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Burry Port response raises planning point

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All systems go: WG releases Burry Port decision to council

All systems go: WG releases Burry Port decision to council

THE PASSAGE of the Burry Port regeneration scheme was welcomed days before a meeting of the Planning Committee that passed it.

The County Council’s unrestrained response to the release of plans for Burry Port’s redevelopment by the Welsh Government has raised more questions about its approach to its statutory duties in respect of the scheme and the impartiality of the Planning Committee which rubber-stamped the plans on Wednesday.

In a press release issued in response to the Welsh Government move, the Council’s executive board member for regeneration and leisure Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “It’s excellent news. I would like to thank everyone concerned from the county council and Welsh Government in coming to this decision.

“We can now move forward. It’s very good news for Burry Port.”

Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “This is the news we’ve been waiting for. It means the whole scheme can go ahead to deliver what I’ve been calling for – jobs, housing and a school.”

Even though the Planning Committee had already indicated it was minded to approve the schemes while they were still subject to the Welsh Government call in procedure, it seems remarkable that two senior Cabinet members were so confident that the plans would progress even before the Planning Committee had begun its final deliberations on the scheme.

The situation appears to be analogous to the one regarding the much-vaunted and unclearly-funded Carmarthen West Link Road. In that case, council contractors began preparatory works even before the full Council had approved any expenditure on the project.

The issue raised is one of predetermination. ‘Predetermination’ means that councillors reach a decision to follow a course of action with a closed mind, or give every appearance of so doing. It is a particular issue of which councillors need to be wary in respect of planning decisions, especially when a council is a party to a scheme under consideration.

With the ringing endorsement of a former council leader and the current one ringing in their ears, and with the Council a development partner in the project, it is difficult to see how an examination on the balance of probabilities could lead to any other determination than the council and certain councillors had indeedpredeterminedthecourseofthe application.

The Herald can confirm that the Council spent over £27,000 supporting legal proceedings brought against the Welsh Government in 2013 by the lead development company. That expenditure was approved not by councillors, but by the then Director of Regeneration & Leisure in consultation with the Head of Planning.

It is important to note that the Council did not bring the claim itself, but supported the claim brought by the developer. The Council decided to be represented because of the impact on the Joint Venture site.

With the issue now determined by the Planning Committee, it remains to be seen whether any of those opposed to the plan on public safety or health grounds will consider their own options in light of what could turn out to be a fateful press release.

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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