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Car park concerns raised over new homes plan

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PLANNING permission was granted for three houses in Pontyberem at a recent meeting of the planning committee, in spite of concerns raised over the proposals for a car park for existing residents.

Previous plans for the site were dismissed under delegated powers last year, and an appeal failed on the grounds of highway safety.

Introducing the plans, Jonathan Thomas explained that the outline plans had been resubmitted with an additional parking area for existing residents, notably those living opposite the site, which addressed these issues.

However, he added that the proposals had still received a number of objections, which focussed on loss of privacy, foul drainage, and damage to other people’s property.

The plans were recommended for approval by officers.

Objecting, local resident Mark Davies, who owns a property opposite the site, pointed out that a previous application had been refused by CCC and the Welsh Government.

He added that the single-track road to the site was narrow, and without a pavement. “At no point are there properties opposite each other,” he remarked.

“With this development you will have increased traffic flow and pedestrians, especially at peak times.”

He noted that the six additional parking spaces for existing residents were around 200 yards away from their homes. “The elderly, young and disabled will have to walk this in all weathers,” Mr Davies told the committee, expressing concerns that this would cause issues with deliveries to the houses.

Local member Cllr Liam Bowen agreed with most of what Mr Davies said, and questioned whether six parking spaces would be sufficient.

“This is the only part of the road where houses will be facing each other,” he added, claiming that construction traffic to the site would also cause problems for local residents.

Mr Thomas pointed out that the amount of traffic for building three properties would be ‘relatively low’.

Highways officer Kevin James explained that the original reason for refusal was because there was on-street parking opposite, which caused visibility issues. He pointed out that the provision of off-street parking and a footpath would be a ‘huge benefit’.

Cllr Ken Howell questioned whether people would choose to park 200 yards away from their homes when there was space outside. “What will happen is people will park on the road if you don’t put two yellow lines down,” he warned.

Cllr Kevin Madge also raised concerns about non-residents using the parking spaces, and the lack of street lighting between the car park and existing houses.

It was pointed out that the provision of street lighting was not a matter for the committee.

Cllr Madge said he was ‘not happy’ that elderly residents would be expected to walk 200 yards from the car park in the dark late at night.

Cllr Bowen told the committee that while improvements had been made, ‘the disadvantages outweigh the benefits’.

After Mr Thomas confirmed that the land would be designated as a car park permanently, the committee voted to grant permission by 15-1 with two councillors abstaining.

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Drink driver hospitalised and arrested

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A MAN who was hospitalised after crashing his car on the B4310, Drefach, has also been arrested for drink driving.

The crash, which happened in the early hours of Sunday morning (Feb 18), destroyed the Mercedes he was driving.

He hit a van which was parked outside of a property, which was also damaged.

Dyfed-Powys Police, Welsh Ambulance Service, and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service personnel attended the scene.

A spokesman for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were called to reports of a road traffic collision at 12.50am on Sunday morning on the B4310 in Drefach.

“We sent crews from Pontyates and Tumble at the scene and one male was cut out of a car using hydraulic cutting equipment and taken to hospital.”

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‘Connecting Carmarthenshire’ campaign takes a leap forward

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Making progress: Jonathan Edwards MP, Adam Price AM and Geraint Trello

EFFORTS to improve the availability of high speed internet and good mobile phone signal took a leap forward this week as EE sets about switching on new mobile phone masts and launches its 4G Home Broadband solution.

Representatives of EE came to Carmarthenshire this weekend to meet with Member of Parliament, Jonathan Edwards and Assembly Member, Adam Price who have led a ‘Connecting Carmarthenshire’ campaign.

Their meeting, which took place near the site of one of two new mobile phone masts near Abergorlech, focused on the upgrades and improvements the company is undertaking across rural Carmarthenshire, with a particular focus on EE’s new 4G Home Broadband solution which can provide superfast broadband via an antenna on the house – a solution EE says could help around 580,000 homes nationwide gain access to high speed connectivity.

The Plaid Cymru politicians said the new improved mobile signal was itself “a big advancement”, but said the launch of the 4G antenna was “a leap forward” for connecting rural Carmarthenshire communities.

Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards said: “It was a pleasure to welcome EE to Carmarthenshire and continue our discussions on improving connectivity in rural Wales. One new mast will be switched on in Abergorlech in a matter of weeks, with another new mast for the Llansawel region with us later in the year.

“These new masts add to the 27 4G upgrades EE has carried out to existing sites in Carmarthenshire over the last 12 months, providing better coverage for rural communities including Llanybydder, Pencader and Llanarthne, adding to the upgrades from other mobile phone giants across the county.

“Perhaps the most impressive news this week is the launch of EE’s Home Broadband solution which, with the use of a small antenna on the home, can bring superfast broadband to the house. This looks like it could be the answer for many properties which have been left behind during the fixed line upgrades, or where they can only receive slower fixed broadband speeds.

“It’s not for an elected representative to promote a particular private company, but where there appears to be a solution for so many properties to get high speed internet, I have no problem in promoting the product – particularly because when it was trialed it delivered speeds over 100Mbps! This is a giant leap forward.

“Connecting Carmarthenshire is really starting to see positive results, but I’ll keep on working to ensure everyone I represent achieves good connectivity.”

Assembly Member Adam Price said: “The new sites in the Abergorlech area are the latest in a long time of upgrades in recent months, with the added bonus of those mobile signals being used for superfast internet in the home.

“Given that various grants for broadband solutions are available from the Welsh Government, we believe those who can’t get access to fixed broadband connections or receive a glacial pace connection may well be able to receive a grant to have products like 4G Home Broadband installed at their homes.

“I’d encourage anyone who is interested in a grant to cover the costs of delivering a step change in their broadband speeds to visit the Welsh Government’s website to check eligibility, or contact Jonathan and I where we can send information to them directly.

“More and more people across our Carmarthen East and Dinefwr constituency are seeing the benefits of good mobile phone signal and much faster broadband. We’ve still got a little way to go, but local residents are seeing big advancements. We’re delighted the Connecting Carmarthenshire campaign is delivering tangible results for the county.”

On the launch of EE’s 4G Home Broadband solution, Max Taylor, Managing Director of Marketing, EE said: “As our network continues to expand into some of the most remote parts of the UK, we’ve seen the amazing impact that 4G connectivity can have on rural communities. Our newest 4G home broadband router and antenna takes this one step further, ensuring thousands of families in rural areas across the UK could enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband inside their home for the very first time – whether video-calling the grandparents or streaming their favourite TV series.”

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4.4 magnitude earthquake felt across Wales

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AN earthquake of 4.4 magnitude has been felt across Wales and England this afternoon (Feb 17).

There are numerous reports of the earthquake being felt across west Wales, including Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The earthquake originated near Swansea, where it is was felt strongest, at around 2:30pm.

However, the earthquake was felt across Wales, and many parts of England.

The EMSC, an independent monitor of earthquakes, said: “Latest update of the effects of the #earthquake in #Swansea region. Was felt up to 300 km from epicentre.”

Dyfed-Powys Police received many reports about the incident, but said that there was no need for concern, and that they felt it themselves in their control room.

The police force said: “We are receiving an extremely high call volume reporting some sort of earth tremor in the area – we are receiving reports from across the whole of Wales (we felt it in our control room too!). For now – it is unexplained – but there is nothing to worry about.”

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