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No Golden Arches for St Clears

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A PLANNING application for a McDonald’s restaurant in St Clears has been rejected by Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning committee.
The application included the construction of a Costa Coffee outlet on the same site.

The application for the fast-food outlet finally came before councillors for a final decision on Thursday, September 19.

The proposal caused an uproar in the St Clears community, attracting around 270 objections to the development against 28 broadly in favour of it.

Council officers recommended approval of the scheme even though the burger joint and coffee shop would lie outside St Clears’ development limits.

Officers also claimed that the alterations to the road layout around the restaurant would benefit an un-associated housing development scheduled for land adjacent to the site. The 50-home building scheme is within St Clears’ development limit.

Surprisingly for a business intending to make a profit from users accessing the site solely by car, planning officers accepted the contention that any increase in traffic would be marginal without addressing why – if such were the case – such a large site was needed for the restaurant and coffee house.

Officer suggested, in all seriousness, the building of a large fast-food outlet accessed just off the main A40 roundabout ‘could potentially benefit local businesses in the town whereby customers would decide to visit the town centre after calling at the development’. It is not clear whether the planning officers considered whether the existing Starbucks, also situated just off the A40, provided a measurable benefit to town-centre businesses.

Local experience, in which town centre businesses and banks have closed in recent years, suggest any benefit would be minimal.

Resident David Peterson told the Planning Committee that his concern was primarily with the placement of a fast-food restaurant in the town when there was a crisis of childhood obesity. He forcefully reminded councillors that one of the Council’s scrutiny committees had recorded shockingly high levels of obesity among young people in the County. He also reminded them that the Welsh Government was probing levels of childhood obesity in West Wales. He said the restaurant’s construction would run contrary to the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

Bruce Wallace stressed that the development was outside the development limits for St Clears and that the only part of it within the LDP area was land designated for housing. He said the development was neither wanted nor needed by residents.

Speaking for the developer’s agent, Matthew Cox said the development was sustainable and had been held to the highest standard.

Planning Chair Alun Lenny read out a statement from Cllr Philip Hughes, the local councillor who was unable to attend the meeting.

Cllr Hughes expressed concern the traffic modelling exercise did not accurately address the actual traffic flow and could cause serious congestion to traffic entering St Clears.

Cllr Tyssul Evans picked up Mr Wallace’s words that the plans were outside the LDP limits from St Clears and that, apart from the site entrance, the whole development was outside the LDP limit.

Cllr Lenny asked the Head of Planning whether that was a material planning consideration. She confirmed the fact the development was outside the development was not necessarily a determining factor.

Cllr Joe Davies support Cllr Evans’ submission and added that the restaurant created the potential for a further parcel of land to be opened for development outside the LDP limit.

Head of Planning Llinos Quelch said that economic development land was not always within the LDP boundaries. That did not mean it was a straightforward refusal as the officer had set out his reasons why the development overrode the boundary consideration.

Cllr Sue Allen said the traffic data was incomplete, while Cllr Dot Jones expressed concern about the levels of pollution.

Cllr Carys Jones noted the prevalence of accidents in and around the main junction to and from the A40.

Cllr Alun Lenny expressed concerns about the reasons being advanced for refusal and asked Cllr Tyssul Evans to clarify whether the reason for the rejection he proposed was limited to construction being outside the LDP boundary.

Cllr Sue Allen asked that the application be deferred as the impact of the development had not been measured adequately against the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Her proposal received no support from other members of the Committee.

Committee members voted unanimously to reject the plans with the only dissenting vote coming from Cllr Lenny, who again expressed concern the reasons advanced for rejection might not stand up to an appeal.

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Herald publisher ceases operations

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HERALD NEWS UK LTD, the company which prints The Pembrokeshire Herald, The Carmarthenshire Herald and The Llanelli Herald has ceased operations.

Editor of Pembrokeshire Herald, Thomas Sinclair said: “After finalising today’s paper to go to print yesterday, a meeting was held last night. It was confirmed that the expected further investor funding would not be made available for the company.

“This meant that operations need be halted as the businesses was not able to pay its ongoing costs.

“At 10am today the 24 members of staff working at the newspaper have today been given notice of redundancy.

“We are absolutely devastated that after nearly 7 years and hundreds of editions of the paper we can no longer continued.”

“I would like to think that over those years, some of the stories we have written have made a difference to Pembrokeshire and beyond.”

Director of Herald News UK Limited, John Hammond said: “The company accountant could be appointing administrators as soon as next week.”

“The Owners of The Pembrokeshire Herald came to the conclusion last night during a finance meeting that the venture is no longer financially viable.

“Whilst every conceivable effort has been made to improve the financial situation of the business, we have to face the fact that there is no way that we can now continue in a solvent position.

“Whilst there has been a slow decline in readership of local newspapers, our costs for wages, printing and transport have substantially increased.”

“We would like to thank all of our loyal readers and staff.”

<img class=”wp-image-51343 size-large” src=”http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/herald2-1024×678.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”490″ /> Community: Herald titles were campaigning newspapers<img class=”wp-image-51344 size-large” src=”http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/herald3-1024×565.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”408″ /> Popular: 45,000 people read Herald titles each week in west Wales

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Volunteers needed in Carmarthenshire for Christmas food collection.

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LEADING charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare are appealing to people in Carmarthenshire to volunteer to help in the UK’s biggest food collection for people in need.

From Thursday, November 21 until Saturday, November 23 the two charities will be collecting food in Tesco stores across the UK and Northern Ireland during the annual Tesco Food Collection. They are looking for local volunteers to encourage shoppers to donate, so that as much food as possible can be collected.

During the collection customers are encouraged to donate long-life food to help food banks and community groups support people in need at Christmas. Tesco will top up customer donations by 20% to further support the two charities in their work.

Last year, 3.5 million meals were collected as part of the Tesco Food Collection, and since its launch in 2012, more than 50 million meals have been donated to the two charities by generous Tesco customers.

To make this year’s collection a success volunteers are needed to hand out shopping lists to customers, so they can see the food items most needed by food banks and community groups in their area, and to encourage people to donate.

Emma Revie, chief executive at The Trussell Trust said: “No one should need a food bank at any time of year – but we know during the lead-up to Christmas our network of food banks see even more people needing help.

“Food banks will be doing all they can to provide vital emergency support so people don’t face hunger this Christmas. But to make sure there are enough donations, we need your support. Having your support in this year’s Tesco Food Collection will make a real difference – the more people who volunteer, the more food will be collected from generous shoppers, and the better prepared food banks will be to help local people.”

Farihah Choudhury volunteered at the last Tesco Food Collection, collecting donations for local groups supported by FareShare.

“I loved volunteering last year – it was great to speak with shoppers donating food. The kindness I saw was wonderful and gave me a lot of hope,” she said.

“I believe everyone should have access to good, healthy food and I’d encourage anyone who can to give some time to help stop people going hungry this Christmas.”

People interested in volunteering can find out more and sign up at www.fareshare/tescofoodcollection

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday

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THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm. The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years. £2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.     

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.
More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.

At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.
She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities. I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”

The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.

James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.
James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community. The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”
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