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Councillors discuss derelict buildings

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derelictCARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL (CCC) recently convened joint meeting of its Community Scrutiny and Planning committees to discuss how the local authority deals with properties in a state of disrepair, including buildings of historic interest.

They received a report relating to the monitoring of an Action Plan, including recommendations, from a Task and Finish Review that had been carried out in relation to Enforcement issues.

Councillors discussed whether dilapidated dwellings should be brought back into beneficial use, or whether the council should look at how it advises owners of buildings of historic interest on how to positively manage such buildings.

Members were advised that issues of ensuring the site was secure remained the responsibility of the owner, although the authority would investigate if there were concerns that a building could be classed as dangerous, as defined under the relevant Building Act.

It was noted that management of properties falling into disrepair could potentially fall under different legislative frameworks such as, Building, Planning, Housing and Heritage Acts, depending on the nature of the specific site.

It was agreed that a further update report would be provided to members before the end of the year.

Planning committee Chair, Cllr Alun Lenny, said: “I’m grateful for the work that Cllr Anthony Jones and other members of the Task and Finish Group put into preparing this Action Plan. Taking Enforcement action against owners of buildings for planning or environmental reasons can take a lot of officer time and cause considerable frustration to local members.

“The dilapidated condition of many buildings, ranging from old churches to houses that have been vacant for many years, is a source of great concern to the council and public alike.

“Empty houses are a blight and can have an adverse effect on the appearance of a street. Larger semi-derelict properties, such as chapels and churches, can pose a threat to public safety, but getting the private owners of such properties to take action can prove very difficult and may involve costly legal steps by the local authority.

“On the other hand, I’m delighted to see that the council is taking a proactive approach by bringing empty houses back into use – 135 over the past year alone. Although the process can be a lengthy and costly one, turning an empty house back into a home is a win-win result. It increases the housing stock, saves on building land, creates jobs for local companies and improves the street scene.”

Task and Finish Group Chair, Cllr Anthony Jones, said: “I’d like to thank the Task and Finish Group members and council officers and partners for their work in looking thoroughly at the range of planning enforcement issues.

“We have made 23 recommendations to evolve our enforcement work to assist communities that feel the impact of planning issues,” he said.

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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M4 closed westbound following lorry fire near Swansea

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A SECTION of the M4 near Swansea was shut on Monday (Aug 8) due to a vehicle fire.

The westbound section of the motorway, between junction 47 at Penllergaer and junction 48 at Hendy closed.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and there was queuing traffic in the area.

Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported: “M4 Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire between J47 A48 (Penllergaer / Swansea West Services) and J48 A4138 Pontardulais Road”

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Police appeal after Llanelli assault: victim required hospital treatment

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating an assault which occurred on Regalia Terrace, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire at about 12.05am, Sunday 3rd July.

The victim required hospital treatment.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the person in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the person is, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

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

Please quote reference DP-20220703-011

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

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