THE HERALD was at the community-led meeting at the Laugharne Memorial Hall, discussing the possibility of car parking charges, as well as a new car park, being established in the town.
A host of residents from the closeknit community of Laugharne arrived outside the meeting room, which took place on Wednesday (Apr 6), to voice their opinions about the negative effects that the parking charges would have on Laugharne’s businesses, as well as the culture of the town.
The meeting, which involved town and county councillors as well as other significant representatives, was already in progress at 9:45am, even though it was advertised to begin at 10am. The Herald and other press were denied access to the room where the meeting was taking place, being told that it was ‘a private meeting’ for stakeholders only.
Two spokespeople, Jackie Watts and Sue Darke, were allowed into the room to give their points of view and listen to the outcomes of the meeting to report back to the group.
Annie Hardy, Laugharne resident, told The Herald: “For the initial consultation meeting about the installation of parking charges, residents were only given hours notice before it actually happened.
“This meeting, which is so important to our community, was advertised by the council with tiny A4 posters dotted around the SPAR and the Post Office just 36 hours before the meeting took place. “The town wouldn’t have had any input at all unless a part of one of Laugharne’s residents’ fields had been involved with the council’s planning permission for the car park, as he was alerted about the meeting.”
Donia Hennessy, also a resident, said that after the fiasco with the consultation meeting, that Wednesday’s meeting was actually supposed to take place on Friday (Apr 8), but details surrounding the meeting had remained very ‘hush hush’. It turned out that the meeting had been moved to Wednesday without public knowledge.
She said: “If I hadn’t phoned up the council and pestered them Tuesday night about when the meeting was happening, we wouldn’t have been able to spread the word about this meeting at all. No one would’ve turned up, and the council would’ve said, “Oh you’ve had your chance to voice your opinions.”
“However, there has been a brilliant turnout. Even with the late notice surrounding the initial consultation last month, there was still a turnout of 95 people.”
DAMAGE TO ‘THE FEEL’ OF LAUGHARNE
Resident Jackie Watts told The Herald: “The introduction of these parking charges would damage the feel of Laugharne. In fact, I had people stay last week who said that they wouldn’t come to Laugharne Town Centre if they had to queue for parking or possibly face paying a fine. “It would even put me off nipping to the shop for a bottle of milk if I had to pay to park, or if I had a fine for parking on white or yellow lines.
One member of the crowd mentioned that they heard Councillor John Bradshaw, Community Councillor for Laugharne Town Council and former Laugharne Mayor, telling the stakeholders in the meeting room: “You mustn’t be swayed by mob tactics,” in reference to the crowd of people who had gathered outside the meeting room in peaceful protest.
The crowd member continued: “This is the person who is meant to be representing Laugharne and its people. It seems like they’re just doing their personal business in that room with no thought to anyone with a differing opinion to them. They were looking very sheepish.”
Everyone interested in the issue were told ahead of time that were nine different options to choose from in terms to how parking and parking charges will be altered in Laugharne, but a large majority of people attending the meeting held signs displaying their preference of option three, which is to do nothing – no new car parks or parking charges.
OWL AND PUSSYCAT AGAINST PARKING CHARGES
The two owners of the ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ café told The Herald that they wouldn’t have extended their licence if they knew about these new parking charges being instated in the town.
One of the owners, Maggie Davies, explained her shock to find that their rates have skyrocketed from £105 to £300 this year alone. Ms Davies’ business partner mentioned how the issues of rates had made it to Question Time in the past, with MP Simon Hart fighting the case against rates going up from £4,000 to a shocking £14,000.
Sandie Sharpe and Jenny Davie, residents of Laugharne, said: “Jane Tremlett is the Executive Board Member for Social Care and Health in Carmarthenshire County Council and is a member of Laugharne Town Council. She didn’t turn up, as promised, to speak to any of the five main businesses in Laugharne who would be affected most by these new parking plans about what was going on.
“No one here has had any say. Hopefully, if nothing comes of this meeting, our next step forward is to get a legal team to expose these people for their backhanded plans.
“What does Jane Tremlett do? We had an absolutely appalling cockle problem at Ginst Point, where there were thousands of people camping there and removing cockles from the beach by the truckload. It was a sewer down there, with people going to the toilet in bushes.
“Jane Tremlett came down and said all the right things about how terrible the situation was, but she was just ticking all of the boxes. Nothing was done.”
In a meeting about the parking charges held last week, which was chaired by Angela Burns and supported by the owners of The Owl and the Pussycat, saw 330 people writing and bringing along signed letters to show their disgust at the proposed parking plans.
Ms Sharpe concluded: “We were told this meeting would be on Friday, but it was brought forward and kept a secret to avoid protest. If this crowd doesn’t have an influence on the outcome then it shows the level of corruption in the council.”
COMMUNITY SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
A host of people, from toddlers to pensioners, turned up to Wednesday’s meeting to show their solidarity against the council’s proposed car parking charges in the town.
Sean Connell, Laugharne resident, said: “This is an attack on the identity and culture of Laugharne. There was a request for parking spaces but not white lines and parking charges.
“This whole thing has been very cloak and dagger, which makes everyone very suspicious of the council’s intentions. The Capitas report which was released was extremely misleading and inaccurate and isn’t an accurate representation of Laugharne.
“Introducing charging and painted parking spaces will not improve any potential parking issues or people’s attitudes or behaviours, particularly as a resident permit is no guarantee of a parking space.
“It will also not reduce any traffic congestion in Laugharne. Congestion is caused by the narrowness of the streets, the number and size of heavy goods vehicles passing through and illegal parking on yellow lines. People will continue to park illegally whatever is done.
“This parking strategy is purely a mechanism to generate revenue. It will significantly degrade the character and culture of the township particularly with increased signage, road markings and meters on King Street. It will also discourage coaches from stopping.
“There are also the long-term issues with the flooding car park which haven’t been resolved and would free up a lot more parking spaces.
“What’s so nice about Laugharne is that there are no timing issues or charges. It will change the dynamic of the town.”
‘UNDERHANDED AND POLITICAL’
David Hardy, resident, said: “This is very underhanded and political. These are muddy waters. No one in that room will own up to supporting these charges.”
Sue Darke then announced the outcome of the meeting: “There will be another public meeting about the parking charges. There were a lot of things talked about in this meeting today.
“Everyone in the meeting were in agreement that they haven’t been able to put the general feeling of the group into the report and because of that, they’ll have to take into account all of the letters and emails which they received, producing a consultation report.”
“They’re very happy to engage in another public consultation. This is a good thing because there was nothing there before – they just said ‘here are your options’. Now they’re going to come back and say ‘this is what we want to put forward’, and we will all be consulted on it.
“We have really achieved something with this today. They have a box full of letters, they’ve had our emails, they’re going to write a report and they know that there’ll have been people in there listening, so we know that report will take our views into account.
“The biggest problem we have here is, yes, we want car parking but, no, we don’t want it your way. But what they’re saying is that if we want car parking in this place, we’ve got to be charged.
“Therefore, if we say we don’t want anything, it makes us sound like luddites. But in actual fact, we’re just saying that another way has to be found.”
Jackie Watts said: “There are two options. If we want another car park, it will have to be a pay-and-display car park and The Strand will also have to become a paid car park. There is no way out of that.
“If we want the car park in King Street, then we’ll just have to pay the charges for both car parks. The other option is that we can say no to King Street car park, of course.”
Sue Darke continued: “If the council puts any effort into any car park, then the council have said that The Strand will also have to be paid for alongside the new car park.
“Subsequently, in 2013, a private sector developer approached Carmarthenshire County Council seeking financial support regarding a gap in funding for a new residential development.
“The developer has not been given any money to complete his development. However, he is giving that space on a peppercorn rent to the council. The council are going into that poisonous space and clear it, as it does have a lot of problems, which will cost between £200,000 and £300,000. This is why they’ve got to charge – to clear the space and turn it into the car park.”
Mr Connell continued: “If a car park is created off King Street, then we have to have charged parking on The Strand as well. Why? This seems more like blackmail.
“It would appear that the proposed charging is a mechanism to recover the cost of improving a piece of land near King Street to enable a private developer to build some houses. You can also read that as ‘a private investor can make lots of money at the expense of the community, its culture and its identity’.”
There was a further meeting on Wednesday afternoon with Angela Burns AM, which took place in The Owl and the Pussycat cafe.
Mr Connell concluded: “Interestingly, in the meeting with Angela Burns, we were reliably told that The Strand, a proposed area for charging, will flood 99 times this year by the tide, due to it being below the high water mark. This doesn’t include when there is bad weather.
“The investor has a shortfall of £250,000 to £350,000 so they are apparently trying to fiddle it out of the council, who in turn are trying to pass it off on us.”
The next public consultation about the Laugharne car parking charges will be taking place within the next month.
Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo
A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.
The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.
Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive.
Kwarteng gambles on rush for growth
CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled his and Liz Truss’s economic vision for the UK on Friday morning.
The headlines are straightforward.
There will be £45bn in tax cuts by 2027; however, the largest cuts – national insurance cuts, the abolition of the cap on bonuses and the highest income tax rate- benefit only high earners.
Cut in the basic rate of income tax to 19% from April 2023;
National Insurance will not rise as scheduled, and the Government will reverse the current year rise as of November 6;
New Health and Social Care Levy to pay for the NHS will not be introduced;
The top rate of income tax was cut from 45% to 40%;
Cancel the rise in corporation tax which was due to increase from 19% to 25% in April 2023;
Rules around universal credit tightened by reducing benefits if people don’t fulfil job search commitments;
VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors;
End of the cap on bankers’ bonuses;
Planned increases in the duties on beer, cider, wine, and spirits cancelled;
Government to discuss setting up investment zones with 38 local areas in England.
Alongside the above, the Chancellor announced plans to remove environmental safeguards for building developments and reduce the regulatory burden on financial institutions.
KWARTENG LEAVES LABOUR AN OPEN GOAL
In an interview with Rishi Sunak during the Conservative leadership contest, Nick Robinson observed that it would be a nasty surprise for the former Chancellor when he found out who’d been in power for the last twelve years.
Kwasi Kwarteng followed Liz Truss’s preferred method of operation: he pretended they hadn’t happened.
The Chancellor comprehensively dumped on the policies pursued over the last dozen years by successive Conservative governments, for a decade of which Liz Truss has been a member.
His statement was, as one ministerial colleague said, “a game changer”, although perhaps not in the way he envisaged.
So complete was the change of economic policy that it leaves an open question about how Mr Kwarteng and his Cabinet colleagues ended up in the same political party as most of their backbench colleagues and served under the last three Conservative leaders.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves did not miss the open goal. Even as Mr Kwarteng and Ms Truss shook their heads on the government benches, she hammered home that the Chancellor’s statement was an admission the record of Conservative governments since 2010 was one of a failure to deliver growth or a viable economic plan.
THE SUPPLY SIDE FIX
The Chancellor and Prime Minister’s rationale is that cutting taxes for the already well-off will benefit all citizens as they are incentivised to invest and act in entrepreneurial ways. In addition, reducing regulation for businesses will encourage increased commercial enterprise.
They believe the growth stimulated will make up for any loss in tax revenues as increased economic activity, encouraged by lower taxes, leads to increased government revenues.
That approach is called supply-side economics, which focuses on increasing the supply of goods and services through growth.
In every developed nation where the Government’s brand of economics has been tried, two things have happened: a cataclysmic bust has followed a short-term burst of economic activity.
In addition, wealth inequalities – and the UK is already grossly unequal – are embedded and made worse.
Low taxes on the wealthiest do not distinguish between those who generate wealth through their industry or create economic activity through business investment and those who inherit wealth or sit on capital without producing anything.
“THE RICH WILL REJOICE”
Wales’s Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans MS, responded: “Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said: “Instead of delivering meaningful, targeted support to those who need help the most, the Chancellor prioritises funding for tax cuts for the rich, unlimited bonuses for bankers, and protecting the profits of big energy companies.
“Instead of increasing funding for public services in line with inflation, we get a Chancellor blithely ignoring stretched budgets as public services find their money is not going as far as it did before.”
Plaid Regional MS Cefin Campbell said: “This Budget will see the rich rejoice as their bonuses rocket and their tax bill sliced, once again it will be the poorest and most vulnerable bearing the brunt of the disastrous cost of living crisis.”
Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, added: “Tax cuts for the super-rich will do absolutely nothing to drive growth in the Welsh economy.
“I urge the UK Government to recognise that our Government in Wales must be given the fiscal tools to unlock our economic potential ourselves. That is the only way to improve the lives of people across Wales.”
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Finance, Peter Fox MS, said: “Today shows that the UK Conservative Government has a comprehensive plan to provide a sharp boost to the economy by putting cash back into people’s pockets. Labour in Wales has the power to cut taxes in Wales but chooses not to.
“Mark Drakeford needs to take a leaf out of Liz Truss’ book and take immediate action to support hard-working people and struggling businesses, stimulating the Welsh economy rather than stifling it.”
Scott Corfe, Research Director at Social Market Foundation, said: “The Chancellor is taking a very high-risk gamble with the economy.
“If his package of enormous tax cuts and ‘supply side reforms’ fails to translate into significantly higher economic growth, we risk further falls in the pound and surging gilt yields as investors lose confidence in our ability to pay our way in the world.
“That, in turn, means higher inflation, an unsustainable trajectory for the public finances and steeper interest rate rises – potentially deepening rather than alleviating the cost of living crisis.”
The world watches HM Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest in state funeral
THE QUEEN’S state funeral is taking place with ceremonial processions in London and Windsor today. This is the latest update at 12:40pm.
The UK’s longest-serving monarch will be laid to rest after a state funeral.
The Royal Family, world leaders and dignitaries have descended on Westminster Abbey to honour the life of Queen Elizabeth II, after her death at the age of 96.
At 10.44am, the Queen’s coffin travelled from the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral.
This is a very short journey, and was not be part of the public procession.
The state funeral service
The state funeral service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster and The Sermon and the Commendation will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
During the Service, the Prime Minister and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth read Lessons.
The Archbishop of York, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Free Churches Moderator said prayers.
The Procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch
At the end of the Service, Her Majesty’s coffin wase borne to Wellington Arch, via The Mall on the State Gun Carriage.
The King’s Guard gave a Royal Salute as the Coffin passes the Queen Victoria Memorial.
All processions and services are being broadcast on near-all national television and radio channels.
Once the coffin reaches Wellington Arch, it will be placed in the State Hearse. The parade will give a Royal Salute and the National Anthem will be played as the State Hearse begins its journey to Windsor.
Procession from Albert Hall, Windsor to St George’s Chapel
When the Coffin reaches Windsor, the State Hearse will slow to join a Procession to be formed up on Albert Road to travel via the Long Walk to St George’s Chapel. Members of the Royal Family will join the Procession in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle. Minute Guns will be fired on the East Lawn, Windsor Castle by The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, and Sebastopol Bell and the Curfew Tower Bell will be tolled throughout the Procession.
The Procession will halt at the bottom of the West Steps of St. George’s Chapel where a Guard of Honour, found by the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, will be mounted. The Queen’s Coffin will be borne in Procession into the Chapel.
The Committal Service
The Committal Service will begin at 4pm, and alongside His Majesty The King and Members of the Royal Family, the congregation will be made up of past and present members of The Queen’s Household, including from the private estates. Also in attendance will be Governors General and Realm Prime Ministers.
The Service will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, with prayers said by the Rector of Sandringham, the Minister of Crathie Kirk and the Chaplain of Windsor Great Park. The Choir of St George’s Chapel will sing during the Service.
Prior to the final Hymn, the Imperial State Crown, the Orb and the Sceptre will be removed from Her Majesty The Queen’s Coffin, and placed on the Altar. At the end of the final Hymn, The King will place The Queen’s Company Camp Colour of the Grenadier Guards on Her Majesty’s Coffin. At the same time, The Lord Chamberlain will “break” his Wand of Office and place it on the Coffin.
As The Queen’s Coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, the Dean of Windsor will say a Psalm and the Commendation before Garter King of Arms pronounces Her Majesty’s styles and titles. The Sovereign’s Piper will play a Lament and The Archbishop of Canterbury will pronounce the Blessing. The National Anthem will be sung at the conclusion of the Service.
Not seen on the streets of London since the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, the State Gun Carriage will be pulled by 98 Royal Navy sailors, with a further 40 marching behind acting as brakes. The King and Members of the Royal Family will again follow The Queen’s Coffin in Procession. The Procession will include detachments from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth, as well as detachments of the British Armed Forces who held a special relationship with The Queen.
A Private Burial will take place in The King George VI Memorial Chapel later that evening, conducted by the Dean of Windsor.
The Queen is to be buried together with The Duke of Edinburgh, at The King George VI Memorial Chapel.
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