A REVIEW of free parking days in council-run car parks across Carmarthenshire is to be carried out to make sure towns are benefitting fully from the initiative.
A 12-month pilot will also be carried out in Llandovery to assess the impact that an increased 12 free parking days has on the town.
Carmarthenshire County Council currently provides five free parking days in council car parks in Llanelli, Carmarthen, Ammanford, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Newcastle Emlyn and St Clears to support local events and help boost the local economy.
It also provides regular free parking in council short stay car parks on weekdays in those towns to try and increase footfall during quieter periods.
However, the council’s Cabinet has now asked for a review to be carried out in consultation with businesses in each of those towns to assess whether the current arrangements meet their needs and whether more can be done to support them.
Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services Cllr Edward Thomas said: “I think we need to review the entire strategy, it hasn’t been reviewed since 2018, and I think there is an opportunity here to look across the county at what is best for each individual town, as each town has different circumstances.
“We are keen to work with stakeholders and partners across the county in order to ensure our parking strategy is up-to-date, evidence-based and is maximising the economic benefits to the town whilst also contributing to the council’s wider objectives around helping to reduce traffic problems, congestion and air quality and investing in our public transport system.”
Representatives from some of the county’s rural towns have asked about the potential to increase the number of free parking days, following recent reports carried out as part of the council’s Ten Towns initiative, which aims to increase the resilience and future growth of Carmarthenshire’s rural market towns and surrounding areas.
In particular, a wide range of activities and events are taking place in Llandovery, which will also welcome the National Urdd Eisteddfod next year.
Council Leader Cllr Darren Price said: “Free parking is happening because of the various activities taking place in Llandovery and it is central to how they see the economic growth in that area. Point 5 in the recommendations recognises that and proposes that we start a pilot for 12 months to see how that will work.
“We recognise there is inconsistency across the county in terms of free parking and the different days it‘s delivered, and this is an opportunity to look at the free parking strategy across the county.
“It’s vitally important that we work with the different towns and the businesses in those towns via the BIDs and other organisations to see whether the current system works for them or if it needs to be changed. In the initial discussions that I have had with a lot of members I think there is an eagerness to re-look at this to make sure that it does deliver as we want it to.”
Co op helps out two Llandeilo community volunteer groups
LLANDEILO Co op store manager Chris Rees and Member Pioneer Christoph Fischer successfully secured Co op funding for two Llandeilo community groups: “Friends of Llandyfeisant Church” and the “Dinefwr Orchadeers”.
Friends of Llandyfeisant Church was set up to restore the beautiful Llandyfeisant Church on the Dinefwr Park estate. The volunteers want to bring this unused building back into use for the community. “We’re currently restoring the floor according to the Listed Buildings specification, which is costly and labour intense,” explains Dafydd Thomas from the group.
“The church is no longer consecrated but it would be wonderful for many other events.”
The group has a busy Facebook page and many supporters, locally and from further afield.
The Dinefwr Orchardeers are a community volunteer group based at Dinefwr Home Farm, looking after a 3-acre orchard of heritage apple and pear trees. They hire out fruit milling and pressing equipment to local fruit tree / orchard owners, run a cider club and recently built a juicing room. The money will be spent on aprons and juicing equipment.
“We would love you to join or observe our weekly orchard management sessions” says Philip James. “You can learn, amongst other activities, to prune, harvest and juice.”
“At the Co op we’re proud to support local initiatives and projects,” says store manager Chris Rees. “We have three local causes every year who get 2% of money spent by members in the store on co op products, but we also can help with ad hoc projects.”
“We encourage local groups to come forward if they wish to apply for either type of funds,” says Member Pioneer Christoph Fischer. “My role in the co op is to liaise with community groups and lend them our support.”
To join or meet the Orchadeers, please call Philip on 01558 685746.
To become a member or volunteer with Friends of Llandyfeisant Church, visit their Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/280218132732204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Michaels School celebrates excellent A-Level results
ST. MICHAEL’S School, Llanelli, is extremely pleased to announce another year of successful A-Level results, with 80.2% of all grades awarded either an A* or A grade.
The vast majority of pupils have earned a place at their chosen university to study courses such as Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Economics.
This is the first year that traditional exams have resumed since the Covid-19 pandemic began with the majority of lessons in the first part of the A-Level being delivered online rather than in a classroom environment. This makes the results even more of an achievement considering the circumstances.
Headmaster Mr Benson Ferrari said: “We offer our sincere congratulations to our outgoing Year 13 class on the publication of their A-Level results, demonstrating that our pupils have worked so hard despite the challenges of returning to a conventional assessment approach.
“They approached the situation with resilience and dedication, which has resulted in grades that are truly representative of their ability. I am confident that they will all go onto achieve great things at university and in their working lives.
“We wish them the best as they move to this new and exciting stage of their education. The preparation which St. Michael’s has provided will be built upon, along with our values and principles providing a lasting framework to tackle the challenges ahead.”
In 2020, St. Michael’s School was awarded The Sunday Times Welsh Independent School of the Decade and this was in part due to the excellent exam results that the school receives each year.
St. Michael’s was also ranked 13th in The Times 2019 Co Ed League Table for UK Independent Schools, which was the last time that the results were published. The school hopes that this year’s results will continue to secure their place in the 2022 league table which will be published later this year.
Former Debenhams building to be used to bring together key public services all under one roof
LOCAL public service providers are working together on an exciting new venture to take over the former Debenhams building in Carmarthen.
The Carmarthen Hwb aims to bring health, wellbeing, learning and cultural services all under one roof.
Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council have secured £19.9million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund to create town centre hubs in South West Wales.
The hubs will benefit local residents, businesses, and visitors, and create a more diverse and sustainable mix of uses for Carmarthen and Pembroke town centres.
The Carmarthen Hwb will be developed in the former Debenhams building in St Catherine’s Walk, in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David alongside other service providers.
It will be the first venture of its kind in Carmarthenshire, bringing together a range of key public services under one roof providing convenience and a space for people to relax and enjoy their leisure time.
The proposals include state-of-the-art leisure, culture and exhibition space alongside health and tourist information, customer services as well as access to further and higher education delivered by the UWTSD Group, which includes Coleg Sir Gâr.
The aim is to complement what is already on offer in the town centre and to increase footfall for local businesses.
The project will receive £3.5million match funding from the council’s capital budget.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John said: “We are delighted to be working with our public sector partners on this ground-breaking project which will bring this prime commercial space back into use to help boost the local economy and transform the town centre.
“One of the main aims of our post-pandemic economic recovery plan is to strengthen the vitality and longevity of our town centres and by delivering a new mix of services to the traditional high street, we can attract more people and help to increase footfall for neighbouring shops and businesses.
“People will be able to call in to the Carmarthen Hwb to access health and social care services, a state-of-the-art town centre gym, access to employment support and public services, as well as university facilities and lifelong learning opportunities.
“It could also provide a more central home for some of our museum collections, with exhibition space, and act as a welcome point for visitors to the town.
“It is important that we work with local businesses on this project which will add value to the products and services already on offer in the town centre to encourage more people into town, and in turn increase trade for everyone.”
Lee Davies, Executive Director of Strategic Development and Operational Planning at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We’re excited to be working with our partners on the Carmarthen Hwb development. The new facility is an important part of our strategy for a healthier mid and west Wales, bringing health and well-being closer to home for our communities. It will provide a range of health, well-being, learning and cultural services to help people of all ages access key services all in one place.”
Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of the UWTSD Group said: “The University is delighted to be part of this exciting project. It offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with partners to revitalise our town centres by offering a mix of leisure, cultural and education opportunities to benefit residents and businesses. The University looks forward to working with Carmarthenshire County Council on realising the vision for the Carmarthen Hwb.”
The project is complementary to a similar scheme at South Quay, in Pembroke town centre, which formed part of the bid to the Levelling Up Fund.
Both projects aim to bring health and wellbeing into the centres of the two neighbouring towns, creating an inclusive public service offer that meets changing local needs and which helps drive footfall and environmental benefit.
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