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Hostel plan withdrawn – for now

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Withdrawn: Plan for bedsit bonanza

Withdrawn: Plan for bedsit bonanza

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to convert the old YWCA building in Queen Victoria Road, Llanelli, has been withdrawn.

An application to convert the building into 14 bedsits had been made by Tony Rees, the ‘introducer’ involved in the secret negotiations between Council Officers and developers to flog off Parc Howard.

Mr Rees’s application had met with a flurry of objections.

As a letter from the Civic Society noted: “The Queen Victoria area has always been regarded as one of the attractive and few tree-lined residential areas in Llanelli town.”

Residents have also expressed their concern that one of the purposes to which the proposed bedsits would be used would be as a bail hostel, although this does not appear borne out by assurances given by Mr Rees’ agents to other local media.

The key objections mounted by residents suggest that the change of use is not only out of keeping with the immediate area, but represents an intensification of use that could involve a large transient population dependent upon housing benefit being ‘dumped’ in the locale.

One objection reads: ‘The proposed change is simply not compatible with Queen Victoria Road or its adjoining streets. I concede that it stands in the one block that is occupied by businesses, and one building divided into four flats, but this proposal is completely out of kilter by having such density’.

A further objection notes that the development ‘does not seem to fit in with the current land-use of Queen Victoria Rd or surrounding streets which are predominately low density residential homes for families with children, working couples and older couples’.

One surprising aspect of the application is that the applicant does not seem to consider the issue of whether or not additional parking facilities will be available for those in occupation of the proposed bedsits. With parking spaces at a premium in Llanelli, it is difficult to see where any additional vehicles could be accommodated within the surrounding streets. However, Llanelli Town Council’s only objection to the scheme was a suggested shortage of communal cooking facilities.

In addition, the application – which is for change of use only – does not appear to take account of arrangements for the storage of residents’ rubbish, other than by a short mention of a store to the rear of the property . Fears that the development will cause an increase in anti-social behaviour are addressed neither by the Town or County Councils in their responses to the application. It is, indeed, apparent that the Council’s Public Protection Team have not visited the location at all to assess the scale of any potential nuisance, as the response from that team is evidently based only on a desk review of the material provided by the applicant.

One resident of neighbouring Heol Shiloh wrote: ‘Hostels attract transient types who statistically are more likely to litter and otherwise degrade the aesthetic of our area as well as behave in anti-social ways. We do not wish our quiet and friendly area to be subjected to this’.

While the application has been withdrawn, there is nothing to prevent it being restarted with those objections – such as they are – raised by statutory respondents addressed, thereby enabling residents’ concerns to be altogether ignored.

Councils across Wales have deliberately adopted a policy of permitting ‘ stack ‘em high and flog ‘em cheap ‘ bedsit developments in order to massage their requirement to provide affordable accommodation. In most cases , this has meant turning former commercial buildings into bedsits and Housing Benefit magnets for private landlords’ benefit.

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Community checks out new Carmarthenshire Policing Hub and Custody Suite

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn today (24.06.22) hosted an open doors event for local stakeholders at Dyfed-Powys’ new Custody Suite and Policing Hub, that is currently under construction at Dafen, Llanelli Carmarthenshire.

Planning permission was granted to the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner by Carmarthenshire County Council back in April 2021 for the proposed development, which is to be an ambitious sustainable construction, with a BREEAM excellence rating.

Wilmott Dixon, who are the Construction Contractor have been on site since autumn preparing for the first construction phases, with specific progress now beginning made on the development, that aims to be completed by May 2023.

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said; “This is a major investment for us which will see an ambitious, modern, sustainable fit for purpose policing hub and custody suite that will meet the needs and expectations of modern policing. 

“During the planning application process between 2020 and 2021, we engaged widely with the local community,  and It was a pleasure to open the door, and welcome local community representatives to the construction site today, to show the progress that has been made to date.

“I’ve worked extremely hard with partners over recent years to ensure that we get to this position and I now look forward to seeing the construction work continue to develop at pace over the year”.

In being a BREEAM related development, the new build will offer a more sustainable environment, that aims to enhance the well-being of the people who work within it, and help protect natural resources.

Amongst some of the sustainable credentials of the new build will be a photovoltaic solar power installation to minimise the carbon footprint of the building; a rainwater harvesting facility for toilets and non-potable water, and electric car charging facilities.

Chief Inspector Richard Hopkin, Dyfed-Powys Police’s operational lead on the new build, said: “We feel very fortunate to be having a new build custody suite and hub coming to Llanelli.

“Our current Llanelli estate is old, so to see a new build that is being designed with such consideration for the environment and the wellbeing of our staff and the community within which it sits is really positive.

“The development will provide a fit for purpose, future proof solution which will complement the town centre Neighbourhood Police Team base.”

Ian Jones, Director at Willmott Dixon commented, “This is the first project that we have worked on with Dyfed Powys Police, and as part of what has being a collaborative partnership, we are delighted to have the opportunity to deliver this development. 

“This is a purpose‐built, new custody suite to replace and supplement provision of custody within Carmarthenshire which will provide excellent facilities to meet the needs of modern law enforcement and detainee wellbeing for Dyfed Powys Police. 

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to welcome guests to the site to show them first-hand how construction is progressing.”

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Ryan Giggs quits as Wales manager with ‘immediate effect’

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EX Man-Utd winger has left his position as the manager of the national football team with ‘immediate effect’.

Giggs stepped back from his role in November 2020 following after being arrested.

49-year-old Giggs has been charged with assault and using controlling behaviour towards an ex-partner. A claim that Giggs has denied.

In a heartfelt statement on his decision, Giggs said: “After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to manage my country, but it is only right that the Wales FA, the coaching staff and the players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation around the position of their head coach.

“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilised or jeopardised in any way by the continued interest around this case.

“I am sad that we cannot continue this journey together because I believe that this extraordinary group will make the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.

“It is my intention to resume my managerial career at a later date.”

Following Giggs arrest in 2020, former Wales captain Robert Page took over as interim manager.

Under Page Wales beat Ukraine to earn themselves a place at Qatar World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

Giggs faces one charge of using controlling and coercive behaviour August 2017 and November 2020, one charge of assault causing actual bodily harm of his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville on November 1, 2020.

He also faces a charge of common assault on the victim’s sister.

Giggs denies all charges against him and will stand trial on August 8.

The trial is expected to last five days.

Following the announcement, a FAW spokesperson said: “The FAW places on record its gratitude to Ryan Giggs for his tenure as manager of the Cymru men’s national team and appreciates the decision he has taken, which is in the best interests of Welsh football,

“The full focus of the FAW and the Cymru men’s national team is on the Fifa World Cup in Qatar later this year.”

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M&S opticians opens its doors in Llanelli Parc Trostre

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MARKS & SPENCER has opened the newest branch of its M&S Opticians service, located in the retailer’s popular Llanelli store.

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre will offer customers an expert opticians service, which includes a full eye health examination (OCT scan) for every eye test booked at no additional fee.

Free eye tests are available as an opening offer, as well as 15% off glasses and sunglasses for Sparks customers. There’s a wide range of designer brands to choose from including Mulberry, Prada, Joules, Kate Spade, Oakley, Police, Maui Jim along with leading lens manufacturers – Zeiss and Nikon.

Expert advice on contact lens fitting and wearing is also on hand, alongside a contact lens home delivery option. The store will also be home to a hearing aid audiologist who will be offering free hearing health checks along with latest hearing aid technology, including rechargeable models and mobile connectivity.

In addition to the physical experience in-store, customers can book appointments online here, as well as view, purchase and try on glasses via the innovative ‘virtual try on’ tool here

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre is the second optician service to open in Wales following a successful trial across ten UK cities, during which the service received a customer satisfaction rate of 96% and a customer recommendation rate of 96%.

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre Store Manager, Aled Bonnell, said: “We’re always looking for ways to make shopping at M&S even more rewarding and feedback from our trial showed that customers loved the convenience of having an Opticians service in our store. We’re really excited to be opening our M&S Opticians in Llanelli and hearing what our customers think. The choice of different brands we’re offering is second to none and we have brilliant opening offers to suit all budgets.”

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