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Tywi Valley Path welcomed by tourism businesses

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Left to right: Board Member for Regeneration and Leisure Cllr Meryl Gravell, Director of Environment Ruth Mullen, Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans and Head of Transport & Highways Stephen Pilliner.

AMBTIOUS plans to create a 16-mile walking and cycling path through the scenic Tywi Valley have been welcomed by tourism businesses in Carmarthenshire.

Local accommodation providers, food and drink establishments and tourist attraction operators attended an event at The Plough Inn in Rhosmaen, Llandeilo, organised by Carmarthenshire Tourism Association and Carmarthenshire County Council and funded through the Welsh Government’s Regional Tourism Engagement Fund.

The aim was for businesses to find out how they can benefit from the county’s expanding cycling market and make the most of the opportunities these large-scale cycling events bring to the area.

They had an update on the council’s cycling strategy which will soon be going out to consultation and heard from cycling industry experts including Matt Page who runs A Cycling and organises big cycling events in the county, Colin Porter from luggage transfer service company Walkalongway and Paul Smith who runs cycle-hire business Towy Valley Cycles.

They also had a presentation on the proposed multi-million-pound Tywi Valley Path which will follow an almost adjacent route to that of the River Tywi, linking in with major tourist attractions between Carmarthen and Llandeilo.

It is estimated the project could attract 15,000 visitors a year, generating between £860,000 and £2million in the local economy and create and support up to 41 full-time jobs.

Former pro cyclist Matt Page said he was very supportive of the project: “I think it is going to bring cycling to a different type of people, the hard-core road cyclist won’t use it, but it will be perfect for families and it will also show people the fantastic countryside we have got, which is great.”

Christoph Fischer, organiser of Hwyl Llandeilo Litfest, said: “I think it is fantastic, I am a keen cyclist and this ticks all the boxes. Some people do not want to cycle on the roads, so this will cater for them. I think it will attract more people to come here on cycling holidays and show them how beautiful the Tywi Valley is, it is a great way of seeing it.”

George Rashbrook, who runs the Forest Arms in Brechfa, described it as “not just a cycle path” but “route to discovery”. He said: “I think it is awesome and not just for cyclists. It will educate people about the landscape, the history of the route, the wildlife, the possibilities are endless.”

The path is being developed in phases and initial works have already taken place near the concrete works in Abergwili. Negotiations with landowners are ongoing, and various grant applications are being prepared / submitted.

Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans added: “It was great to see so many people at the event who were very positive about the project and could see the opportunities it could bring. We believe it will provide a huge boost for tourism in the area linking the tourist attractions along the route as well as local cafes, pubs and restaurants not to mention the accommodation providers and how they can add value to their business.

“Carmarthenshire wishes to become the cycling capital of Wales and the Tywi Valley Path is just one of a number of projects the council is working on; the refurbishment of the velodrome at Carmarthen Park is well underway and we have just recently allocated £500,000 from our capital programme to build a new closed road cycling circuit at Pembrey Country Park.”

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Motorbike safety campaign launched across Wales

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A CAMPAIGN aimed at reducing the risk of motorcycle-related deaths and serious injuries on the roads is underway across Wales.

As the weather improves police see more bikers on the roads, taking advantage of the beautiful routes across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

Dyfed-Powys Police is urging motorcyclists to ride safely and warns that until October there will be an increased focus as part of the campaign, named Op Darwen.

Superintendent Huw Meredith, Head of Specialist Operations, said: “Motorcyclists have long been identified as particularly vulnerable road users and reducing the number of road deaths and casualties on the roads of Dyfed-Powys is a priority for our Roads Policing Units.

“We have always welcomed motorcyclists from outside our borders to enjoy the magnificent landscape, but they must be aware that Dyfed-Powys Police is doing all it can to ensure our roads are used safely by all, with our Roads Policing Units taking robust action to prevent fatal or serious road traffic collisions on our roads.

“Everyone must take responsibility for their own and others safety on our roads and be aware of their riding and driving manner. Action will be taken against anyone choosing to ride or drive anti-socially, recklessly or illegally on our roads.

“Our officers see far too many tragedies, many preventable. Roads Policing officers will be out in numbers throughout Dyfed-Powys using a combination of education, engagement and enforcement to prevent further tragedies.”

Officers will also be encouraging riders to improve their biking skills by taking part in BikeSafe workshops, which
offer an insight into what can be achieved with further advanced training. The workshops, run by police forces around the UK, use a mix of discussions, on-road observed rides and information videos. They are designed to enhance the skills of all riders who have already passed their tests and are suitable for all abilities, from the most seasoned rider to those returning to biking after a period of absence.

Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates praised the campaign: “Our roads continue to be amongst the safest in the world.

“However, the number of motorcyclists being killed or seriously injured is still too high.

“Campaigns like this are a key part of a wider range of measures aimed at making our roads safer and preventing future motorcycling casualties. This holistic approach includes ensuring motorcyclists are prioritised in our road safety funding, supporting Go Safe’s operation of speed cameras and funding local authorities to deliver Bikesafe and other motorcyclist training.”

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New housing company to create jobs and boost economy

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A NEW local housing company, formed by Carmarthenshire County Council to build affordable homes, will create jobs, apprenticeships, and boost the local economy councillors have said.

The council previously agreed to set up the company, but discussed it at Full Council during a notice of motion aimed at committing support to maximising the benefits to local people and the construction industry.

An original notice of motion put forward my Cllr Jeff Edmunds, of Bigyn ward, to create a local authority workforce to build the homes was rejected in favour of an amended motion by Cllr Linda Evans, executive board member for housing.

She said it was important that local businesses in the construction industry had the chance to benefit from the developments.

“Builders are desperate for work – we want to give local builders an opportunity to expand. We want sustainable benefits to the local housing market and development market.

“We will continue to work with Coleg Sir Gar to create opportunities and skills. We want to keep the Carmarthenshire pound in Carmarthenshire.”
She was supported by Cllr Cefin Campbell, executive board member for rural affairs.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the local economy,” he said.

“They have had it hard in recent years because of the economy. Our duty is to support them – if our SMEs prosper then our local economy also prospers.”

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‘Race hate’ case will be heard at Crown Court

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A BRYNAMMAN man who allegedly called for all Muslims to be ‘forcibly sterilised and banned from preaching their ‘evil creed’ in a social media post will have his case heard at Crown Court.

It’s alleged that 34-year-old Jonathan Jennings posted nine offensive or threatening comments between March and April last year.

These are said to include threatening to ‘Jo Cox’ Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, hailing a man jailed for kicking a pregnant Muslim woman in the stomach as ‘a National Hero’ and suggesting that bombing mosques and ‘putting Muslim on top of bonfires’ were ‘great ideas’.

It is alleged that he said Hitler was born 100 years too soon, and called for Gina Miller to be ‘hunted down and executed’ over her stance on Brexit.

Appearing at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court wearing a blue military greatcoat, purple shirt, and yellow striped tie, Jennings, of Heol y Gelynen, spoke only to give the court his name, age and address.

Jennings’ solicitor said that he would not be entering a plea at this stage.

The District Judge declined jurisdiction, and Jennings was released on bail until May 18 at Swansea Crown Court, on condition that he does not post or repost anything on social media, or create any new accounts.

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