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Pub in ruins blights village centre

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The Red Dragon, Rhydcymerau: No longer a desirable residence

THE NORTH Carmarthenshire village of Rhydcymerau has lost its school, shop and post office. The 19th century Methodist chapel stares forlornly at what was the Red Dragon pub opposite. Now the pub, in the heart of the village, has been partly demolished, and slates removed from the roof of the section still standing. 

The demolition, carried out without planning permission, leaves a ruined building at the heart of the village, which lies on the B4337 road between Llanybydder and Llansawel.

Michael Singh, of Nottingham-based Coxmoor Projects Ltd, had asked Carmarthenshire County Council to allow demolition, so he could create a parking area, but he started knocking down the pub before the council was ready to consider the plan. The bat survey carried out as part of the application stated ‘Demolition work must not commence until planning consent has been approved’.

There is a poorly landscaped caravan site behind the pub, with a licence for 30 vans, and at present occupied by a smaller number of static caravans. Permission exists for 16 caravans further back, over the Melinddwr river, and Mr Singh proposes to site another 19 on adjoining land, in total 65 caravans on a site about four times larger than the existing area occupied by static caravans.

Court cases for property negligence 

Coxmoor Projects, based at 54 The Ropewalk, Nottingham, has one Director, according to Companies House on August 8, 2016 – Allan Singh, who is also a director of Nottingham Student Lettings Ltd, and was a director of two dissolved companies, Castlebay UK Ltd and Woberry Ltd.

The owners of Coxmoor Projects, which is concerned with the construction of commercial buildings, are Richard Singh and Stuart Singh. Stuart, Richard and Robert Singh were formerly Directors of the company, which changed its name from Beachcroft UK Ltd in March 2012.

Michael Singh and other members of the Singh family have been involved in court cases arising from property they own. Michael Singh has been prosecuted by Nottingham City Council for failing to licence property and failure to comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006. In 2008, he was fined £8,000 for allowing students to live in a dilapidated house, in Lenton Boulevard, Lenton. He did not have licence for multiple occupation, a ceiling was about to collapse, electrical wires were exposed, and the property was affected by mould, according to a report of the case in the Nottingham Evening Post on July 25, 2008.

In defence, his solicitor Alan Millband had told the court that Mr Singh ‘was not a rogue landlord’.

Yet on September 3, 2015, the Nottingham Evening Post was again reporting on dangers in Singh-owned property. Robert Singh of Nottingham Student Lettings Ltd pleaded guilty to five charges relating to 32/34 Castle Gate, Nottingham, a property without protection against fire. Robert Singh admitted failing to carry out a fire risk assessment, failing to ensure the property has fire detectors and alarms, and failing to ensure it could be evacuated quickly and safely in case of fire. During the court case, prosecutor Bernard Thorogood said that the ‘failings were gross, all the more so in light of the defendants’ experience in managing residential properties’.

Three businesses connected with the Singh family have submitted planning applications for the Red Dragon site in Rhydcymerau since 2006, all of which – except Coxmoor Projects Ltd’s demolition application – have been withdrawn. Two applications, in 2006 to convert part of the pub into a shop and in 2008 for a housing development, were by SPM Ltd. Another, in 2007, to relocate sites for 16 holiday cabins, was submitted by BSP Holdings Ltd.

Carmarthenshire County Council knocked the 2008 application on the head because SPM Ltd would not sign a Section 106 Agreement for a financial contribution to help mitigate any damaging impacts on the community of Rhydcymerau. SPM Ltd is not listed at Companies House. Neither is BSP Holdings, although the Nottingham Evening Post reported in January 2009 that ‘Singh brothers’ BSP buys Equitable House’. This was a 24,000sq ft building bought from Barclays Bank, and which has since been converted into accommodation for students.

As for Coxmoor Holdings’ intentions for Rhydcymerau, no quick way exists to contact the company, because searches have failed to find a telephone number, website or email address. The Herald tried to contact Coxmoor director Allan Singh at Nottingham Student Lettings, of which he is also a Director, by telephone and by email, but without success. We have asked Allan Singh and Michael Singh about their plans for the site, whether the pub would be removed or rebuilt, whether the caravans would remain and, if so, whether they would be holiday accommodation. We also asked if they could reassure local people that any development would be high quality and in-keeping with the landscape.

Objection from Community Council 

Mavis Beynon, Financial Officer with Llanybydder and Rhydcymerau Community Council, sent in an objection to the pub demolition plan on behalf of the Community Council, pointing out that the ‘plans submitted with the application are some years old. The trees shown on the perimeter of the site have all been felled, so there is now no screening, especially to private properties close by’. She added that 65 caravans would be ‘too many for the site area and the infrastructure of the village could not cope with that amount of people’.

Patricia Baker, a former resident and Community Councillor until 2014, submitted an objection stating that slates from the building’s roof were removed last winter, opening the interior to the elements. “The whole site was what can only be described as a bomb site,” she wrote. “This pub was a strong building. It had been lived in for many years – it was not a building in need of demolition. All it needed was a good coat of paint and a good tidy up around, now it seems like it is due to be demolished.”

Other objectors made similar points. Sylvia Maskelyne, also a Community Councillor, said: “We love our village, but for many years, due to the so-called works being carried out on the Red Dragon site, it is a village ruined at the moment. Hopefully this can be rectified in the not too distant future.”

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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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