Connect with us


Llandovery volunteers pressed into action



Castle Fields playground: Below Llandovery Castle

Castle Fields playground: Below Llandovery Castle

LLANDOVERY has been short-changed again. This feeling rippled through Rhys Prichard Hall in Llandovery on Monday evening (Oct 10), as 60 or so residents debated, in a public meeting called by the Town Council, the future of three playgrounds.

Carmarthenshire County Council owns three playgrounds at Castle Fields, Maesglas and Green Lodge, but says it cannot afford to maintain them. The council wants another organisation – the Town Council, or a voluntary group – to take them over on a 99-year lease.

A new group, the Llandovery Community Sports Association, is now responsible for the town’s playing field, tennis courts and croquet/bowls lawn, after acquiring them from the County Council, also on a 99-year lease.

Sports facilities do have the potential to be self-financing, because teams will pay to play, but playgrounds are different. Should small children, or their parents, pay a fee for access to swings and climbing frames when parents already pay council tax? ‘What do we get for our money?’ many were thinking. There is no comprehensive school any more and sports facilities have all been transferred, except for the swimming pool, which loses £2,400 a week. Now the playgrounds will close unless local people take responsibility for them.


Glyndŵr Phillips voiced unease with the County Council’s spending priorities, suggesting that a portion of the money pumped into high salaries could instead maintain the playgrounds. And, he said, it would be short-sighted to close the playgrounds, because families who visit them also bring custom to local businesses. Castle Fields playground, especially, is popular with visitors to the town who stop in the adjacent car park.

“The playgrounds have been run down already,” said Mr Phillips. “Children should not be paying the price of austerity – I find it disgusting that we are even having this conversation about keeping playgrounds open.”

To applause, he said that the County Council’s decision to offload playgrounds was extremely short-sighted. Playgrounds are basic amenities which every town should have, he said.

Local County Councillor Ivor Jackson, convinced that Carmarthenshire would not negotiate on the issue, said the Town Council could take the lead and help form an association to take over the playgrounds. Past Town Mayor Cllr Gill Wright urged rapid action because the County Council’s offer of lump sum inducements, of twice the annual maintenance cost for each playground, is open only until March 31, 2017. After this date, the offer reduces to one year’s maintenance costs in each case, plus an improvement grant of £5,000. In 2016-17, the total lump sum would be £10,028; in 2017-18, it would be £7,514.

And from March 31, 2018, there is no offer. The playgrounds would no longer be maintained.


Cllr Jill Blud, Deputy Mayor, said it would be possible for the Town Council to increase the precept to provide enough money to look after the playgrounds, but the Town Council could not apply for grants to improve the amenities. Voluntary organisations could apply for grants which, potentially, is a big advantage.

Llandovery’s mayor, Cllr David Long, chaired the lively meeting, and said he had already spoken to the mayors of Ammanford and Llandeilo about the potential for sharing machinery and equipment.

Economising where possible would be important because of unavoidable costs like public liability insurance and compliance with health and safety legislation.

A qualified volunteer offered to do risk assessments, and another could do some grass cutting. There was plenty of goodwill in the audience, as well as annoyance at the corner in which the County Council had penned them. One resident told the meeting that Green Lodge playground urgently needed money spent on it, to clean it up and fence it for improved safety.

Money-raising suggestions included space for corporate advertising and business sponsorship of items of play equipment, but the feeling was that playgrounds are not, and should not, be significant revenue generators.

The meeting ended with agreement that a community association should be formed, possibly with sub-groups for each playground, and with the Town Council leading the process.

W Glyndŵr Phillips was not brimming with hope. “In two or three years we will be back in the same place, short of money,” he said.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Ascona Group announces new Car and Truck wash facilities



Charlie's Truck Wash

ASCONA GROUP, one of the UK’s fastest-growing forecourt operators, is pleased to announce two new vehicle washing partnerships as part of improvements to its unique roadside retail proposition across its forecourt estate.

As part of a new partnership with the American based PDQ Manufacturing, a leader for in-bay automatic vehicle washing facilities, Ascona Group will be the first in the UK to install the ‘Laserwash 360 Plus’, a touchless car wash system for its customers.

The partnership will initially expand the wash options at the Hinton Service Station, with a view to roll out the system to other sites under the Ascona Group’s brand, ‘Charlie’s Express Car Wash’ later this year. The partnership is a significant investment for Ascona and demonstrates its commitment to ever improving the experience for customers.

Ascona Group is also delighted to announce a strategic partnership with WashTec UK that will see Ascona introduce a ‘First of its Kind’ truck washing facility at the Tenby Road site on the A40 Eastbound in Carmarthenshire, which offers the very best technology available to HGV drivers.

The truck wash employs a fully ‘closed loop’ total water recycling system, the first of its kind in Wales, which recovers all water used within the wash process, filtering it for reuse with little or no water entering the mains drainage system. This system ensures Ascona not only has the best commercial wash in South Wales, but also offers customers one of the more environmentally friendly approaches in operation.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO Darren Briggs said: “From the very beginning, we knew that our sites must present our customers with a unique and compelling offer which is why we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve our roadside retail facilities.

“These two new partnerships further demonstrate our focus on creating industry-leading propositions and we are really excited to be working with PDQ Manufacturing USA and WashTec UK. Together, we are keen to continue to build on the success of these new operations and we are actively reviewing multiple opportunities across the Ascona portfolio to roll out more units such as these.”

Continue Reading


Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire



FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

Continue Reading


Family of power station worker calls on former colleagues to help with asbestos claim



THE WIFE of a Carmarthenshire man, who was just 66 when he died of an asbestos-related cancer, is calling on colleagues who worked with him in the 1970s to help understand where and how he contracted the disease.

Peter Colton, from Llanelli, died in July 2021 after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

He worked as a conveyor and weighbridge operator for the CEGB at Carmarthen Bay Power Station. During his time at the power station, his duties included offloading coal wagons and conveying coal to the boilers.

It is possible that Mr Colton was exposed to asbestos during those years and now his family has sought the help of local asbestos specialists J.M Parsons, to investigate a claim for compensation.

Ann Colton, Mr Colton’s wife, wants answers. She said: “Peter was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died just six weeks later. He had been suffering from shortness of breath and just had no quality of life.

“It was devastating to see someone who had been so healthy and active slowly get worse and worse. We just want to know where and how he was exposed to asbestos and hope someone out there can help us.”

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, annual mesothelioma deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980.

Amanda Jones is one of the specialists at J.M Parsons, which is owned by Thompsons Solicitors. Thompsons has paved the way for asbestos litigation in the UK ever since it brought about the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972, 50 years ago.

She said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers working with Peter Colton in Carmarthen Bay Power Station in the 1970s or anyone who worked in the same field as Peter beyond the 1970s.

“Such individuals will be invaluable to Mr Colton’s family as they may be able to add important information that will assist us in building a civil claim. We hope that we will then be able to answer questions about the conditions that Mr Colton worked in during his working life.”

Anyone with information should contact Amanda Jones on 01554 779940, or via email at

Continue Reading