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Rain, dear, but no washout

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raindeer1REINDEER AND ELVES Day in Llanelli on Saturday (Dec 19) was hit badly by the constant rain and miserable winter conditions. However, there were plenty of events going on in the warmer areas of the town including the town library where Lisa Moore and her pop up prevents came to the rescue of those families with children who would have been soaked otherwise. Lisa’s events attract large numbers largely because she knows just what families want. The library was set out with large tables covered with great ideas for arts and crafts following a Christmas theme.

What Mum, Dad, boy or girl could refuse a table full of Lego, a table full of Play-doh and tables full of glue, paint, glitter and a plethora of arts and crafts materials? The added bonus was that it was safe, dry and warm. Everywhere one looked there were children painting, sticking, building and singing happily as they did so. It must be how Santa’s real grotto looks like with so many little helpers busily making beautiful creations to make people happy! The library appeared to be the main focal point for families with a cosy Santa’s grotto where children could see the old bloke himself and get a gift.

Even the main part of the library had gone that extra mile: Christmas displays and Christmas related books were prominent and the library jukebox may just have been playing Christmas songs. The action wasn’t limited to the library. The St Elli Centre was a festive symphony of light, decorations, another Santa’s grotto and of course jam packed with shoppers making the most of the sheltered areas to sit, eat and rest a while after their shopping extravaganza. Llanelli’s covered market was also the focus of some events including balloon artistry, face painting, buskers, stilt walkers and many other stalls who appeared to have gone bonkers over Christmas.

Even local politician Helen Mary Jones was handing out free Welsh cakes and mince pies, such was the Christmas spirit in the town. Literary genius Robert Lloyd read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to those hardened fans of the written word who had by now moved closer to the reindeer for heat and shelter or else heading in Jenkins cafe (Kerching! Rob) for some of their wonderful locally-sourced produce. Those brave souls who braved the rain were treated to a host of performances on the main stage in the town centre.

Market stalls lined the streets and two antlered reindeer were on display for all to see complete with their keepers bedecked in what looked like traditional Lapland costumes. Children young and old were in awe of these lovely creatures as they enjoyed their reindeer food in their enclosure. Music drifted from the stage, as Sherilyn form the X Factor staged a singing competition for local children. Those who had not bolted for the shelters were treated to a wonderful performance by Sherilyn herself but she was not allowed to enter for the star prize, which was a party package at the Playking in Dafen not a stone’s throw from where Sherilyn herself works. Throughout the day, elves and pixies some on roller skates performed their mischief and mayhem by descending on unsuspecting shoppers and taking their orders for Christmas.

Stilt walkers mingled with shoppers, balloon sellers and buskers who were joined in song at one point in by members of the public. The town, despite the rain, looked colourful and alive. As the shoppers headed for home some hardened spectators remained to catch outstanding musical performances by local musicians and another of the TV show successes, Ragsy from The Voice. There was something very magical about the town as darkness fell, illuminations twinkled and Ragsy belted out Local Boy In A Photograph. His whole set was not the most jolly in the world but there was something very real about the lyrics and his soulful guitar playing as it wafted along the streets of Llanelli, which were once so full at Christmas that people were walking twelve abreast. There was an element of longing but also hope as Llanelli closed down its shops and prepared for the evening’s revellers; an altogether different form of footfall. With high heels on.

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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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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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