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No Tai Cantref redundancies say council

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Linda Evans: “We are naturally disappointed”

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has expressed its disappointment that its offer to protect Tai Cantref Housing Association’s tenants and staff as a preferred partner has not been taken forward.

A statement detailing the proposal made by the Council to the Tai Cantref Board, says its offer would have guaranteed no compulsory redundancies at the troubled housing association.

In addition, the Council has said that it would have ensured no rent rises for tenants, the possibility of expansion at the existing Tai Cantref base in Newcastle Emlyn.

The Council also claims that had its interest led to it being granted preferred bidder status, it would have provided complete financial security for lenders and created a solid base for the further expansion of social housing across west Wales.

Cllr Linda Evans, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “We are naturally disappointed that, at this stage, the board of Tai Cantref have chosen to seek a partnership with another social housing provider.

“However the only real matter of importance is that Wales and the West gives a good offer to the tenants and staff who could be adversely affected. As a council we will look on with interest as it communicates its plans for the association and its employees. We will continue to offer any assistance necessary to the association to support them over the interim period.”

The Herald put Carmarthenshire County Council’s statement to the announced preferred bidder for Cymdeithas Tai Cantref, Wales & West Housing. In particular we asked whether Wales & West would confirm it would:

  • Guarantee no compulsory redundancies
  • Protect the brand and ethos of the association with an understanding and experience of the central importance of the Welsh language in this region of Wales
  • Avoid rent rises

Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive of Wales & West Housing, said: “We are delighted that Cymdeithas Tai Cantref has chosen us as their preferred partner. We share many of the same values and commitments of putting the resident first, respecting the Welsh language and achieving a vision of strong, sustainable growth.

“The merger of our two organisations provides a fabulous opportunity to make a difference in meeting housing needs in West Wales.

“We both have a strong track record of developing new homes to meet local needs and providing an excellent service. Together I am confident that we can have a greater impact supporting local communities. In common with Cantref, we are proud of our Welsh heritage.

“We only work in Wales and want to grow our business in West Wales. With an office in Cardiff and one in North Wales, we are excited about having a regional office in Newcastle Emlyn and getting to know new communities and residents.

“We understand that the last few months have been unsettling for staff and residents of Cantref. There has been speculation about redundancies, the future of the stock and comments about rents. Merger discussions are only just beginning – it is too early to talk about these matters.

“We want our two businesses to work through the merger, ensuring our residents get the best services, with their homes maintained and improved and all staff certain of the future.”

The failure to provide reassurances about, redundancies, the future of the stock, and rents at this stage – when reassurances on those topics had been given by Carmarthenshire County Council in its bid – has led some to question the bases upon which selection of a preferred bidder were based.

Veteran blogger Jac o’ the North, a keen and controversial observer on social housing in Wales, has observed of Wales and West: “Much of its business is in the care home sector, not only in the south but also in towns like Brecon, Llandrindod, Newtown, reaching up to Flintshire and Denbighshire where many of its clients come from over the border.”

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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