A PRESS release to local media outlets has unveiled a series of exciting developments at Llanelli’s Parc Howard.
Underlining the council’s ongoing commitment to the future of the park, the leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Councillor Emlyn Dole, said the sensitive development of the play areas and mansion house will lead Parc Howard into a new era.
Amongst the plans he has unveiled are proposals to transform the historic mansion house, with potential uses including a wedding and banqueting venue, conferencing suites and an outdoor marquee.
The former cafe, which adjoins the mansion, could also be brought back to life selling refreshments and afternoon tea.
There are also plans to utilise the building as a regional centre for genealogy – tying in to Llanelli Town Centre’s Heritage Six scheme, which involves the library and Llanelly House.
Children are also being catered for, with brand new sections added to the park’s two existing play areas – including a giant four-mast space net with trampoline that will be the first in the world , and has been especially commissioned for Parc Howard.
Cllr Dole said: “This is a new era for Parc Howard. I have always voiced my full commitment to the future of Parc Howard and I have worked with my team to secure a range of investments and improvements that will encourage more people to use and enjoy this wonderful park.
“The park still is, and always will be, owned by the people of Llanelli but we want to make the most of it – there is a lot of value to heritage and culture.
“We have allocated funding to kick -start development with exciting new playground equipment to improve the offer for young children and families, and have committed further funding to the ongoing maintenance of the mansion house.
“We are also proposing the sensitive commercialisation of the mansion house with potential uses including a wedding, banqueting, conferencing and private event venue, and reintroducing the cafe that was once so popular.
“We also plan to house a genealogy centre at the mansion which will tie in perfectly with Llanelli’s Heritage Six and our plans to improve the county’s archive services in Carmarthen.
“We have worked with the Parc Howard Association and Friends of Parc Howard who are keen to support our proposals as a way of benefitting the park going forward with private investment that will create profits for the ongoing maintenance and development of the park.
Children visiting Parc Howard will be the first in the world to play on an especially-commissioned giant space net – a huge four-mast rope climbing frame with a trampoline at its centre.
Carmarthenshire County Council has commissioned a number of leading play equipment designers to come up with a series of new play equipment designs to improve the provision currently available at both playgrounds.
The preferred design includes a crawling pyramid, wobble-bridge, wizard’s tower fortress and forest shop with slides connecting the upper playground to the existing equipment on the lower level.
Existing equipment will be refurbished and updated as part of the work, including the ship and castle in the toddler area and new swing sets.
The work will be carried out in phases to ensure children still have equipment to play on as work gets underway and the first phase – the new equipment on the upper level of the toddler’s area – is anticipated to be complete d by the end of July.
The giant space net will be in place by the end of September to take the junior playground into the autumn season.
“We would of course like to have it all complete d in time for the school holidays, but the giant space net will be worth waiting for,” said Cllr Dole.
“Our teams will work hard to get the rest of the new equipment in place as quickly as possible so that children can use it during their summer break – we will be sectioning off parts of the playground whilst work is underway so that there is always something they can play on.”
The Mansion House
Carmarthenshire County Council will be seeking private investors to put money into the sensitive development of the mansion house, with potential uses including a wedding, banqueting and conference venue.
Proposals will centre around allowing the building to generate income with profits that will benefit the whole park.
It is hoped that the mansion house will become the home for Heritage Six , which will enable community access to provide artefacts, images and oral histories of Carmarthenshire for hosting on an online heritage website for the region.
The council has already committed additional funding to the maintenance of the building which costs around £100,000 a year to keep, with £250,000 being spent on the roof alone this year.
“We have fantastic plans to develop the mansion but will be very sensitive in the choice of commercial operations given its unique history and location within the park and surrounding residential area,” said Cllr Dole.
“We plan to advertise opportunities for private firms to propose uses and then run it, with potential for uses such as a wedding, banqueting and conferencing venue with a percentage of profits going back to the park. Planning permission may be needed for certain aspects, which would be submitted later in the year.
“With the support of the Parc Howard Association and Friends of Parc Howard , we hope to move these plans forward in the very near future.”
The Burry Port Harbour Improvement wins top civil engineering award
THE BURRY Port Harbour Improvement has been announced as the winner of the Bill Ward Sustainability Award at the recent ICE Wales Cymru Project Awards held on Friday (30 September) at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.
The Bill Ward Award is presented to the project best demonstrating the principles of sustainability, i.e. social, economic and environmental benefits during delivery and on completion. The Judges were impressed with the way two major companies, Alun Griffiths and Atkins, worked hand in hand on the project with their client, Carmarthenshire County Council, to deliver the scheme to a fixed budget, within programme and to the complete satisfaction of historic port custodians Cadw.
Burry Port Harbour is made up of three historic (tidal) basins contained by vertical masonry walls and earth embankments. The 3 harbours comprise 1500m of masonry vertical walls and revetments, which had fallen into disrepair and collapse since its heyday transporting coal in the 1800’s.
The project is an ongoing, phased renovation with attention being given first to areas of instability. Displaced masonry has been recovered from the floor of the harbour and re-used. New materials have been chosen with care to ensure they are appropriate and will fit into the historic marine.
The work has safeguarded the historic masonry fabric for future generations, provided a safe harbour for the marina vessels and provided the waterside frontage for the Council’s vision to transform the harbour into a dynamic living, leisure and work hub for future generations.
Wales stands firm in support for Ukraine
IN THE latest update on the Ukraine crisis, Wales’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt thanked all those households across Wales who have come forward to offer their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the War and encouraged more households to provide this vital support.
APPEAL FOR MORE HOST FAMILIES
The Minister for Social Justice said: “I’m delighted to say that over 5,650 people from Ukraine, sponsored by the Welsh Government and Welsh households, have already arrived in the UK.
“More than 8,200 visas have now been issued to people from Ukraine who have sponsors in Wales, so we expect the number of arrivals to continue to grow in the coming weeks.
“Thousands of Welsh households sponsored Ukrainians to arrive in Wales and committed to hosting them for at least six months.
“As we move into the autumn, we approach the end of that initial period.
“We hope hosts and Ukrainians will agree to extend many of those placements, but we need additional hosts to support those who cannot continue living where they are.
“To ensure a warm welcome to Wales, I’m inviting households across Wales to come forward and open their homes to welcome those seeking sanctuary.
“We’re immensely thankful to all those across Wales acting as hosts to Ukrainians, but more households must come forward.
“I completely understand that there are those who want to help but may not have the resources to do so, given the circumstances we’re all facing with the cost-of-living crisis.”
WALES WILL STEP UP TO THE PLATE
Jane Hutt continued: “What we all know, and has been proven countless times, is that the people of Wales are one of the most generous across the globe, and I’m sure we will step up to the plate once again.
“The idea of hosting can be daunting. That’s why we have funded Housing Justice Cymru to provide a Host Support service which includes expert and reliable information, training, advice, and guidance for people hosting, or those considering hosting, Ukrainians in Wales.
“More information on sessions and training can be found on the Housing Justice Cymru website. We also publish regularly updated guidance for hosts and sponsors at gov. wales/ukraine.
“We still need many more households to consider whether they could provide a home for those in need. This would normally be a commitment to hosting for 6 to 12 months.
“If anyone is considering this, we encourage them to register their interest at gov.wales/offerhome, and to attend one of the ‘Introduction to Hosting’ sessions, facilitated by Housing Justice Cymru. You won’t need to continue the process if you decide it is not for you.
“We have also partnered with Airbnb.org to ensure very short-term emergency placements can be provided to prevent homelessness.
“If you cannot host for more than 6 months but you could offer your property for up to 30 days at a time, you may also be able to contribute. Visit gov.wales/offerhome and follow the link to the Airbnb.org platform.”
Finally, the Minister stated: “We will continue to communicate with those who host Ukrainians, with updated guidance and information to support the valuable role you are undertaking.
“To all those that are already hosting and to those that are considering hosting, thank you, we owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.”
WESTMINSTER MUST BACK HOSTS
DURING COST-OF-LIVING CRISIS
Conservative MS Mark Isherwood raised how the cost-of-living crisis affects Ukrainian refugees.
Where families had taken in those fleeing Russian aggression, he noted a risk of sponsorships not continuing beyond six months because the hosts cannot afford the rise in fuel costs.
He asked the Minister what discussions she’d had with the UK Government about increasing the £350 contribution to households who’d taken in Ukrainian refugees.
The Minister agreed with Mark Isherwood that ending a specific ministerial post dealing with refugees was regrettable.
She noted a lack of information from the UK Government over the summer months and since Liz Truss replaced Boris Johnson as head of the Conservative Government.
Ms Hutt said: “We asked for an increase at least to £500, or up again, doubling to £700 per month. An urgent decision is needed regarding this as they reach the end of their six-month period.
“That period is underway, so we’re writing to all hosts to see if they will continue.”
UK GOVERNMENT URGED
TO PICK UP THE PHONE
The Minister thanked Mark Isherwood for introducing her to a charity offering support in North Wales, Link, and hoped that he and his colleagues would bring pressure to bear on their Westminster colleagues to ensure those in need from Ukraine and those in Wales helping them received support.
She added: “I look forward perhaps that we might have some telephone calls from the Prime Minister and other Ministers to us in Government. We must engage with them and follow this through.
“There is a huge job of work to be done here. We’re taking responsibility in the way I’ve outlined, funding our welcome centres and paying thank-you payments to hosts if they support a family who initially arrived in Wales under the Ukraine family scheme.
“That’s not happening in England. The commitment that we’re making is considerable.
“I hope everyone will join us today, saying that we need to press for those answers in terms of financial support.”
THE THREAT OF HOMELESSNESS
Sioned Williams of Plaid Cymru raised the spectre of Ukrainian refugees becoming homeless in Wales due to a lack of financial support and the end of existing hosting and housing placements.
The Minister praised the work of local authorities across Wales supporting refugees.
She said: “There are very imaginative programmes. That includes a whole range of issues like repurposing empty buildings.
“Local authorities are really coming up with a whole range of ways in which we can support people, perhaps, from a welcome centre, or a host family, into that intermediate accommodation, and then on to other longer-term accommodation.”
Pembrokeshire currently houses around 200 Ukrainian refugees, with the demand for assistance outstripping the availability of suitable accommodation.
NOT ONE PENNY FROM WESTMINSTER
TO SUPPORT FAMILIES FLEEING WAR
Responding to a question from Mabon ap Gwynfor about problems housing family groups, Jane Hutt hit out at the lack of support from the UK Government and how it’s u-turned on a commitment to help families.
“The UK Government has never given a penny towards the family scheme.
“The former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in one of his last PMQs, actually said that he thought the Ukraine family scheme should get the same funding and support as the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It’s never happened.
“We have provided thank-you payments to people who are hosting Ukrainian families. It’s all Welsh Government money; it’s not UK Government, because they don’t provide a penny. And also, the British Red Cross—£246,000—who are actually supporting Ukrainian families who are hosting family members under the Ukrainian family scheme.”
On Wednesday, September 28, Eluned Morgan, Wales’s Health Minister, announced the continuation of free healthcare in Wales to Ukrainian residents displaced by the ongoing conflict.
The exemption will continue to apply unless there’s a significant change in circumstances in Ukraine.
Retired teacher, 75, dies following Saturday night incident in Burry Port
RETIRED teacher Peter Ormerod, aged 75, who suffered serious injuries in an incident in Burry Port on Saturday night (24 September) has sadly passed away earlier today.
His family have paid tribute to him, saying: “Peter was a well-respected teacher and member of the community.
“A very loved and loving father, grandfather, brother and friend.”
The family requests privacy at this difficult time.
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