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Welsh Assembly Government will probe City Deal

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THE WELSH Government has announced an independent investigation into the Swansea Bay City Deal.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Ken Skates, issued a written statement this evening which said that the UK and Welsh Governments had agreed the project required ‘a rapid and independent review’.
While Mr Skates’ statement is upbeat about the progress made on elements of the Deal, saying ‘all partners are committed’ to its success, the review will cover due diligence and governance in respect all aspects of the deal.
The statement concludes the review will ‘ensure that governance and oversight at programme and project level are robust’. If the review identifies weaknesses, it will recommend measures to strengthen them.
The Cabinet Secretary’s statement follows suspensions of staff from Swansea University who were concerned in elements of the Deal’s delivery, particularly the £200m+ redevelopment of the bog at Delta Lakes into a Wellness Village and Life Sciences Centre.
The move follows a call for the WAO to examine the web of companies and the tendering process made by Carmarthenshire Labour Leader, Rob James.
Carmarthenshire blogger Jacqui Thompson has highlighted potentially serious issues affecting due diligence on the Delta Lakes project. Pat Dodd Racher of West Wales News Review has also probed the project and highlighted a series of overlaps between personnel in different parts of it.
If governance and failures are identified or due diligence is shown to have been less than optimal sub-par, Mark James CBE, the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council who also heads up the City Board could find himself considerably embarrassed.
The Wellness project has been the subject of a number of articles in The Herald which have examined the corporate backgrounds of the County Council’s development partners in the project.
Tomorrow’s Herald digs further into the tangled web of connection between key individuals concerned in the Deal and particularly at Delta Lakes.

Exclusive By Jon Coles, Senior Reporter

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Carmarthen: Police appeal following death of 31-year-old Harry Lloyd

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THE INVESTIGATION is continuing into the death of 31-year-old Harry Lloyd who had suffered serious injuries at Francis Terrace, Carmarthen and later died at hospital.

There is still a police presence at the property and enquiries being made in the local area.

We were called to an incident at an address in Francis Terrace, Carmarthen at around 9.50am on Wednesday, February 20.

Enquiries are on-going to establish the cause of death.

A 28-year-old-woman arrested on suspicion of GBH remains in police custody.

Here’s a tribute from Harry’s family: “We are absolutely devastated by the loss of our son, brother, nephew, cousin and friend.

“Harry was a very popular, beautiful, gentle soul who will be missed.

“Please allow us to grieve this terrible loss in private.”

The police have asked that anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by phoning 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number: 07811 311 908. Use reference: DP-20190220-098

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Care home told staff not to speak Welsh

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THERE is an investigation taking place after it was revealed that a care home had warned members of staff about speaking Welsh.

Isfryn in Ystradgynlais has Approved Headway Provider status and provides rehabilitation and support for individuals with an acquired brain injury. It has been revealed that staff were told that it would be unacceptable if clients heard employees conversing in a language they did not understand. The Accomplish Group, which runs Isfryn, has announced that it was reviewing the issue.

The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws said: “If two or more people wish to speak or write to each other in Welsh in Wales, they have the freedom to do so, in accordance with the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.

“If someone, such as an employer, tells them that that they should not continue to use the Welsh language, they are possibly interfering with that freedom. The Welsh Language Measure gives me as Commissioner statutory powers to investigate such cases.

“From the evidence I have seen today, it appears there may be an interference with staff’s freedom to use Welsh at Isfryn, Accomplish. I will be contacting the organisation to gather more information in order to understand the situation fully. I would also like to encourage anyone affected to get in touch with my office to enable us to investigate the matter fully.”

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Plans to partially re-open Cwmduad road following landslide

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s highways team hopes to partially re-open the A484 at Cwmduad in March, following extensive work to clear and make the area safe after a landslide.

The council has been leading a highly complex operation to clear the highway and stabilise the land since October, when the landslide tragically claimed the life of a young man.

Works are progressing well, and providing things continue to go to plan, the council hopes to re-open a single lane on March 18.

To date, the operation has involved extensive clearance and reinstatement of land off the highway, with the creation of a 10 metre buffer zone; construction of a ramp from the highway to the river, to aid the recovery of lorry that was swept in with the force of the landslide; and clearance of silt from the highway.

Work currently underway includes the construction of highway support and reinstatement of the bank to the east of the highway, as well as highway drainage clearance and reinstatement.

The final stage of works – which will take place alongside the single carriageway opening – will involve rebuilding a parapet wall alongside the highway, before the road can be fully re-opened.

Ruth Mullen, Director of Environment for Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “We are pleased that works have progressed well, and we can now plan for the partial re-opening of the road.

“We are grateful for the support from the community during a prolonged and difficult period. It has been a complex project and we have continued to be mindful of the sensitivities both locally and within the community where one person tragically lost their life.

“Whilst we have worked at pace to enable the highway to be reopened as quickly as possible, the safety of the public has always been our primary focus.”

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