an additional 26,000 premises and the UK Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation** that will make fast broadband a legal right for every home and business in Wales by 2020.

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Rescuers attend to injured construction workers in New Dock Street

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A MULTI AGENCY rescue operation is underway in Llanelli involving all three emergency services after an incident at a construction site.

Workers have been at the New Dock Street site, working for around three years, The Herald understands.

The Herald has been told that a piece of plant malfunctioned causing the emergency, which happened earlier this evening (Mar 19).

Four fire engines and three ambulances are at the scene, our reporter said.

A specialist line rescue team is involved in the recovery operation.

An eye-witness told the press that three workers have been affected.

The source said: “Concrete had just been mixed and had been poured into a skip which was then lifted using a machine. The concrete was being lowered into the hole, it’s probably about 20ft and then the machine toppled over.”

He added: “Two men climbed out of the hole on their own and as a precaution the third man was told to stay down there. The workers were told to leave the site as a precaution.”

At least one person has been seen being taken away in an ambulance.

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Llanelli: Met Bar incident investigated

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AN INCIDENT which resulted in a 51-year old man having to go hospital is being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The man has been discharged from Glangwili Hospital but police are looking in to how the incident happened and how the man fell down some steps.

The incident happened outside the Met Bar in Llanelli on Saturday night (Mar 16).

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Herald: “At approximately 10.55pm on Saturday March 16, officers responded to reports of an injured man outside The Met Bar, Station Road, Llanelli, after he’d fallen down some steps at the location.

“Ambulance was at scene, and the 51 year old man was conveyed to Glangwili Hospital with what was thought to have been a serious head injury. He was then later discharged from hospital, and the head injury was no longer believed to be serious.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police by calling 101 and quoting DPP/3011/16/03/2019/02/C. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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