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Have your say on council’s budget proposals

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PEOPLE are being encouraged to have their say on a range of savings proposals being considered by Carmarthenshire County Council as part of its annual budget setting process.

A public consultation has been launched giving people an opportunity to review proposals that could help the council save £16.5million over the next three years.

The council is inviting local residents, businesses, community and voluntary organisations to complete an online budget survey or drop-in to a face-to-face consultation event, to say how the proposals might impact on their families and communities.

The council is also asking whether people would accept a higher increase in council tax in order to avoid some of the efficiency proposals.

Feedback will be considered in early February before final decisions are made by councillors in March when they must set a balanced budget.

Several proposals have been put forward for public consultation.

Amongst them are plans to help schools manage budgets more effectively by sharing resources and merging schools where there are low pupil numbers; as well as supporting children with additional learning needs to attend their local school by upskilling staff, therefore saving costs on specialist settings.

The household waste recycling centre at Whitland could be closed; charges could be raised at the council’s cemetery in Ammanford; three public toilets could be closed where there are alternative facilities nearby, and charges for ‘superloos’ could be increased.

Some services that the council is not required to provide could be reduced, including the closure of some under-used facilities and the scaling back of maintenance and cleansing routines.

Meanwhile, income targets have been raised for some of the council’s facilities, including Pembrey Country Park, Pendine Outdoor Education Centre, Dylan Thomas Boathouse, theatres and leisure centres.

Further income is being sought through more vigorous income recovery from the council’s trading standards team and a potential paid-for treatment service for Japanese Knotweed.

And council staff have been told they need to find £13million of internal savings across all departments to save money by working more efficiently, including plans to reduce travelling, printing and energy costs; as well as looking at procurement arrangements and staffing structures.

Continued efforts are also being made to provide a range of preventative services to support vulnerable people at home and in their communities to improve their wellbeing whilst reducing the need for costly reactive social care.

Cllr David Jenkins, the council’s Executive Board Member for Resources, said: “Like other councils, we continue to face increased costs and demand for our services which is not matched with the same level of increased government funding. We are making savings by improving efficiency and looking carefully at how services can be better provided – this allows us to continue spending in areas of most need, caring for our most vulnerable residents and providing a range of front-line services.

“Asking people how our proposals might impact on them is important to us, so that we can fully understand public opinion and make decisions based on that feedback.

“This is an important consultation, and we encourage everyone to spend time reviewing the proposals and telling us their thoughts.”

Anyone without access to the internet is encouraged to visit their nearest library or customer service centre to use the free public access computers. Alternatively, hard copies of the survey are available on request.

A series of drop-in events are also being planned – dates and venues will be published on the council’s website and social media feeds.

For further information, or to share views in another way, contact the consultation team by email, consultation@carmarthenshire.gov.uk, or by calling 01267 234567.

The consultation runs until January 28, 2020.

Drop-in events will be held between 10am and 2pm at:

Friday, January 10 – Llandeilo, Municipal Buildings
Tuesday, January 14 – St Clears (location TBC)
Wednesday, January 15 – Hwb, Quay Street, Ammanford
Thursday, January 16 – Cawdor Hall, Newcastle Emlyn
Monday/Wednesday January 20/22 (date TBC) – Llandovery Library
Thursday, January 23 – Hwb, Stepney Street, Llanelli
Monday, January 27 – Hwb, Spilman Street, Carmarthen

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Community

More investment on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway

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The final stage of recovery works to repair damage caused by Storm Callum on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway.

A highly complex programme of phased works has already been completed in one of the worst hit areas at Cwmduad, when a landslide tragically claimed the life of a young man.

Repairs as a result of the storm have also been carried out at Bronwydd.

Some 20 miles of the A484 was affected by the extreme weather conditions in Carmarthenshire in October 2018 stretching from Carmarthen to Cenarth.

Phase two of the support works have now started at other affected areas at Henallt Bends, Pante South, Llwyfan Cerrig Station, Foelfach, Tirgwili/Rock and Fountain, Mile End, Nantclawdd, the A484/A475 junction, Gelligatti before finishing at Flatwood in Cenarth.

Works will include felling damaged trees, providing foundations for new safety barriers, stabilising embankments and installing new highway drainage chambers.

Carmarthenshire Council secured funding from Welsh Government to carry out maintenance of the highway in response to detailed inspections following the storm.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “This has been a very complex operation covering over 20 miles and involving a number of agencies. Whilst the safety of the public is paramount, every effort will be made to ensure these essential works are carried out with as minimal disruption as possible until they have been completed. We understand that this has had a major impact on the local community and road users, and we would like to thank them for their patience and co-operation whilst these recovery and repair works are being carried out.”

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Community

Sunday opening for three pharmacies in Carmarthenshire

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Three pharmacies in Carmarthenshire have opened their doors to the public on a Sunday as part of a trial in the region.

Gravells in Llanelli and Nigel Williams in Llandeilo and Cross Hands will be open for members of the public who need to see a healthcare professional for treatment for common ailments and minor injuries.

This trial is to support the GP out of hours service by encouraging patients to access the pharmacy as the first point of call.

The well-established Triage and Treat provision is already available in the pharmacies through the week and on Saturdays.

The types of low level injuries that can be treated under Triage and Treat service are minor abrasions, superficial cuts and wounds, eye complaints such as sand in the eye, removal of items from the skin such as a splinter or shell and minor burns including sunburn. If the injury is too serious to be treated in the pharmacy, patients will be given advice about where to go.

Depending on which pharmacist is covering they are also offering Sore Throat Test and Treat; this is a new scheme which allows patients to call into their local pharmacy and be tested by a trained pharmacist using a quick and pain free test.

Following a consultation and assessment by the pharmacist, medication may be supplied for those patients where an antibiotic is required.

In many cases, a sore throat is the result of a viral rather than bacterial infection which means antibiotics will not work, and self-care and rest are the best course of action.

The pharmacies will also be able to help with providing emergency contraception and emergency supplies of medication as well as offering advice and treatment for common ailments.

The participating pharmacies are:

• Gravells Pharmacy, Off Thomas Street, Llanelli – open 10am – 1pm

• Nigel Williams Pharmacy, 109 Rhosmaen Street, Llandeilo – open 12pm -2pm

• Nigel Williams Pharmacy, Isfryn, Carmarthen Road, Cross Hands – open 3pm – 5pm

Pharmacist James Throne of Gravells Pharmacy said: “We’re pleased to be able to open on a Sunday morning to offer a range of services to patients who otherwise may have travelled to a hospital for treatment.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The Health Board is delighted that we continue to expand the range of Services we are able to offer patients locally.

“Our Community Pharmacies are providing an increasing number of enhanced Services which enable patients and the public to seek assistance without having to attend a hospital or GP practice.

“We believe that providing these Services on a Sunday on a trial basis, will increase the local advice and support available to patients during the weekend period.”

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Community

Man arrested for illegal burning of waste

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A man has been arrested in connection with the illegal burning of waste in the Llanelli area, following an investigation by Natural Resources Wales officers.

Smoke from the burning waste has caused concern for people living in the vicinity.

NRW is working with its partner agencies, Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire County Council and Dyfed-Powys Police to tackle waste crime across the county and has appealed to the public for help.

Pippa Sabine, Tackling Waste Crime officer for NRW, said:

“If an offer seems too good to be true then beware, it is highly likely that the carrier is operating illegally and dumping waste where it will harm the local community and the environment.

“On average a legitimate waste carrier charges around £52 to remove a car boot sized bundle of waste while a van load would cost £166 and an average skip load around £230.

“If you are being charged less then ask if they are a registered waste carrier and check our public register.

“Please report any suspicious or illegal activity to the NRW incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.”

The Arson Reduction Team, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have assisted NRW and Dyfed Powys Police as part of this operation.

Arson Reduction Team Police Sergeant Marc Davies said:

“Protecting our communities is a key priority for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

“The illegal dumping and burning of waste causes a serious nuisance to the surrounding community and whilst fire crews are dealing with these incidents, they are unable to attend other emergency calls.

“It is vital that we work closely with our partners in tackling this crime and support them with their investigations and enforcement.”

Sergeant Gemma Davies from Llwynhendy Neighbourhood Policing Team added:

“We rely on our community to share information with us to target and tackle crimes of this nature.

“By working with partner agencies, we can effectively deal with offences, keep our communities safe from harm from such offences and reduce demand placed on front line policing.”

The public can contact 101 to provide information or report offences or can do so anonymously through Crimestoppers.

To check the NRW public register visit https://naturalresourceswales.gov.uk/permits-and-permissions/check-for-a-permit-licence-or-exemption/?lang=en

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