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Motorhome situation ‘can’t go on’

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CONCERNS have been raised about the lack of facilities and administration for camper vans at what appears to be a semi-official overnight car park in Burry Port.

The East Car Park at the harbour was home to around 50 motorhomes and camper vans during the recent hot weekend. Traditionally, overnight parking was permitted on the site and monitored by Carmarthenshire County Council, which charged a small fee.

However, this summer there has been no charge to use the east car park, and the number staying overnight or longer at the site has boomed. This has coincided with a reduction in space as a result of building works on the new RNLI building.

Recently, a vehicle which parked obstructing the lifeboat’s low tide launching point had to be towed away by police.
It is unclear who is currently in charge of the site, but while operational control of the harbour was passed to marina specialists the Marine Group earlier this year the contact details advertised on the Camper Contact website are those of CCC’s Parking Services.

Several campers said that they would be willing to pay to park at the site, which boasts stunning views across the Loughor estuary, and cars parking in other parts of the harbour are still charged.

Recent concerns have been raised about the number of toilet facilities available in the harbour. Guidelines recommend that for 30 camping pitches, one toilet and urinal for men and two toilets for women should be provided.

One of the two toilets on the east side of the harbour was out of order for part of the weekend and these also serve the harbour’s many other visitors. This situation was exacerbated by the enforced closure of the toilets on the lighthouse side as a result of vandalism.

Burry Port’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Lisa Mitchell said that ‘as a Town Councillor I have been informed by our local Burry Port County Councillors that this matter is being dealt with by the County Council’.

“I am hopeful that action will be announced shortly,” she added.

Burry Port county councilor John James told The Herald that the current parking situation could not continue.

“The Harbour area is currently in a transitional period with the Marine Group entering into a lease agreement with Carmarthenshire County Council on maintaining the Harbour,” he explained.

“The Harbour Masterplan, which was presented to the public last April in the Memorial Hall and was well received, consists of different initiatives such as housing, leisure, an hotel and pub. Cllr. Amanda Fox and I, after speaking to local residents, have approached the County Council about having a Water Sports Centre located here as well as looking at land near the Skateboard Area and adapting it to cater for Camper Vans and adding essentials such showering and clothes washing facilities, with a proper booking in system.

“The current situation with the Camper Vans cannot go on, with local residents finding it difficult to find parking spaces and due to the recent issue that led to an obstruction to the Lifeboat Crew that had been called out for duty.

“The toilets are being looked at as to how we can improve this much-needed facility. Unfortunately, the toilets on the Lighthouse side have been subjected to mindless acts of vandalism which has culminated in serious damage being carried out, which meant they had to be closed and are currently in a state of repair but will be reopened.

“The planned State of the Art Playground is going through the Planning Process. This Playground will cater for children of all ages, including teenagers, and will have equipment that can be used for children with disabilities, and will be located at the grassed area opposite to Parsons Pickles.”

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Alan Thomas

    June 29, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Most campervans have their own toilets, (mine does.) What would be needed would be a fresh water supply tap, and a waste disposal.

  2. Samantha

    June 29, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Fishermen have used this for years to store their boat trailers & vehicles whilst trying to earn an actual living…. there’s nowhere for them to park now with all these there….. yes it’s nice seeing people enjoying themselves but something needs to be done with regards to the local fishermen having somewhere to keep their vehicles safely! The slip way always has cars parked on it whistl they try to launch or come in.

  3. Harrison

    June 30, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    It’s my understanding that the Marine Group are nothing to do with the car parks, they’re purely managing the marina. If you ring the marina office, it says so on the answer phone message. It’s pretty clear that CCC run the car parks.

  4. David Shaw

    August 20, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Why just ban overnight stops? Surely it would be better to control it with several overnight parking bays being created. You can control the volume and where people park this way. The owners could then charge a fee for overnight parking and bring in some revenue. Motorhomes stopping overnight don’t need facilities, they have fresh water on board, waste tanks and on board toilets. They seem to manage to control parking like this much better on the continent and they provide facilities in most towns. Its about being creative and not just banning things.

  5. IJ

    September 14, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    So they’ve just put up a height barrier and said ‘Bury Port is closed’. Used to go regularly and spend a small fortune in the town pubs, chippy and Indian…..will be lost revenue now. Sad.

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Victim speaks out about the impact knifepoint robbery

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Teifion Lewis: Robbed the man at knifepoint

THE VICTIM of a knifepoint robbery has spoken out about the impact the incident has had on his life as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in a national knife amnesty aiming to get weapons off the streets.

The 24-year-old was approached by a man he didn’t know while walking his dog in Carmarthen on July 20 this year. A knife was held to his chest, and he was forced to hand over the money in his wallet.

His attacker, Teifion Lewis, of Llammas Street, Carmarthen, was arrested and charged with robbery within four days, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Looking back at the incident, the victim, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “At first, I didn’t realise he had a knife on him. I just assumed he was another man who was out partying, given he was young and it was late on a Friday night.

“Even when he was right in front of me with his hand on my chest, I assumed he must have had too much to drink and just stumbled into me. Once I saw he was brandishing a knife, though, that changed everything. It was at that moment that I realised I was in far more danger than I’d first thought.

“I suppose the only real thing that was going through my mind at the time was to talk to him, do as he says, and get out of there as soon as possible without becoming hysterical. I just had to keep as calm as possible for the time he was blocking my route.”

He explained that it was only when Lewis had taken his money and walked away, that he realised what could have happened had things gone wrong.

“I thought about how easily he could have stabbed me and I’d have been left out in an empty street, cold and alone, bleeding to death, without even a mobile phone on me to call my friends and family to tell them I love them,” he said.

“I’ve never given much thought as to what my inevitable death will be like, but I’d never have thought it could have ended that way.”

The victim had walked his dog every night for two years – using this particular route for seven months – with no issue. Since being robbed, he has become wary of going out at night and hasn’t been able to walk down the lane where he was stopped without suffering flashbacks.

“It’s not necessarily the whole event that comes back to me, but different parts, such as when he started to sob to me about his home life, or when he apologised for ‘having to mug me’,” he said.

“By far, what’s stuck with me the most are the words said to me as I was being mugged. The words ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ have been repeating in my mind every day since then, without failure.”

On September 2, at Swansea Crown Court, Teifion Lewis was sentenced for robbery and possessing a knife in a public place. The victim read out a statement directly addressing Lewis, urging him to get his life back on track and forgiving him for what he did.

“You asked me that night to forget that the robbery had ever happened,” he read. “My assumption is because you were fearful as for what might subsequently happen to you. I’m afraid though, that the image of a knife being flicked towards my chest, and the phrase ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ is something I will never be able to erase from my mind, no matter how much I wish for it to go.

“I want you, however, to improve. I want you to use your punishment as your wake-up call, and as a doorway to improving both your future and the future of those who you are close to. There is help available for you, even in prison, and even when it seems all hope is lost. If I can get my life back on track after my autism diagnosis, so can you.

“You’re young, you’re able bodied, and you still have time. Use it wisely. I can’t forget what you did, but just this once I will forgive you.”

The victim has spoken out about his experience as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in Operation Sceptre – a national week of action aimed at cracking down on the illegal possession of knives. A knife amnesty is taking place during the week (Sept 18-24), with people able to bin their knives at specific locations across the force no questions asked.

The 24-year-old has backed the operation, and the chance to get knives out of our communities.

“I’d prefer it if these people who carry knives with them be honest about who they are and why they have them on their person,” he said. “But it’s much more important that it’s an opportunity to get these weapons off the street.

“If the ability to do this anonymously is what gives these people the confidence to rid themselves of their weapons, then so be it.”

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Police cracking down on unauthorised parking in Nott Square

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A POLICE crackdown on unauthorised parking in Carmarthen’s Old Town has been welcomed by local businesses.

As The Herald has previously reported, there have been issues with drivers parking in Nott Square for decades, and new Chair of the town’s Chamber of Commerce Nathan Carroll recently wrote to the Leader of CCC to discuss the matter.

While solutions have been trialled in the past, including placing large planters in an attempt to deter illegal parking, they have met with limited degrees of success.

However, on Thursday (Sept 13) police officers began issuing drivers with £30 fixed penalty notices, with six cars ticketed on the first day.

All vehicles parked in the areas and not unloading goods will face a £30 fine for parking in a pedestrianised area.

Inspector Dominic Jones said: “We would ask that members of the public and business owners do not park in Nott Square. This could cause an obstruction and delay emergency vehicles from attending incidents in the town centre. Police officers are actively patrolling the area and will ticket cars or ask drivers to move on.”

The power to book or move vehicles parked in this area currently lies with Dyfed-Powys Police, but an application has been made to the Welsh Government for Carmarthenshire Council to be given this authority.

Mr Carroll said that traders he had spoken to welcomed the police presence. “When they are there to clear it, it’s been very good. They have been moving vehicles on, which is great,” he commented.

“There are still a few issues, but all in all things have improved.

However, he added that traders would like to see a permanent solution, like a removable bollard to allow access for deliveries.

“It’s not perfect, there is still a long way to go – obviously police don’t have the resources to stop every car there,” he remarked, pointing out that the parking problems had been on the Chamber of Commerce agenda for around four decades worth of meetings.

“However, it seems that the latest actions have been positive – and we are hopefully moving to a stage where we don’t have to discuss it anymore,” he added. “We want Nott Square to be more pedestrian-friendly.”

County councillors for the ward Alun Lenny and Gareth John explained that they were ‘very aware’ of the ‘chaotic situation in the town’s two main squares’.

“Only delivery vehicles are allowed to enter Nott Square from the King Street direction, and the constant stream of cars who ignore the road traffic sign outside the Nat West bank are committing a moving traffic offence,” Cllr John explained.

“However, vehicles with business in Quay Street are allowed to exit via the square and Queen Street. Parked cars are an obstruction to visibility of moving traffic and a clear hazard to children, in particular. Unfortunately, council Enforcement Officers (Traffic Wardens) don’t have the powers at present to issue fixed penalty notices to these motorists.

“Guildhall Square only has one entrance/exit – being at the top of Blue Street. Signs also clearly show that vehicles are only allowed to enter the square to unload. Cars parked in the Square have therefore already committed an offence.”

Noting that they had been ‘pressing hard’ for a legal solution to the situation, Cllr Lenny added that a meeting had been held on Monday (Sept 17) convened by Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths and Chaired by Town Mayor Cllr Emlyn Schiavone, with the police and senior Town and County Council officials.

“The County Council has prepared a legal case requesting that its Enforcement Officers should be empowered to issue penalty notices (i.e. parking tickets) to cars parked on both squares. This has to be approved by Welsh Government. We expect a reply this autumn,” he added.

“The County Council will also use a mobile camera, using numberplate recognition technology, to identify illegally parked cars. This will also be used on other sites in the county.

“In the meantime, the police have been warning motorists in the first instance, and are now issuing £50 fixed penalties. This is done with regret, but it does penalise motorists who’ve broken the law. We’re also pleased that Police Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has arranged for a police office to be opened in Hall Street, which joins the two squares. This means that police officers and PCSOs will be ‘on the ground’ to monitor the situation.

“This has been a long running sore and a source of frustration for us as local members. Planters were placed on Nott Square to deter inconsiderate parking. Unfortunately, they were the target of vandalism. We sincerely hope that the Welsh Government grants the delegated powers as soon as possible so that this dangerous and unsightly problem can be firmly dealt with.”

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Break in at old police station

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FOLLOWING a break-in at the former Friar’s Park police station, officers found a plethora of items from an antique police bicycle to riot gear in a Carmarthen flat.

Magistrates sitting in Llanelli on Thursday (Sept 13) heard that on July 27 this year police discovered there had been a burglary at the station, which was no longer in use.

A ‘large amount’ of equipment was found to be missing, which was traced to a property on Union Street, where 39-year-old Andrew Scholfield lived.

Scholfield, who gave his nationality as ‘Terran’, pleaded guilty to a charge of handling stolen goods.

Prosecuting, Julie Sullivan explained that officers ‘acting on information received’ attended Scholfield’s home. He was not there, but another resident let the officers in and told them that he had seen Scholfield and another man in the communal room with a trench coat and police helmet.

An array of police equipment and memorabilia was found in the room, including uniforms, riot shields, old photographs, operation reports, a hand-held radar, a scene of crime investigation kit, an old first aid kit, a laptop, a miniature ornamental police helmet, a bicycle, and a radiation detector.

The officers obtained a warrant for Scholfield’s bedroom, and found even more equipment, including hats, helmets, police books, epaulettes and a gas mask.

A statement from the handyperson who worked at Friar’s Park indicated that the items had been taken from all over the building, including the former police museum.

Scholfield was arrested and made no comment in a police interview. The court heard that he was currently subject to a community order for harassment.

Ms Sullivan told magistrates that no valuation for the stolen materials had been provided by Dyfed-Powys Police, which made it ‘a bit difficult to assess’ the level of harm caused. However, she estimated that the goods would be valued at between one and ten thousand pounds.

Scholfield’s solicitor Grayson Tanner said that his client suffered with mental health issues including stress and PTSD.

Following a report from the probation service, Scholfield was sentenced to four months of electronically monitored curfew between 9pm and 7am and ordered to pay costs of £85 and an £85 victim surcharge.

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