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County Council filming bid fails

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FIALA BID to allow members of the public to film all council meetings was knocked back at Wednesday’s (Jun 17) Extraordinary General Meeting.

In 2014, the WLGA (Welsh Local Government Association) gave 39 recommendations to Carmarthenshire County Council who want to become the most open and transparent council in Wales.

The council commissioned a review and set up the Cross Party Constitutional Review working group (CRWG).

Wednesday’s EGM was called to discuss the recommendations made by the CRWG.

One of those recommendations proposed for the public to be allowed to film in meetings that are being broadcast by the authority.

However, a number of councillors felt that filming should be permitted at every council meeting.

Cllr Alun Lenny asked: “What’s the point if you’re allowed to film when the cameras are already filming? A number of us have in the past voted in favour of this because it is a reasonable step that will not cost the council anything and I would propose an amendment that we should permit filming in any meeting that is open to the public. Why not?”

Cllr Darren Price seconded the motion and added: “I feel strongly that we should, as a council, enable people to film any meeting.”

Cllr Sian Caiach said: “There were concerns that people could edit or film to show us in a bad light but for public meetings that are open to the public I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t film. We should actually have the confidence to be able to put up with things because people could film those who are not in the spotlight and they could film somebody sleeping or chatting but people don’t come here for that, they are here for the meetings. I think if we allow everything to be filmed we would be on better behaviour because if people are filming maybe we would behave ourselves with more dignity and concentrate on what is going on.”

Cllr Terry Davies said: “If someone films from the gallery they can only film certain members.”

Cllr Anthony Jones added: “Does this mean that I could film another councillor? I think having it done officially as a matter of public record is the correct and proper thing to do. I don’t want to see people wandering around trying to catch councillors out for their own gain.”

Cllr Glynog Davies said: “This is a public meeting, what do we have to hide? We are living in a different technological age and we have to be willing to move with that and we have to give permission.”

Cllr David Jenkins said: “We are saying that we will allow the public to film what is being webcast and yet in the same breath we are saying we should not let them film scrutiny committees and other things.”

Cllr Jeff Edmunds added: “We’ve all given permission for us to be filmed so that is not an issue. The concerns I do have are on health and safety aspects. It is in the public gallery where they will be coming with their cameras and people could be leaning over and I have a concern.”

Cllr Alun Lenny repeated his amendment saying: “We should permit the public to film any meeting of this council and its committees that are open to the public. Whilst acknowledging, in this chamber that there are health and safety factors that would have to be addressed before permitting that. This whole exercise has arisen out of the public perception that there is a control freakery culture within this council and what we have heard this morning, I am afraid to say, there are still people who want to control what people are allowed to film in the meeting. We want to be the most open and transparent council in Wales. If this is not accepted this flies in the face of our mission statement.”

The amendment was put to the vote but only 23 councillors voted in favour with 33 voting against.

The original proposal was then put forward to allow members of the public to film only when the meetings are being broadcast by the authority and this was passed.

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Scrub removal at Pembrey to improve dunes for biodiversity

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If scrub growth is not controlled, it will cause species like lizards, orchids and dune pansies to suffer and disappear from our sand dunes.

SCRUB provides a splash of greenery in our sandy spaces, but too much scrub smothers the sand dunes and has a devastating effect on the specialist plants and invertebrates which live there. 

This winter Natural Resources Wales will be removing non-native, invasive plant species from areas of dune at Pembrey to help wildlife thrive.

The coast around Pembrey is home to 20% of all the plants in Wales and features a large sand dune system. Sand dunes are listed as the habitat type most at risk of biodiversity loss in Europe.

The Dynamic Dunescapes project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered in Wales by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), is working at Pembrey with Carmarthenshire County Council’s Outdoor Recreation Service to improve the condition of these dunes for wildlife.

Some non-native plant species, like the dense scrub plant sea buckthorn, are invasive and they are growing quickly in this dune system – spreading further across large areas of dune each year. 

Many of the dunes’ rare and specialist wildlife needs bare sand or low grassland habitat to survive and gets lost under or outcompeted by scrub. 

If scrub growth is not controlled, it will cause species like lizards, orchids and dune pansies to suffer and disappear from our sand dunes.

Scrub removal in specifically chosen locations will help to restore the habitat types that these species need, and this work will play a part in ensuring the dunes at Pembrey have a healthy, biodiverse future. 

Improving the ecological condition here will increase this coastal landscape’s resilience to other threats, such as extreme weather events and changing conditions brought on by climate change in the future.

The first phase of this work is to take place in Pembrey Country Park around Car Park 8 and the second will take place on the foredunes in front of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate which is managed by NRW. 

It is scheduled to begin in the last week of November and will last for two weeks. There will be a temporary closure of Factory Road outside the Country Park for one week – reopening on 5th December.

Ruth Harding, Senior Environment Officer at Natural Resources Wales, said:

“Sea Buckthorn control is important to improve the dune grassland habitats at Pembrey. Carmarthenshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales have carried out this type of habitat management over a number of years which has resulted in restoring the area to a dune grassland rich with different species of plants. 

You can best enjoy this during the summer months within the Pembrey Burrows and Saltings Local Nature Reserve. As part of Dynamic Dunescapes, we are now continuing this work, which will result in an overall increase in dune grassland habitat.”

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for leisure, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said:

“Whilst scrub is a valuable habitat it does need management to maintain it in good condition for wildlife. Cutting back the scrub will ensure it does not spread into areas where it is not wanted and or where it can destroy other habitat.”

Dynamic Dunescapes is not the only project working to restore Pembrey’s important sand dunes. The EU LIFE-funded Sands of LIFE project, managed by (NRW), has also been undertaking sand dune management to improve conditions for wildlife in recent years. The two projects work closely to build on and support each other’s work.

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Community

Demolition of 4 Tys begins in Tyisha, Llanelli

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Four Tys

WORK to demolish the Four Tys housing blocks in Tyisha, Llanelli has started, marking the next exciting step in Carmarthenshire County Council’s plans to Transform the area. 

The demolition work is set to be completed by civil engineering contractor Walters over the next 20 weeks and will enable the build of modern, mixed-use housing which meets the needs of the community.

Improvements to existing homes and the creation of community facilities and green spaces will also form part of changes on the horizon for Tyisha. 

Cllr Linda Davies Evans, chair of the Transforming Tyisha steering group and cabinet member for housing said: “The demolition of the Four Tys marks an important step in the Transforming Tyisha project. Although this process will evoke powerful memories for many of the people who have lived and worked in Tyisha since the Four Tys were built in the 1960s, their demolition will enable us to provide the housing and facilities that the community needs.

Local residents and businesses who may be impacted by the demolition process will be contacted throughout to ensure minimum disruption.”

This forms a part of the council’s ambitious plans to regenerate the Tyisha ward and the wider Llanelli town centre area which is undergoing massive investment.

The council is also seeking a partner to develop new housing and create a vibrant community. An early market engagement exercise is currently live which gives potential partners the opportunity to express their interest in working with the council to transform the area.

Fresh and innovative ideas for this exciting project can be submitted to the council until December 7.

For more information on the early market engagement process or the council’s Transforming Tyisha regeneration project please visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/tyisha

The demolition of the ‘Four Tys’ forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.

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Serious assault in Ruby’s Bar Llanelli being investigated by police

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POLICE are investigating a serious assault which occurred in Ruby’s Bar, Llanelli, between 10:40pm and 11pm on Saturday, November 20.

A 35-year-old man received injuries which required hospital treatment.

A 31-year-old female and a 36-year-old male have  been arrested on suspicion of assault. Both have been released on bail pending further police enquiries.

Anyone who witnessed, or took footage of, the incident, or anyone who has any information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20211120-336.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.’

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