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Hendy: Site bulldozed before objections are heard

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Concerned: Nia Griffiths MP

Concerned: Nia Griffiths MP

BULLDOZERS have moved in to demolish hedgerows, take up kerbs and cut down trees to make a new access for a proposed new building development near the Llwynbedw estate in Hendy, Carmarthenshire.

Residents contacted The Herald on Friday (Oct 23) to visit the estate as they were concerned that the contractors were in breach of planning procedures. Hedgerows are protected Under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 (SI no 1160): It is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows (excluding those forming garden boundaries) without permission.

Residents told The Herald that Persimmon Homes has instructed contractors to move onto the site and begin clearing but that the planning process has not been completed. A sign on a nearby lamp post cited the date for closure for objections as 4/11/2015 Residents also claim that the new access to the site was not on the original plans they were privy to. Around 15 residents gathered at the site last Friday along with Nia Griffith MP and Lee Waters, the prospective AM for Llanelli. Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning department has been called into question yet again by the residents of the Llwynbedw estate who say that their requests for a planning enforcement officer to come out and see what was going on were ignored. Lee Waters said, “This company (Persimmon Homes) is a stock market quoted company a major home builder and they seem to be not complying with local planning permission, knocking down hedges, starting building before the planning process has taken its course. Here is an example where a company has clearly not obeyed the rules and it is for Carmarthenshire County Council to restore people’s faith in the planning process.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Nia Griffith MP told The Herald, “I think it is absolutely terrible when people wake up one morning to see machines tearing up the hedgerows and roadway assuming that they are going to get planning permission. There are proper processes. This should be going to a planning committee and it should be considered. All of the residents objections should be taken into consideration. An officers report would be produced and a sensible decision made with all of the evidence. When people are allowed to ride roughshod over the rules it opens the flood gates for others to do the same. My concern here is we have not yet seen the enforcement officers coming out to see what is going on. They should be on this like a tonne of hot bricks and really making sure that they keep on top of the situation and make sure that people can not get away with building without planning permission. People believe that there is a lack of consistency and that there is one rule for one and one rule for another. Their voices are not being listened to. I think it (Carmarthenshire’s Planning Dept) is going to have to do a lot to regain the public’s trust. There is a rumour going around that you can do anything in Carmarthenshire and you will get retrospective planning given to you.”

Huw Llewellyn, managing director for Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We can confirm that we carried out work at a site in Llwyn Bedw, Hendy.  This was preparation work for the development to divert existing overhead electricity and BT telephone wires, the work was undertaken utilising statutory undertakers’ powers and was not reliant on the planning approval.

Carmarthenshire County Council is aware of the work that has been undertaken and we have been in full dialogue with the authority. An agreement is in place that no further work is to be carried out before the completion of Section 106 agreement which will release the planning approval for the new development.”

In a statement by Carmarthenshire County Council Development Management Manager Julian Edwards he said, “The planning department has been made aware of works being carried out at the site in question, and the developers have been contacted to advise them that any works that constitute development, or the removal of any trees, should cease with immediate effect. The site will continue to be monitored accordingly, with the authority considering what action will be relevant and expedient. Additional works on the land, for example the raising or diverting of power lines, would not necessarily constitute development requiring formal approval, although the authority will monitor this element as well.”

Planning application S/31228 for the construction of 96 dwelling houses and associated infrastructure works was submitted by Persimmon homes in October 2014, and was publicised both in the local press and by means of site notices. Subsequent notices have also been displayed when amended details have been received, the most recent of which took place only last week. As yet, no target date has been set for consideration of the planning application.”

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Police appeal for witnesses after 20-year-old pedestrian tragically killed on A40

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision on the A40 west of Carmarthen on Saturday (Sept 26) in which a 20-year-old man, a pedestrian, lost his life.

The police have asked The Pembrokeshire Herald to publicise this appeal.

A spokesman for the police told this newspaper: “At around 9.40pm, a white VW Transporter was in collision with a pedestrian on the A40 westbound, near the junction of Llangynog, Carmarthen.

“The pedestrian, a 20-year-old male, died as a result of his injuries.

“It appears the pedestrian had left his vehicle, a black Seat, following a single-vehicle collision further along the westbound carriageway shortly before.

The police have asked that if anyone has any information on either or both collisions, or may have been travelling along the A40 at the relevant time, please contact the serious collision investigation unit, quoting reference DPP-20200926-339.

This can be done by email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, by phone on 101 or by text: If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Llanelli becomes a Covid-19 ‘health protection zone’

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RESIDENTS in a large part of Llanelli are being put under new local restrictions in a ‘health protection zone’ following a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the area.

The town is seeing a concentrated spread of cases compared with other parts of Carmarthenshire – in the last seven days, 85 positive cases have been identified in Llanelli (151.6 per 100,000 of the population) compared to 24 cases in the rest of Carmarthenshire (18.1 per 100,000 of the population).*

Public Health Wales officials are expecting numbers to continue rising over the coming week.

Carmarthenshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board have worked with the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales to agree the temporary restrictions at sub-county level to try and halt the spread of the virus.

As of 6pm on Saturday September 26, 2020, residents living in defined parts of Llanelli will not be able to visit anyone else’s home, or accept visitors into their home, unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as providing care for a vulnerable person.

They should not arrange to meet indoors with anyone who they don’t live with, and travel in and out of the ‘health protection zone’ will also be limited – people should not leave the area or travel into the area unless it is essential. Travelling in and out of the zone for a holiday is not considered a reasonable excuse.

People are being asked to wear face coverings anywhere where they cannot maintain a two-metre distance from other people, including collecting children from school, in addition to the rules which already require them to wear a face covering in indoor spaces like shops and on public transport.

All indoor and outdoor visits to residential care homes have also been suspended.

Students may still travel into and out of the ‘health protection zone’ to go to school or college.

People living in the defined area of Llanelli must work from home, and employers must take all reasonable steps to support staff to do so.

Indoor public spaces such as leisure centres should only be used by people living in the defined area.

Shops will remain open, but people living outside the defined area of Llanelli should avoid travelling to visit them and shop in their own locality wherever possible.

The specific wards covered in the defined area of Llanelli are:

  • Bigyn
  • Bynea
  • Dafen
  • Elli
  • Felinfoel
  • Glanymor
  • Hendy
  • Hengoed
  • Llangennech
  • Lliedi
  • Llwynhendy
  • Tyisha
  • Swiss Valley

Although the pattern of increased positive cases is overwhelmingly concentrated in the Llanelli area where the restrictions have been strengthened, the whole of Carmarthenshire has now been put on alert, with a warning that the tighter restrictions may be extended if cases continue to spread.

Everyone – including those in the defined areas of Llanelli – is being urged to follow the national guidance around social distancing, good hygiene, self-isolation, testing and face coverings.

Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “It is worrying to see how sharply the number of positive cases has risen in the Llanelli area, and action has had to be taken to help stop the spread and break the chain of infections concentrated in this area to prevent a whole county lockdown.

“We must all do the right thing, follow the advice and protect each other. In parts of Llanelli, we’re asking people and businesses to make even greater sacrifices – we fully appreciate the impact this will have, but there is no other way. We must stop the spread.”

A mobile testing unit has been set up in Llanelli to manage the increased demand by local residents who have any of the Covid-19 symptoms – either a high temperature, a change or loss to taste or smell or a new continuous cough.

Reporting of positive cases in the town is fully expected to rise during the next two weeks with the increase in more targeted testing. But this is a positive indicator that cases are being identified and control measures put in place.

Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board Maria Battle said: “Our local community has given us such tremendous support during the past few months. To protect the health of our people, including the most vulnerable, and to ensure our NHS resources are available to provide people with the care they need; we need the help of our Llanelli population and wider community now more than ever before. Whilst hospital admissions have not yet increased again for COVID cases, we have seen a sharp rise in positive cases in the community, and in time this is likely to have an impact on hospital admissions. The very best way we can support each other and those we love, is to follow local restrictions, minimise our contacts, practice good hygiene and self-isolate and book a test if we have any COVID-19 symptoms.”

Increased testing capacity for residents in Llanelli is available by appointment at the following locations:

  • Parc y Scarlets Car Park B, accessed via Trostre Retail Park, in Llanelli
  • The Ty’r Nant site (next to KFC), Trostre, Llanelli
  • The Carmarthen showground (signposted in both directions off the A40)

There should be no reason for Llanelli residents to travel excessive distances for a test, as there will be tests available in Llanelli and Carmarthen. Tests should be booked via the UK Portal. Any Llanelli residents experiencing difficulty booking a test locally via the UK portal can instead email covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 333 2222.

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Tir Coed build outdoor classroom for Cross Hands Primary

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The local charity Tir Coed teamed up with Cross Hands Primary School to design and install a locally grown woodland shelter to enable primary school pupils to benefit from outdoor lessons-even when
the rain pours!

Last year Cross Hands Primary School received funding from Carmarthenshire is Kind for their intergenerational project. The project brought the schoolchildren together with older people in the community. Through intergenerational activities, everyone involved increases social connectedness, reduces social isolation, learns from one another and has a great time!

Before the lockdown, Tir Coed was contracted to lead a group mainly made up of parents from the school on a shelter-building course. The attendees would gain knowledge and skills and the children and the older people would be able to use the shelter, a third generation now included in this
fantastic project. The plans, however, had to change due to restrictions and in an effort to have it ready for the children when they returned to school, three intrepid Activity Leaders braved the wet August weather to build the beautiful shelter .

Studies have shown that being in the outdoors significantly reduces the risk of spreading the Corona Virus. With this addition to their already impressive outdoor area, it is hoped that more learning can
take place outside the classroom. Deputy Head, Emma Walters said, “It looks amazing! I am very impressed with the shelter and I cannot thank Tir Coed enough for organising this. Additional covered space in the outdoors will mean that we can take more learning into our lovely nature
area.”

If you would like to find out more about the work of Tir Coed or have a project you would like our help with you can contact Nancy, the Carmarthenshire Coordinator: carms@tircoed.org.uk

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