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Day of action targets community concerns

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FIVE drugs warrants, more than 160 cars stopped, and 140 homes visited over the course of a day in Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police teams took part in a day of action on Wednesday, April 14, targeting drugs use, antisocial behaviour and traffic offences.

Supported by partner agencies, officers and staff visited shops, parks and train stations throughout the day, clamping down on illegal activity and engaging with residents.

Inspector Mike Ross said: “With towns starting to open as lockdown restrictions ease, it is important that our communities see a visible policing presence.

“This day of action aimed to show people the work we are carrying out through face-to-face engagement, while also acting on intelligence to disrupt criminal behaviour.”

Five drugs warrants were executed across the county, with four proving positive for illegal substances. The occupants were dealt with by out of court disposals.

On the A484 at Loughor, officers and staff from Natural Resources Wales stopped more than 160 cars, checking for traffic and waste carrying offences. A number of vehicles were searched, and warnings handed out.

Joint operations were carried out with colleagues from South Wales Police in Hendy and Pontarddulais, where targeted patrols were conducted at areas known to suffer from antisocial behaviour and drugs use.

Antisocial behaviour was also a focus in Ammanford, where high visibility patrols took place in the town centre, as well as Betws and Ammanford parks.

Insp Ross said: “We have acted on the concerns of residents in these areas, purposefully tackling areas we are aware of issues having been reported.

“Antisocial behaviour and drugs use can blight communities, and we are doing all we can to crack down on these problems.”

A shoplifting operation was run in Carmarthen, while targeted antisocial behaviour patrols were also carried out in the Brewery Road and Park Hall areas.

Neighbourhood Policing Teams in Llanelli joined forces with British Transport Police in Llanelli, looking for evidence of drugs supply to the town through the rail network and promoting safe train travel. A number of stop searches were carried out, with some substances found. These were dealt with through out of court disposals.

Work with Carmarthenshire County Council wardens saw the Safer Streets initiative promoted, with in excess of 100 homes visited and crime prevention advice offered, as well as alcohol being seized from people breaching a Public Spaces Protection Order in Ger y Llan.

Insp Ross said: “We would like to thank all our partners for their help during the day, as well as all the teams involved across Carmarthenshire.

“We hope our high visibility has assured residents that we continue to be out and about tackling issues, providing positive engagement and working to keep our communities safe.”

Jonathan Jones, NRW environment team leader, said: “Joining forces with Dyfed-Powys Police for another day of action allowed us to investigate and clampdown on illegal waste carriers and iegal waste sites in Carmarthenshire. 

“This issue is not going away and neither are we. I hope that our continued partnership enforcement action sends a clear message to anyone involved in illegal waste trade that we will catch them, and we will take the necessary action to put a stop to their crime.

“Information on who needs to register and how is available on the waste permitting section of our website, or by calling 03000 653000.”

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Have your say on the future of housing in Carmarthenshire

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RESIDENTS and businesses are being urged to have their say on the future of housing in Carmarthenshire.

Carmarthenshire County Council is developing a new 10-year Housing and Regeneration Masterplan and residents are being asked for their views.

Providing quality, affordable homes is a key priority for the council and it is investing millions of pounds in new housing stock; creating much-needed jobs and helping to grow the local economy and regenerate communities.

In 2015, the council became the first in Wales to suspend the Right to Buy to retain its declining housing stock, and built a number of bungalows – the first local authority housing to be built in Wales since the 1980s.

A year later, in 2016, it launched its affordable homes plan to deliver 1,000 additional affordable homes in the county by 2021 by building new, buying from the market and converting empty buildings.

Now the council is shaping its plans for the next 10 years which includes building over 900 new council homes and investing nearly £150million across the county by 2029.

It is important that the new homes are of the right type, size and tenure, and in the right places to build strong sustainable communities where people want to live and work.

The Housing and Regeneration Masterplan will also recognise the role of housing development and investment in stimulating the overall economic growth of the county – which is now even more critical as we recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents are being encouraged to take part in our online consultation which starts on Monday, June 14.

Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “We are proud to be leading the way here in Carmarthenshire to deliver new, affordable, high quality and much-needed homes for local people.

“We have already achieved so much during the last few years, but we must now plan for the next 10 years and we need the views of our residents to help tell us where they think these homes should be developed, who should have them, and what type and size they should be.

“We are committed to making more homes available for those in highest need, and aim to deliver a plan that will provide homes in communities where people want to live, with a range of homes to suit specific needs.

“This includes our rural towns and villages, where we must help to make sure that local people are able to afford quality affordable homes and remain in their communities; as well as increasing the residential offer in our town centres, increasing footfall and helping businesses to thrive.

“Aside from providing much needed homes in the county, the investment will also boost the local economy creating jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships in the construction industry.”

The council is delivering this commitment in a number of ways, including building more council homes and working with housing association partners to deliver more new build schemes, buying stock that suits our needs, working with developers to ensure a range of affordable homes are built as part of private developments and bringing empty homes back into use. 

It is also actively working with landlords to encourage them to make their properties available at affordable rent levels, including bringing more private sector homes into the management of our in-house social lettings agency.

To take part in the survey please visit the consultation pages on the council website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultations Paper copies are available from one of our customer service Hwbs. The survey closes on July 26.

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Community wardens hit the streets of Tyisha and Glanymor

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has appointed two new community wardens to patrol the Tyisha and Glanymor areas of Llanelli.

The community wardens will support the local Neighbourhood Policing Team and other agencies to provide a visible presence within the area and will have a varied role which will include:

  • Patrolling hot spot areas to deter crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Tackling vandalism and fly tipping as well as issues relating to communal areas and open spaces/parks
  • Supporting the introduction of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
  • Organising the installation of crime prevention measures
  • Offering targeted support to vulnerable members of the community
  • Encourage wellbeing activities and community engagement with youth projects, schools and clubs including the promotion of volunteering opportunities.

Linda Evans, chair of the Tyisha steering group and executive board member for housing said: “I am delighted that Tyisha and Glanymor now have community wardens who will work closely with Dyfed Powys Police and other agencies to deliver a multi-agency approach to tackling issues of community concern. In response to community feedback they will prioritise tackling anti-social behaviour issues, reducing crime relating to drug and alcohol misuse and engaging with the community to make positive changes throughout Tyisha and Glanymor.”

Ann Davies, Executive Board Member and vice-chair of the Tyisha Steering Group said: “The work carried out by the community wardens will make a positive difference through helping to reduce fear of crime and incidents of anti-social behaviour as well as improving quality of life for those who live in these communities.”

The introduction of community wardens to the Tyisha area forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.

To contact the community wardens or for more information on joining Tyisha and Glanymor’s Neighbourhood Watch Scheme please e-mail tyisha@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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Pollinators protected during annual grass verge cuts

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council highways crews are starting their annual roadside grass cutting operations this week, but not every verge will be fully cut.

As part of its duty to protect biodiversity, grass will only be cut in one metre swathes in most areas where growth is affecting road visibility and pedestrian safety and several verges will be left until later in the year allowing flowers to set seed before being cut.

Much of Carmarthenshire’s roadside growth of grass and wildflowers will be left untouched to support local wildlife and pollinating insects.

Cuts will only be taken in these areas if there are health and safety concerns, particularly in 30-40mph areas in towns and villages.

Cllr Hazel Evans, the council’s executive Board Member for Environment, said the authority has taken a careful view of grass cutting operations not just for the sake of biodiversity but also to keep costs down.

“We have to carefully balance the needs of local wildlife with our responsibility for highway safety,” she said. “The importance of the road verge network for nature conservation is reflected in our verge maintenance policy. We delay the cutting of some verges in the interests of conservation as long as highway safety for motorists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians is not jeopardised.

“This is not only a reflection of our duty to the environment but also follows budget reviews which have identified cost savings by reducing and delaying grass cutting operations.”

Pollinating insects are essential for the maintenance of ecosystems through pollination of the wild plants which form the basis of most habitats. They also play an important role in the production of many crops.

The council works to conserve and enhance biodiversity and has a range of projects to support local species and habitats.

Managing areas for wildlife can provide opportunities for individuals, community groups and schools to get involved, benefiting wildlife and people.

Visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/biodiversity for further information and ideas for ways to support local conservation. 

For further information on highways operations, visit the website’s travel, roads and parking pages.

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