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Carmarthenshire’s aspirations to regenerate rural communities

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Executive Board has unveiled its aspirations to regenerate its rural communities – strengthening local economies, creating jobs and business opportunities and protecting the Welsh language.

It is the first time ever that a wide-ranging strategy has been developed by the council to specifically focus on its rural areas.

Over 60 per cent of Carmarthenshire’s population lives in a rural area and the council’s executive board was the first to create a specific portfolio to represent rural affairs.

That position is held by Cllr Cefin Campbell, who chairs a cross-party task group to investigate, understand and plan what is needed to create more sustainable rural communities and economies.

Cllr Campbell presented his ‘Moving Rural Carmarthenshire Forward’ report to Executive Board for the first time this week, securing the full backing of colleagues to progress the report to Full Council.
At the heart of the new strategy is an emphasis on creating jobs and business opportunities so that young people stay and settle in Carmarthenshire, instead of migrating to find good quality jobs and lifestyles elsewhere.

There is also an emphasis on encouraging young people to return to their roots, with incentives to help them set up businesses to support themselves and the local economy.

Initiatives being looked at include making innovative use of vacant or unused agricultural buildings to create hubs for entrepreneurs, and improving broadband provision so that digital connectivity isn’t a barrier to rural development.

A Carmarthenshire ‘brand’ could be developed to support and grow the county’s diverse agriculture and food production sector, encouraging communities to buy local to create a re-circulating ‘Carmarthenshire pound’, and boosting the county’s growing tourism sector.

The council’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and use of plastics also features as part of the plan, with proposals to work with partners and agencies to create a more sustainable environment, with new infrastructure including an investment in rapid charging points for electric vehicles.

Rising to the challenges created by Brexit is a key focus, to ensure the agricultural industries – which make up the majority of businesses in rural Carmarthenshire – are not adversely affected, with Cllr Campbell calling on Welsh Government to take more action to forward plan.

The report also details a ‘Ten Rural Towns Initiative’ which will launch in the autumn to ensure market towns, from Llandovery to St Clears, are more economically, socially, environmentally and culturally sustainable for the future.

“More than 60 per cent of the population of Carmarthenshire live in rural areas, so we are talking about having an impact on the vast majority of people,” said Cllr Campbell.

“Regenerating the economy is an integral part of this report. The important message is that we are currently losing about 1,000 young people in Carmarthenshire each year – many talented people have left; we hope to attract them back to the county. We want to create an infrastructure that will help them with their entrepreneurial skills.

“We need sustainable housing, we need to be less strict on our planning guidelines for rural development, and we need to support our village schools so that it will attract more families to set up in the area.”

He added: “Our recommendations include an array of initiatives which will allow our young people to live and work locally. These developments will also strengthen the position of the Welsh language as demographic changes are one of the key reasons for its gradual demise.”

Council Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “The Welsh Government is paying attention to this report – it’s innovative and essential.”

Visit the Council and Democracy section at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales to read the full report, which is available as part of the agenda papers for Monday’s Executive Board, alongside a web archive of the debate in the chamber.

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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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Witness appeal after car is stolen and burnt out

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a car from a property in Lando Road, Burry Port, which was later found burnt out in Pembrey Country Park.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the theft of the blue Ssangyong Rexton, which took place sometime between 5pm on Friday, 11th November, and 9am on Saturday, 12th November, and would like to speak to anyone who may have information or CCTV or dashcam footage.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: DP-20221112-109

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

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