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Hostel plan withdrawn – for now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Withdrawn: Plan for bedsit bonanza

Withdrawn: Plan for bedsit bonanza

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to convert the old YWCA building in Queen Victoria Road, Llanelli, has been withdrawn.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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Llangennech: Police praise the courage of victims of sexual predator Peter Lewis

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THE OUTSTANDING courage of three victims of a sexual predator has been commended by the officers who investigated the case.

Following the sentencing of ‘predatory’ child abuser Peter Lewis.

The 54-year-old, of Tirgof, Llangennech, will serve a 27 year extended sentence for raping and sexually assaulting three girls, who were all under the age of 13 at the time of the offences.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Roberts, Dyfed-Powys Police, said:
“The three victims in this case have shown tremendous courage by supporting this investigation and giving evidence at court.
“Without them, this predatory sexual offender would not have been brought to justice.”

On Friday, 29 March 2019, Lewis was found guilty of 16 counts of sexual offences against children, including four of rape, seven of sexual assault, two of making indecent images and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

DCI Roberts continued: “Lewis did not accept responsibility and showed no remorse for his crimes. The investigating team has been tenacious in pursuing the truth and seeking justice for these brave girls.
“If anyone reading this has concerns surrounding contact they, or someone they know, has had with Peter Lewis, I urge them to speak to us.
“We have specialist police officers who will be there to support anyone who reports sexual offences to us.”

Police said: “We encourage any victims of sexual offences to have the confidence to come forward and report the offence to us. All reports are dealt with seriously and sensitively. Reports can be made by calling 101.

“Anyone with concerns about contact they, or someone they know, has had with Peter Lewis, is encouraged to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting crime reference: DPP/0037/09/02/2018/01/C.”

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Llanelli Town Mayor hosted the Easter Family Fun Day

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Llanelli Town Mayor David Darkin and Mayoress Kim Darkin with Cllr Suzy Curry and Cllr John Prosser also Nia Nia Griffith MP

ON Saturday 20th April Llanelli Town Mayor hosted the Easter Family Fun Day in the Selwyn Samuel Centre Arena.

The day was a huge success and raised lots of money for the mayors chosen charities – the main charity bring CYCA which provides support to children and young people in Carmarthenshire.

Attendees were treated to taster sport sessions with Rugby Tots, a selection of songs from Shrek Jr from the Hive Theatre Company, magic and fun from Crazy Clayton and a very special visit from Belle who sung songs and played games with the children.

Emergency services information stalls

The event was supported by many local community groups and even had a fire engine pop in for a visit.

Asda llanelli donated some of the Easter eggs and a huge thank you to other raffle prize donors including Joe’s ice cream, hungry horse and berridge-Jones photography.

Cllr David Darkin would like to thank everyone who supported and gave their time to make the event the success it was.

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Wales’ largest ever coastal walking festival launches May

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THIS May a new walking festival celebrating seven years of the 870-mile coast path will take place. The festival’s aim is to encourage locals across Wales to get outdoors, meet new people and appreciate the beautiful Welsh landscapes.

Walks will cover seven coastal regions will be organised by the Wales Coast Path and Ramblers Cymru.

The festival not only aims to showcase Wales’ beautiful coastline and countless natural assets, the Wales Coast Path Walking Festival will also boost local tourism along the path whilst encouraging residents to come together to celebrate the country’s iconic coastline.

Taking place 4th -19th May 2019, the festival will feature over 40 new guided walks created by Ramblers Cymru. The festival programme has been specifically designed to suit all ages and abilities, with the majority of the walks free to join.

From fully accessible and short family walks tonature walks and more challenging hikes, the festival aims to encourage people to enjoy outdoor exercise while exploring Wales’ iconic coastline. All walks will be led by experienced guides offering insights into the unique wildlife, fascinating history and culture that can be found along the way.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “This festival is set to be an excellent addition to Wales’ Year of Discovery and a way for visitors and locals to discover more about our unique Wales Coast Path. I’m delighted that the guided walks will encourage people to find out more about the landscape, history and wildlife associated with the coastal path and will also be an excellent way to be active while discovering more of Wales.”

Local authorities for each of the seven coastal regions, which include South Wales, The Gower, Ceredigion, the Llŷn Peninsula, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen, and North Wales, will help support the event, along with partners National Resources Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and a number of charities including Keep Wales Tidy.

The festival, which coincides with Visit Wales’ Year of Discovery 2019, will follow a theme of discovery which will be prominent throughout. The Wales Coast Path is the world’s first uninterrupted route along a national coast and gives hikers access to undiscovered sections of the coast with stunning views, rugged landscapes and rare wildlife.

To learn more about the Wales Coast Path walking festival or book walks visit: www.walescoastpath.gov.uk

Register to attend the festival: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/wales-coast-path-walking-festival-2019-18812644097

Admission free (additional charges for linear walks where transport is required).

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