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No sell off ‘on my watch’ says Dole



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‘Read my lips’: Emlyn Dole echoes fateful words

A TUMULTUOUS week of claim and counter claim about the Council’s plans on asset transfers reached its frenzied peak in the Chamber of County Hall on Wednesday, January 13.

First out of the blocks on Saturday, January 9 was Council Leader Emlyn Dole. Cllr Dole was plainly enraged and frustrated by press statements issued by Labour, whose members were in partnership with the Independents when – as The Herald revealed – secret negotiations were taking place to pass the balance of the lease to property speculators Loca Ventures. Claiming that plans to sell off Parc Howard were ‘an urban myth’, Cllr Dole continued: “Discussions about its future role should be held in a sensible climate and not be distorted by those seeking political gain by jumping on the nearest passing bandwagon. Labour’s Nia Griffiths MP and candidate Lee Waters really should know better. It shows how frustrated and desperate they’ve become. They’ve concocted an urban myth around an imagined threat to Parc Howard and even launched a petition on the basis of that myth. This is a very cheap shot even by their standards.”

The Council Leader did not address the tawdry saga involving his now fellow Executive Board Member, senior officers, ‘introducers’ and ‘investors’ that took place before he ascended to his current position. That was certainly not ‘an urban myth’ but cold, hard fact. The omission appears to suggest that Cllr Dole will not countenance any backdoor deals, as seemed to be made clear by his following words. Cllr Dole said that he was looking forward to meeting the Friends of Parc Howard, the Parc Howard Association and the Llanelli Community Heritage Group. “I won’t be asking them to run anything on our behalf, as this is a public park owned by the people – all the people. But as they are interested parties I’m keen to listen to, and share ideas about, how we can create an income that will allow us to sustain and safeguard Parc Howard for the benefit of ourselves and future generations.”

His press statement concluded: “Turning Parc Howard into a political football demeans an asset which is hugely precious to the people of Llanelli. Once again, I invite local Labour politicians to watch my lips: it will remain safely in the hands of the people to whom it was bequeathed.” After his combative statement, slating his political rivals for seeking to score political points, on Tuesday (Jan 12), Emlyn Dole met with members of the Llanelli Heritage Trust, the Parc Howard Association, and Llanelli Town Council. While Llanelli Town Council were happy for the press to attend the meeting, Councillor Dole’s office told us that his personal view was that it was a private meeting between organisations he had invited to attend. Accordingly, despite the Town Council’s welcome, press would not be allowed into the meeting. We waited outside the Town Hall for Councillor Dole. Upon his arrival we asked the leader if he had a few minutes to answer some questions. Mr Dole answered, “I Doubt it.” He did however return and requested that our camera was turned off before speaking to us. We began by asking the leader if Parc Howard would be taken off the asset transfer list. He replied “It’s a meeting for interested people around Parc Howard.

He continued by saying that communication with the public would, “be done through the due process. I have already made that clear in the press. I said in my second week of my leadership that Parc Howard stays in public ownership. We are asking local communities to invest in those assets. They can be run a lot better and more efficiently. Parc Howard is on that list for Llanelli Town Council to consider. Up until April they have an option on that. I am still waiting to hear if they want it or not. “If they are not then it comes back to me. I don’t quite understand what Lee Waters or the press doesn’t get about that sentence. I don’t quite get what anyone does not understand in that sentence. It stays on the asset transfer list until April. If it comes back I have to look at how we maintain it. It does not appear to be clear in mind of Lee Waters or Nia Griffith.” On the issue of local ownership of assets Councillor Dole said, “I agree that local ownership is always better. We put the precept up in Llannon in preparation for asset transfer.

As a community council we did our own lunch club, it is a lot better, it is better run by us as a community council than it was by the County Council. Whether they (Llanelli Town Council) take it on and I don’t think they will, it will remain in public ownership.” We asked if the people of Llanelli would be asked to pay twice for their parks, once through their council taxes and once through a rise in their precept. Councillor Dole replied, “No.” and continued, “It is up to Llanelli Town Council. I am told they are sitting on a pile of money. Use the money for the people of Llanelli. “Back in the reorganisation in the 90’s the West was paying their way on sports pitches Llanelli wasn’t. For some reason that hasn’t been addressed. People in Carmarthen West has been saying, hang on we are paying to support our own pitches and parks but we’re also paying to support Llanelli’s pitches and parks. It doesn’t matter how many there are it is the principle. If you are paying your way then we should all be paying our way or we should all be subsidised.” We asked if he was aware of the Loca Ventures episode and if he was worried that that episode may be repeated if the park was open for investors to take over. He replied: “Not on my watch.” Following the meeting the leader said it had been a positive meeting in the best interests of Parc Howard.

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Swansea Building Society expands Cradock Street head office



SWANSEA BUILDING SOCIETY has expanded its head office at 11/12 Cradock Street, Swansea, with the acquisition of the adjoining property – number 13. The refurbishment of the adjoining property is set to take approximately 10 weeks, with a move-in date scheduled for the end of January 2023.

The acquisition has been made to help accommodate the Society’s growing workforce, which has grown by 10 percent over the past year. Extensive work is now required on the new property, with a full refurbishment, new windows, and a new roof needed before it can comfortably accommodate the Society’s additional staff.

The move in date is set to tie in with an important milestone in Swansea Building Society’s history – it will celebrate 100 years as a mutual in 2023.

As it approaches this key landmark, the Society is enjoying a period of sustained and significant growth – the result of many years planning and investment. Its total assets, mortgage balances, savings, capital, and profits all reached record highs in the past year, passing the landmark £500 million in total assets for the first time.

It has also invested more than £1 million in its IT and back-office infrastructure, in a project that replaces all its hardware, considerably strengthens its cyber security, improves resilience with a remote disaster recovery site, and enhances the online offering it is able to provide its customers.

Along with this, the Society has invested in new talent across a number of departments including mortgage underwriting, IT, marketing, and the mortgage sales team. It has also employed several new customer-facing staff to help it support the increased footfall it has experienced at all its local branches in Swansea, Mumbles, Carmarthen and Cowbridge.

Alun Williams, Chief Executive at Swansea Building Society, said:

“The acquisition of number 13 Cradock Street is much needed to accommodate our growing head office workforce. When completed, the refurbished extension to our property will host 14 staff and allow us room for further expansion if needed.
“Our success and investment over recent years means that we are even better prepared to help our members plan their finances and get the savings and mortgage products they need for a better and more secure future. By increasing our staff, expanding our premises, and updating our IT infrastructure, we are better able to serve them with the financial advice and products that are right for them. It also means we can provide them with a choice of options about how they manage their finances – in person at one of our many branches or online – whichever is most convenient.”

Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader, Swansea Council, said:

“The expansion of Swansea Building Society’s headquarters in Cradock Street is more great news for our city centre. The Society is a shining example of a successful, community-minded mutual, and to see it expanding its workforce, creating jobs, and bringing them right into the heart of the city is fantastic.
“Cradock Street is undergoing considerable redevelopment with the renovation and repurposing of the Albert Hall by Depot Swansea – directly opposite Swansea Building Society’s headquarters – into a multi-purpose venue. Renovation of this area is another example of how we are saving the city’s heritage for future generations in a way that is useful and meaningful to the people of Swansea. The city is undergoing an important phase in its regeneration, and organisations like Swansea Building Society play a vital role in ensuring that this regeneration is sustainable for the future.”

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BHF Cymru celebrates Heart Heroes across Wales



BHF CYMRU is celebrating the inspirational people from Carmarthenshire who’ve been nominated in the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Awards 2022.

The annual awards ceremony returns for a fifth year on Thursday 1st December. The charity will honour incredible young heart heroes who’ve shown remarkable bravery and gone above and beyond to help others while coping with the devastating impact of heart disease, as well as CPR lifesavers, innovative fundraisers, corporate partners, research champions and healthcare heroes working in the NHS.

Winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony in London, with Vernon Kay hosting for the fourth time. He’ll be joined by celebrity judges including footballing legend David Ginola and Olympic gymnasts Becky and Ellie Downie.

Healthcare Hero Nominee

Dr Lena Izzat from Llanelli has supported BHF Cymru to raise awareness of the Heart Attack Gender Gap in Wales. As a female cardiologist she has spoken out about the unconscious and systemic bias in the health care system which leaves women who have heart attacks less likely to get diagnosed and receive the best care. Lena has been integral to a campaign which has secured a commitment from the Minister for Health to tackle health inequalities in Wales.

Innovative Fundraiser Nominees

Lisa Pudner from Llanelli is a former Paralympian who raised over £2,000 for the BHF through a sponsored handcycle and walking event in memory of her friend Nest Davies. Nest died suddenly from a heart attack. Lisa was awarded a BHF Cymru medal in recognition of her achievements and said: “We did this for the BHF because they fund research into heart and circulatory conditions, and we want to stop other families and friends losing loved ones in the future.”

Lifesavers nominated as CPR Heroes for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in a life-threatening emergency

  • Alun Sturley from Carmarthen who saved his father John.
  • Jean Thomas from Carmarthen, saved her husband Michael.

Head of BHF Cymru, Rhodri Thomas, himself from Carmarthenshire said: “The Heart Hero Awards are the highlight of our year, bringing together inspirational nominees from different walks of life and from every part of the UK. From fantastic children to remarkable pensioners, they all share such spirit and embody the very best of us.

“I’m proud and humbled that so many nominees are from Carmarthenshire, and I’m delighted to thank them for the amazing support they give the BHF and the motivation they bring to myself and the whole BHF Cymru team.

“Whilst we celebrate these brilliant Heart Hero nominees, we also thank each of our brilliant BHF supporters who power our lifesaving science and bring new hope to the 7.6 million people across the UK living with conditions such as stroke, heart disease and vascular dementia.

“I’m in no doubt that their dedication and selflessness will mean more lives will be saved from heart and circulatory disease, so thank you and congratulations to all our inspirational nominees”. 

The Heart Heroes Awards will be live-streamed at 8pm on Thursday 1st December. Register to watch the celebration online at:

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Public Services Board seeks views to improve local well-being



CARMARTHENSHIRE’S Public Services Board (PSB) is seeking residents’ views to find out what matters to them and their local communities.

The PSB has developed its Well-being Objectives and draft actions to deliver them, based on feedback received on its Well-being Assessment. The results of a survey at that time gathered views and helped shape the PSB’s understanding of the economic, social, environmental, and cultural factors that impact the well-being of individuals and communities within Carmarthenshire.

Once again, residents are being asked to contribute to help public service partners develop Carmarthenshire’s Local Well-being Plan for 2023-28.

To help shape the future of well-being please visit: Current Consultations (

The survey closes on 25 January 2023.

Cllr Darren Price, Chair of the Carmarthenshire PSB and Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “To deliver what is important to our communities, we need to their feedback and input. This survey is an opportunity for our residents to tell us if we, as public services, are on the right track to help create a better future for our children’s generation, and the generations to follow, as we strive to reach this goal.” 

Andrew Cornish, Vice-Chair of the PSB andChief Executive Officer / Principal of Coleg Sir Gar and Coleg Ceredigion said: “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our work so far. Our Well-being Assessment gives us a strong foundation on which to build our Well-being Plan and I would like to encourage everyone to take part in our involvement work for the preparation of the Plan.”

Carmarthenshire’s Public Services Board is a partnership of public and third sector organisations working together to improve well-being across the county and includes Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Natural Resources Wales and other organisations.

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