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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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Baby died an hour after birth following ‘failings’ by Health Board

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A BABY died just minutes after being born following failings by Hywel Dda Health Board, a damning report by the Public Services Ombudsman has found.

Callum James was born at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen on May 5, 2016, but died less than an hour later despite attempts to resuscitate him.

His parents, Ellie and Christopher James from Haverfordwest, complained that there had been a failure to monitor Callum’s development during pregnancy and to provide a birthing plan.

Mrs James also complained that the Health Board failed to respond to unusual pains during labour and to conduct necessary tests.

The report states there were also delays in Callum receiving treatment after he was born due to the First Consultant being sent to the wrong ward, delaying emergency treatment by 12 minutes.

The Health Board said that, in its view, there were no unnecessary delays in the attempts to resuscitate Callum, as the midwives in attendance had been trained in neonatal resuscitation.

In addition, the Ombudsman found that Callum’s death was also incorrectly registered as a stillbirth rather than neonatal death.

The report says Callum was ‘pale’ and ‘floppy’ at birth and immediately transferred to a resuscitation table where a team of medics worked for over half an hour to save his life.

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint that there had been a failure to monitor Callum’s development during pregnancy and labour and to provide a birthing plan.

Hywel Dda agreed to implement all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, including providing Callum’s parents with an apology and £4,500 for the distress caused.

The Board also agreed to change Callum’s cause of death from ‘stillborn’ to ‘neonatal death’.

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3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered

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JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.

“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.

“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.

“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”

The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.

This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.

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Care home honour Armed Forces Day

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PLAS Y DDERWEN in Johnstown will be celebrating Armed Forces Day on Thursday, June 28, with a big brew up supporting SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity.

SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families. Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.

Janet Williams, Activities Coordinator, said: “It is very important that we keep the memories of those who fought alive and that we also think about those involved in conflicts around the world today. We welcome anyone that wishes to attend and will have the chance to meet the team and look around the home.”

Plas Y Dderwen is part of Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, supporting older people living independent lives over the last 25 years.

Barchester services include residential care and nursing care as well as expert dementia care.

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