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Court closures raised in debate

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Uncertain future: Guildhall, Carmarthen

AMONG those speaking out in a second Chamber debate about access to justice in Wales was MP Jonathan Edwards, who told fellow Members of Parliament that “centralisation is a process, not an event” as he opposed the closure of two Carmarthen courts in Westminster this week. Speaking in a debate on access to justice, the Plaid Cymru MP spoke of the UK Government’s former rationale to close Ammanford and Llandovery courts on the basis that cases could easily be transferred to Carmarthen, only for those cases to now be transferred to Llanelli.

The debate centered on the difficulties which will exist in accessing local justice, how the increased use of technology within the courts system will act as a barrier to rural residents, and how the ability for witnesses, defendants and those initiating legal proceedings to access services and legal counsel through the medium of Welsh will be diminished. MPs took the opportunity to raise concerns about cuts to legal aid, and how the changes brought in by the Westminster government has made it next to impossible for local, independent solicitor companies to win legal aid contracts. Mr Edwards told MPs: “One of my first contributions after being elected to the House of Commons in 2010 was to fight in this Chamber on behalf of the two magistrate courts that remained in my constituency: Ammanford and Llandovery.

“The Government proposed closing those courts on the basis that services would be provided in Carmarthen magistrates court, yet here we are debating the future of that court and the state-of-the-art family, tribunal and probate hearing centre that was opened in Carmarthen by the Lord Chief Justice in 2012. That goes to show, to use a famous Welsh political phrase, that centralisation is a process, not an event. “I wonder how long it will be, with services being centralised in Llanelli, before we are arguing about the centralisation of services to Swansea, which is only a dozen miles to the east. “It is easy for Ministers and their civil servants to sit here in London and draw lines on a map and crosses through budget lines without understanding the full effect of the changes on the communities we represent.”

Unimpressed with the Minister’s response to the debate, Jonathan Edwards said that he would be making further representations to the Secretary of State who has “clearly not grasped the magnitude of difficulties the Carmarthen court closures will bring.” “Regrettably, the Minister doesn’t understand the knock-on consequences of court closures which will, for starters, see local, independent solicitor firms become unviable. This will impact greatly on a person’s ability to seek counsel and increase the barriers for those using the justice system. “The Minister has clearly not grasped the magnitude of difficulties the Carmarthen court closures will bring. I will be making further representations to the Secretary of State and hope he will consider meeting with me so that I may stress the negative consequences of his proposals” Jonathan Edwards added.

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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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