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Erw Las application has City Deal link

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a halfway house for teenagers at Erw Las, Llwynhendy, is at a property owned jointly by Professor Marc Clement.

Professor Clement is the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales. He was sacked from his position as Dean of Swansea University’s School of Management earlier this year. His dismissal followed an internal disciplinary process which examined his involvement in aspects of the Wellness Project and relationship with its developer in a separate project.
Issues arising from that investigation are now the subject of an investigation by Tarian, the South Wales Regional Organised Crime Unit.
Professor Clement denies any wrongdoing.

The Land Registry shows he bought the house for a recorded price of £375,000 in July this year.

The purchase completed roughly at the same time as the planning application’s submission and weeks after the applicants for the development approached the local authority for pre-application guidance.

The application is in the name of a company called Freshstart Care Ltd.

Professor Clement is not shown as having any interest in the applicant company.

A search of Companies’ House Records reveals companies with similar names operating in the same general field as Freshstart Care Ltd – including a significant provider of post-16 care called Fresh Start Care Services Limited. However, none of the directors of the applicant company is connected with the latter, which appears to have nothing to do with the application before Council planners.

The application for the hostel on a residential street has provoked significant local opposition and a slew of letters of objection sent to the County Council.

Each of the letters shares a common theme: that the application is in an unacceptable area to even consider placing a youth hostel for young offenders.

One lengthy objection notes: ‘There have also been grave concerns expressed in neighbouring Swansea relating to the number of private children`s homes being opened in that area. This results in the transferral of children with complex behavioural problems from other areas, with consequent increasing demands on both police resources and council services within the recipient area. The expansion of such homes in recent years is a very lucrative option with substantial profits to be made which many believe is the premier reason for the current Llwynhendy application’.

The presence of recently released young offenders at the property, if planning permission is granted, also exercises a significant number of respondents.

One writes: “I find it inconceivable that a semi-detached property should be considered suitable as a rehabilitation home for young, individuals as there is bound to be regular audible disturbance certainly for the adjoining neighbour if not for those living further away.

I understand that there will be four youths guarded/rehabilitated by 6 adults. This ratio of supervision would be the envy of any prison in the land and just confirms my suspicion that we can expect trouble, even when they are closely supervised.

I find it very odd that the residents were not advised or consulted about this change of use by the current owners of Han Y Bont. I understand some internal changes have already been made at the property. This seems rather foolish and arrogant to assume that the residents would not object and that the council would rubber-stamp it as a fait accompli.”

Several objectors also note chronic parking issues on the road, exacerbated by Erw Las’ use as a rat run for traffic and by boy-racers, trying to avoid speed cameras on neighbouring roads.

A further objection notes that, contrary to claims that the property is not prone to flooding, it has a river at the side of the property and has been flooded on a couple of occasions and the surrounding area is made up of marshland.

The Herald covered the story of Erw Las residents’ flooding complaints in 2016. Those who spoke with us said they had suffered from flooding for the last six years, we’re unable to get any help and unable to get any insurance cover for their homes.

One objector alleges: “The property is already kitted out for the youngsters to move in, so are they aware of something which the community is not?”

Cllr Deryk Cundy wrote:
a. We have no understanding of the supervision or regulation of the use of this property.
b. There are no guarantees on the safety of the residents of the property whoever they may be.
c. There are no details about the qualifications of the staff employed here.
d. There are no controls by the Council on the suitability of what is delivered here.
e. There are no regular inspections by the Council on the Health and Safety of these children.

Llwynhendy County Councillor and Chair of Llanelli Rural Council, Sharen Davies, also objected and asked: “As the local County Councillor for the Llwynhendy Area, I would like to request a site visit, for the Planning Committee to be made aware of the Rural area and the inappropriate environment for this development. I would also like to speak at the full Planning Committee.”

Not a single response from neighbours favours the plan and nor does the Council’s own Child Services team.

In its response, the Children’s Services Team write: “Carmarthenshire Children’s Services do not use private residential homes for looked after children so the proposed centre will be utilised by outside local authorities. Carmarthenshire is already a net receiver of a large number of looked after children and young people from other local authority areas – we currently have a population of out of county LAC almost the same size as our LAC population. We object to the planning application on the basis that this will contribute to an increase in the volume already entering and residing in the area.”

The application is certain to go forward for decision by the Planning Committee. It can expect a bumpy ride.

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Criminal damage at a caravan park in Kidwelly.

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POLICE are investigating reports of thefts and criminal damage at a caravan park in Kidwelly.

Two reports have been made, with a number of items stolen from two caravans at Tanylan Caravan Park.

The first incident took place between September 23 and October 12.

A number of items – including fishing equipment, computer consoles and £300 cash – were stolen, and an awning window was smashed.

The second report was made on October 13, with the crime taking place sometime after August 25.

Scooters, camping equipment, TVs, DVD players, Amazon fire sticks, a Wii U console, and several other items were taken.

Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to contact PC 810 at Carmarthen Police Station.

You can report information by calling 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Abandoned property fire in Burry Port probed

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POLICE are investigating a fire at an abandoned property in Burry Port.

A call was made at around 1.20am today (Tuesday, November 19) reporting that a detached house in Graig was well alight.

The house is not lived in, and has sustained substantial fire damage.

There were no witnesses to indicate who has started the fire, but two people were seen running away from the scene.

Due to the temperature inside the building remaining high today, it has been unsafe for investigators to enter the building.

Anyone with information, or who saw a person or people acting suspiciously in the area between 12.30am and 1.30am is urged to contact the joint investigation unit at Llanelli Police Station.

You can report information by calling 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Man ‘fit for work’ collapses and dies at job centre

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A 65-YEAR-OLD man has collapsed while waiting for an appointment in a job centre in south Wales. He was found slumped in his chair at 9.30am on Friday in Llanelli.

The DWP said: “Our thoughts and those of the staff at Llanelli Jobcentre are with the family and friends at this time.”

The Llanelli Herald understands that he was waiting for an appointment to discuss Jobseeker’s Allowance after being declared fit for work earlier this year.

Staff and customers rushed to help, but they were unable to get a response so lay him on the floor.

They started CPR and an ambulance was called while the job centre was evacuated, but paramedics declared him dead at the scene. A witness told The Metro newspaper: “I didn’t know him myself, but the man who was sat next to me told me that he had grown up with the guy.

“The man next to me told me that the poor guy had diabetes and had been declared fit for work by the job centre earlier in the year but he was obviously ill.

“The ambulance came but he sadly died and they had to take his body out of the job centre, it was awful.

“We were all very shook up; it was a horrible situation that should have never happened. The job centre is all shut down now.’

The Welsh Ambulance Service confirmed to The Herald: “We were called on Friday November 15 at approximately 9.33am to reports of a person needing urgent medical attention on Stepney Street in central Llanelli. ‘We responded with one rapid response vehicle, one specialised medical vehicle and one emergency ambulance.’

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