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Renovation dream, parking nightmare

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No vacant spaces on Tuesday (Oct 18): Outside Llandeilo’s old Provisions Market

No vacant spaces on Tuesday (Oct 18): Outside Llandeilo’s old Provisions Market

WHERE are Llandeilo’s 349 daytime and 508 evening car park spaces?

Carmarthenshire County Council has used these figures to justify planning approval for a major commercial redevelopment of the listed Provisions Market building at the top of Carmarthen Street at the junction with New Road.

Only 36 spaces would be provided on site, but the apparent availability of hundreds of spaces elsewhere in the town led the Planning Committee to decide last week (Oct 13) that the shortage of spaces at the historic building would not be a problem – even though the 16 or so existing informal parking spaces on the New Road and Carmarthen Street sides of the County Council-owned building would disappear to allow for tables and chairs.

Llandeilo town has three public car parks. Crescent Road, by far the largest, has 165 spaces. There are 25 at Llandeilo Station and 15 in the Carmarthen Road car park next to the Fire Station, according to figures obtained by Llandeilo’s hard-working County Councillor, Edward Thomas. That’s a total of 205, or 144 less than the daytime figure given to the Planning Committee. And scarcely anyone would walk from the station to the Provisions Market, a distance of nearly half a mile via steps and Alan Road. A less steep route via Station Road is three-quarters of a mile.

Cllr Thomas is ‘very concerned’ about the loss of unofficial parking spaces outside the Provisions Market. “I am actively campaigning for more parking spaces in Llandeilo, because there is definitely a need for it,” he said. Flat land suitable for parking is at a premium, though, and so it may become necessary to find land outside the town and run a shuttle bus service.

RESIDENTS ONLY PARKING

Daytime on-street parking in Llandeilo is residents only in New Road, as well as in Crescent Road, Church Street, Abbey Terrace, Bank Terrace and Quay Street. Between 6pm and 8am, these residents’ spaces are, in theory, available to anyone including, of course, the residents. In addition, at designated spaces at the top of New Road and opposite the civic offices in Crescent Road, drivers can park for up to two hours if a residents bay is vacant. Within a couple of hundred metres of the Provisions Market, there are 23 one-hour parking bays in King Street and five 30-minute bays in George Street, but these are intended for quick shopping stops.

Carmarthen Street is narrow and displays double yellow lines on both sides. Rhosmaen Street, part of the A483 Swansea to Manchester trunk road, is definitely no parking.

Plans for the Provisions Market include two of the 36 parking spaces to be reserved for the disabled.

The parking area would absorb the Carmarthen Street recycling site, which would be moved elsewhere. At present, there are about 12 spaces behind the building in addition to the 16 at the front and side, and they are normally full – so the new plan adds only eight spaces.

ADDITIONAL 175 SPACES REQUIRED

If guidelines for new commercial development were followed, there would be 175 spaces at the refurbished Provisions Market, including 12 for the disabled. Most disabled drivers need to be close to their destination – but within 50 yards or so of the Provisions Market, the options, if the two reserved spaces were occupied, would be the 10 spaces outside Pili Pala Nursery opposite, or temporary use of a residents’ parking bay, in both cases limited to two hours.

The council’s Highways and Transport Department appears to have had a change of heart since 2012, when lack of parking was a reason for the Head of Transport’s recommendation to refuse the application, by the housing association Gwalia, to construct four houses and nine flats on the site, and to renovate the Provisions Market building as a shell for future commercial use. Gwalia had proposed 16 parking spaces for the dwellings and five for the market building (two of which have since been taken by a bus stop).

EVENTS VENUE

The 2012 proposals would have resulted, at least initially, in few people on the site, probably between 20 and 25 residents, but the latest plans, by Dawnus Construction Holdings Ltd, are for an events venue with retailing, catering, and business uses which could employ 80 people full-time and 23 part-time. There would be some parking for customers if all employees walked to work, or came by bus – but that is improbable.

There is little spare parking space in Llandeilo now in the daytime – so 103 additional employees, and an unknown number of customers, are likely to park on the streets, and the main candidate near the Provisions Market is Carmarthen Road beyond the Police Station and down to Llandeilo Rugby Club, where there are no yellow lines, plus smart residential roads off Carmarthen Road like Diana Road, Lôn Rhys and Parc Pencrug.

The Herald is awaiting replies from Carmarthenshire County Council to questions about the number of car park spaces in Llandeilo, and the source of the figures given to the Planning Committee.

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Business

Ascona Group announces new Car and Truck wash facilities

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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.”

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Community

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

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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.”  

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

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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 amanda@jmplaw.co.uk.

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