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Plaid Cymru outlines capital investment plan

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Cllr Kevin Madge: Accused Plaid of ‘Mother Hubbard politics’

Cllr Kevin Madge: Accused Plaid
of ‘Mother Hubbard politics’

LAST WEEK the Plaid Cymru group on Carmarthenshire County Council pledged to release almost £20m from the capital reserves to spend on major projects across the county over the next five years. In a media release, which The Herald covered online, Cllr Dai Jenkins, the Executive Board Member for Resources, said that since May, Plaid Cymru had been working with the Independents to ‘analyse the reserves in detail.’ “We have established that almost £20m could be released for muchneeded capital projects,” Cllr Jenkins added. These projects include the renovation of Abergwili Museum, and the provision of £2m toward a new archive, which as The Herald reported last week, will ensure that a vital part of the county’s heritage remains in the area, hopefully sans mould. Other projects include, in the words of the press release:

· Extending Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery as the focal point of King Street ‘cultural quarter’: £750,000

· A new circular cycle track at Pembrey Country Park: £500,000

· A contribution towards restoring Carmarthen Park Velodrome as a major cycling venue: £286,000

· The Carmarthen-Llandeilo cycling and walking track: £5.75m

· The Cross Hands economic Link Road – Phase 2: £12.3m

· Upgrading and new attractions at Pembrey Country Park: £1m

· A new care home in Llanelli: £12.5m

· Disabled Facility Grants to help older and vulnerable people to live in their own homes: £10m

· The refurbishment of Glanaman Industrial Estate: £1m · Renovation of Llanelli Market: £300,000

·Rural Enterprise Fund to help enterprises create jobs and economic growth: £2m The above are in addition to the tens of millions of pounds to be spent on new schools and a large number of other varied capital projects.

Cllr Jenkins said that these reserves had not been used to offset cuts in services to the extent advocated by the party when in opposition, because “the truth is, at that time, due to lack of vision by the Labour-led administration, it was unclear why there was so much money in reserves and what use could be made of it. “Some of it may be spent on offsetting cuts to services, but most of the money will be invested in a detailed strategy to create jobs and improve standards of living,” he added. “With council reorganisation on the horizon, it’s imperative that we spend the money raised in our county for the future benefit of Carmarthenshire,” said Cllr Jenkins.

“Plaid has a clear vision for our county’s future – and the means to deliver it.” However, the party was accused of being misleading, on the grounds that a number of the projects had been agreed some time before. The Cross Hands Link Road, for example, has been under discussion for years, and the refurbishment of Glanamman Industrial Estate, an issue which has been noted for some time, was the subject of a report in 2013, which stated that works had to be carried out, and a feasibility study in 2014, which suggested that the existing buildings be demolished and replaced. This was welcomed by then-council leader Kevin Madge, who said that ‘the Glanamman site provides a fantastic opportunity for businesses within the local and wider region but is in need of significant investment in order to bring it up to today’s standards.’

However, Cllr Madge was less delighted with the Plaid Cymru proposals, after finding out about them through The Herald’s Facebook page. “It was extraordinary to log in to Facebook and see that Plaid were making this announcement. It was the first I and I am sure many others would have heard about it. There was also an apparent omission of the Council Leader’s name on that press release. “Where are they getting this money from all of a sudden when we are going to see all the cuts to front line services?” Mr. Madge warned of the need to retain council reserves given the political uncertainty over the structure of council administrations in Wales. He said, “This is ‘Old Mother Hubbard politics’. What happens when the cupboard is bare on a rainy day?” In a Full Council meeting on Wednesday (Dec 9) Cllr Madge also suggested that the Independent Group had not been made aware of the content of this press release, as part of an entertaining and lively speech.

However, this was given short shrift by Council Leader Emlyn Dole, who said that all the information had been made available to all councilors six weeks ago. “I totally understand that you want to look back at history and play politics as well,” he said, before suggesting that Cllr Madge should ‘read more and talk less’. “If he had been paying attention, all members were invited to the Ffwrnes Theatre a month and a half ago, where we launched the regeneration programme. That detail has been given to everybody, and it has been said that if you weren’t there the information was available for all. “What we have been discussing as a coalition over this summer is exactly what we produced a month and a half ago.“What we’ve done since is ensure the capital spend can support that programme as we move forward. It’s all in there – you just have to read it.” When The Herald contacted the Plaid Cymru group, a spokesman said that they had released the information to ‘pull together’ the council’s plans for the next five years and make them accessible to the public. “In the past there has been a lack of direction from the council administration, and the public, and possibly some councillors, didn’t know what the council was doing,” they added. “It is useful to tell the public if money is available, which it was, and to make it clear where the capital investment is being spent. “In this new spirit of transparency and openness, it doesn’t do any harm to show a selection of various projects across the county.”

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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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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