AT A COUNCIL meeting on Wednesday, May 11, Executive Board Member for Leisure and Regeneration brandished a piece of paper which, she claimed, provided proof that nefarious ‘Llanelli residents’ had scuppered the Council’s plans for refitting and refurbishing Parc Howard.
Cllr Gravell’s combative performance was in response to questions by Cllrs Bill Thomas and Jan Williams, both of whom have repeatedly pressed Cllr Gravell to substantiate her allegations of interference in the Council’s bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Speaking to The Herald following the meeting Councillor Thomas said: “We asked Meryl Gravell the questions and she never answered them. I gave the background, it is quite simple. She said at the last meeting ‘I was told’.
“We asked who told her. She waved a piece of paper in the air and said that she had a letter regarding the people of Llanelli scuppering the bid through objections over parking.”
Councillor Thomas told us: “I did not see that letter.”
CLAIMS ‘ABSOLUTELY CORRECT’
The Herald asked Cllr Gravell about the letter from HLF and asked her to confirm that the letter from which she read at the meeting supported her previous claims
Cllr Gravell replied: “That is absolutely correct. We had to put things straight. It is no good looking back to the past. I don’t know why they are harping on about it. We have to look to the future because it is a fantastic place. Today I was able to give them proof. What I said was correct. That is the end of it.”
The Herald asked if the letter could be made public upon request. She said, “I would probably have to ask HLF. If they are happy then of course.”
HLF: NO RECORD OF OBJECTIONS
Heritage Lottery Development Officer Adam Hutchings told us that he could not find any record of any communication to Meryl Gravell regarding any objections to parking from anyone in Llanelli once the bid was submitted: not from councillors, from residents, or members of the Parc Howard Association.
Moreover, Mr Hitchings confirmed that any objection to parking would have been a matter for the County Council and would not be in the remit of the Heritage Lottery. He also stated that should a letter between objectors and the County Council exist, it would have no influence over the bid as it would be regarded as a local political issue.
WHY THE BID WAS REJECTED
A report from HLF on the bid notes no interference in the bid once made. It states: ‘A considerable amount of community consultation had informed your proposals, but the work to prioritise your capital works and activities, deciding which to take forward and which to save for a future project, had not yet been done.
For this reason your grant request was high compared to other applications in the batch and works did not appear well planned.
‘The Parks for People programme expects schemes to focus on conservation of existing historical features of the park and costs should reflect this. Your application showed costs for new capital works that were more than double the costs of restoration work and this should be addressed if you hope to resubmit.
‘A lack of match funding meant that HLF’s grant rate was high. Further information on your fundraising efforts would have been useful.
‘Significant opportunities would be created through the project but the relationship between the new facilities at Parc Howard and those already existing at the Tywi Centre and Aberglasney (both of which have received HLF funding) was not described.
‘Estimated volunteer time and costs for activities were considered relatively low while professional fees for the development phase were considered high. We would not be able to cover the costs of existing council staff through the development grant unless they were to work above their normally contracted hours.’
A TRAIL OF LETTERS
In addition, The Herald has seen a copy of correspondence from HLF to Cllr Thomas addressing the specific point of whether any interference had taken place in relation to the Parc Howard funding bid.
That letter confirms: ‘We have found no record of meetings with, or contact from, the people listed in your query (residents, councillors, members of the Park Association, the local MP) either to support or to oppose the application. There was however a discussion with council officers on January 10 2014 to discuss the rejected application’.
Following Cllr Gravell’s claim, we contacted Mr Hitchings again and asked whether he was aware of further correspondence that would support it.
He told us: “I am afraid I really can’t add to my previous e mail (24.2.16) and the letter dated 21.4.14 to Helen Morgan both of which clearly set out the basis for the rejection. As far as I am aware nothing has changed. However, if anyone believes they have information from the Heritage Lottery Fund which is at odds with my responses to you I would find it helpful if a copy were to be forwarded to me.”
As Cllr Gravell avers that the material in her possession which suggests that there was interference by third parties from Llanelli in the HLF bid originated with that body, perhaps she will send that material to Mr Hitchings to jog his memory.
Police appeal following assault in Llys Glan Y Mor
POLICE in Llanelli are investigating an assault which occurred in the vicinity of St Davids Close and Llys Glan Y Mor, Llanelli sometime between 9.00pm on Saturday 10th April and 1.30am on Sunday 11th April 2021.
A 45-year-old male was taken to hospital with facial injuries.
Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.
They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.
Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing email@example.com, 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 DPP/0006/11/04/2021/01/C.
Police trace burglar who left trail of oil leading to his home
A MAN was charged with burglary after leaving a trail of oil from a stolen generator leading police from a victim’s home to his own.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers were able to quickly trace Dominic William Oliver after he went on an overnight burglary spree in Burry Port in March.
The force received reports of two garage burglaries and a theft from a car overnight on Monday, March 8, with a generator, fishing rods, and two bags containing passports among the stolen items.
The combined value of the items taken was estimated to be around £800.
Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “An officer attended the victims’ homes, and was made aware of a trail of oil, which was believed to have come from the stolen generator.
“She followed it along several streets – one of which was where Oliver had stolen two bags from a car – and discovered that it ended outside a property on Dandorlan Road.
“Oliver agreed to a voluntary search being carried out, and as officers entered the property they immediately noticed a rucksack with a distinctive pattern that had been described by one of the victims.”
The search was completed, with further items suspected to have been stolen recovered from the address, and the 31-year-old was arrested on suspicion of burglary within six hours of the incidents being reported.
While being conveyed to police custody, Oliver made a significant comment linking him to the theft of the generator.
He was charged with two counts of burglary and one theft, and appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, April 30.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months, must complete a rehabilitation requirement, and must remain at his home address between 8pm and 6am for three months.
Sgt Davies said: “This was an excellent response, which resulted in the swift arrest and charge of Oliver, and the recovery and return of stolen property to the victims the same day the offences were reported to us.
“This has no doubt had a positive impact on the residents of Burry Port, who have commented positively on how the matter was investigated.
“Community engagement, patrols and a crime prevention leaflet drop was carried out following the investigation to offer reassurance and advice.”
Further coronavirus restriction relaxations brought forward
FURTHER changes to the coronavirus restrictions have been announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford today.
The Welsh Government has confirmed further relaxations will be brought forward from 17 May to 3 May – including the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the re-opening of community centres.
This means Wales will have completed the move to Alert Level 3 by Monday 3 May.
From Saturday 24 April, the rule of 6 will allow for up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.
The Welsh Government has also confirmed the relaxations that will take place on Monday 26 April. Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen, while outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place and weddings receptions can begin again outdoors for up to 30 people.
Wales has the lowest coronavirus rates of the UK nations. The successful vaccine programme continues with a higher proportion of people vaccinated in Wales than other nations of the UK for both first and second doses.
Changes from Monday 3 May:
- Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities being able to reopen;
- People will also again be able to form extended households with one other household.
Relaxations planned for 17 May will be brought forward to the 3 May, including:
- The resumption of indoor supervised activities for children;
- Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults (such as exercise classes and swimming lessons);
- And the re-opening of community centres.
The First Minister said:
“The sacrifices we have made continue to show results. By us all working together and sticking to the rules, combined with our vaccination programme, mean we continue to make progress. Rates of the virus continue to fall and the public health situation is improving.
“Due to these efforts we are able confirm more easing of the restrictions from 26 April and for early May we are again able to bring forward some of our plans. However, this progress is dependent on all of us continuing to work together to keep Wales safe.
“At the last three-week review, I set out a forward-look of how the restrictions could continue to be lifted in the weeks ahead, if the public health situation remains stable.
“It will be for the incoming Welsh Government to confirm these arrangements at the next three-week review, which will be held on May 13 – a week after the election. It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions.”
Further possible easements are subject to the public health situation remaining favourable.