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More questions about Parc Howard

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350px-Parc_Howard_museum_-_geograph.org.uk_-_143410A MYSTERY BUSINESSMAN who claimed to be behind the scheme to take Parc Howard off the Council’s hands but was neither a director, nor shareholder, nor officer of the company named as behind the venture, has claimed that he has shelved an attempt to acquire the Llanelli landmark.

The Herald was able to exclusively reveal the background to the takeover bid and placed significant material in the public domain, which included an email in which a purported ‘introducer’ for the scheme appeared to suggest that remunerated positions would be offered to members of the board of the Park Howard Association if they backed the plan.

Nick Spysznyk has claimed in an interview in other media which did not investigate the tainted deal, that ‘the plans were being put on the back-burner for the time being because of the public backlash, said his company, Atlas Hill, was now focussing on improved plans for a hotel on the site at Four Winds, Ffos Las’.

The Herald can confirm that Mr Spysznyk offered to meet to discuss Parc Howard with it but was not prepared to speak to us on the record about his involvement or have anything to do with ‘that journalism crap’. He spoke to the Llanelli Star instead.

Instead of uncritically reporting that assertion, The Herald has looked at ‘Atlas Hill’ in order to establish Mr Spysznyk’s involvement in it. There are several listings for Mr Spysznyk under a number of different names, including Nicholas James Spysznyk, Nicholas James Yvan Spysznyk, and Nicholas Spysznyk.

Even the most cursory of examinations shows that however his name is construed, Mr Spysznyk is neither a director nor an officer of a limited company called ‘Atlas Hill’.

In addition a search against  Atlas Hill’ at Companies House two companies bearing that name: the first of those, Atlas Hill Ltd is listed as a financial intermediary with a sole director who owns 100% of the share capital. The director’s name is Mr Ahmed El Bouchikhi. While the company appears to have been active since 2012, its website has virtually no information on it and seems to have been recently created. The second company, Atlas Hill Ventures Ltd was incorporated in 2014 and is owned by the same person.

The Herald can confirm that at all times when dealing with the local authority regarding Parc Howard, Mr Spysznyk made no reference to the involvement in the deal of a company called ‘Atlas Hill’. In fact, having a copy of the information provided by the company concerned in that bid, Loca Ventures Ltd, we can confirm no such reference is made.

Mr Spysznyk now claims to be moving on to a project to build a 120 room hotel with fitness spa at Ffos Las.

Plans to build a hotel at Ffos Las have been a feature of news stories for several years.

None of those stories mention the involvement of Nicholas Spysznyk or ‘Atlas Hill’ at any time.

While Mr Spysznyk seems eager to outline multi-million pound plans, provided they are not too closely questioned, the strength of public feeling in Llanelli about his designs on Parc Howard appears to signal that a suggestion his plans are on ‘the back-burner’ is bravado in the face of the inevitable.

Keith Davies AM told The Herald: “Parc Howard is crucial for the people of this constituency. Parc Howard has been given as a gift to the children of Llanelli. It is important that we keep that for the people of Llanelli. I’m afraid there is a question to be asked on who is responsible for running the county council. Is it officers or the elected members?”

Questioning how events concerning Parc Howard unfolded, the Llanelli representative told us: “It looks as if meetings have taken place behind closed doors with officers. The majority of elected members including those who represent Llanelli were not involved at all.”

Mr Davies concluded by pointing out: “There was a report from the WLGA on Carmarthenshire and Carmarthenshire County Council discussed it recently. The WLGA interviewed people about Carmarthenshire and it says in the report that there is a feeling that officers not elected members run Carmarthen and that does seriously effect democracy. If elected members are not allowed to speak out, I think they must refer it to the Ombudsman.”

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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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