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No sell off ‘on my watch’ says Dole

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Council Leader Dole: Parc Howard sale ‘an urban myth’

A TUMULTUOUS week of claim and counter claim about the Council’s plans on asset transfers reached its frenzied peak in the Chamber of County Hall on Wednesday, January 13.

First out of the blocks on Saturday, January 9 was Council Leader Emlyn Dole. Cllr Dole was plainly enraged and frustrated by press statements issued by Labour, whose members were in partnership with the Independents when – as The Herald revealed – secret negotiations were taking place to pass the balance of the lease to property speculators Loca Ventures. Claiming that plans to sell off Parc Howard were ‘an urban myth’, Cllr Dole continued: “Discussions about its future role should be held in a sensible climate and not be distorted by those seeking political gain by jumping on the nearest passing bandwagon. Labour’s Nia Griffiths MP and candidate Lee Waters really should know better. It shows how frustrated and desperate they’ve become. They’ve concocted an urban myth around an imagined threat to Parc Howard and even launched a petition on the basis of that myth. This is a very cheap shot even by their standards.”

The Council Leader did not address the tawdry saga involving his now fellow Executive Board Member, senior officers, ‘introducers’ and ‘investors’ that took place before he ascended to his current position. That was certainly not ‘an urban myth’ but cold, hard fact. The omission appears to suggest that Cllr Dole will not countenance any backdoor deals, as seemed to be made clear by his following words. Cllr Dole said that he was looking forward to meeting the Friends of Parc Howard, the Parc Howard Association and the Llanelli Community Heritage Group. “I won’t be asking them to run anything on our behalf, as this is a public park owned by the people – all the people. But as they are interested parties I’m keen to listen to, and share ideas about, how we can create an income that will allow us to sustain and safeguard Parc Howard for the benefit of ourselves and future generations.”

His press statement concluded: “Turning Parc Howard into a political football demeans an asset which is hugely precious to the people of Llanelli. Once again, I invite local Labour politicians to watch my lips: it will remain safely in the hands of the people to whom it was bequeathed.” After his combative statement, slating his political rivals for seeking to score political points, on Tuesday (Jan 12), Emlyn Dole met with members of the Llanelli Heritage Trust, the Parc Howard Association, and Llanelli Town Council. While Llanelli Town Council were happy for the press to attend the meeting, Councillor Dole’s office told us that his personal view was that it was a private meeting between organisations he had invited to attend. Accordingly, despite the Town Council’s welcome, press would not be allowed into the meeting.

We waited outside the Town Hall for Councillor Dole. Upon his arrival we asked the leader if he had a few minutes to answer some questions. Mr Dole answered, “I Doubt it.” He did however return and requested that our camera was turned off before speaking to us. We began by asking the leader if Parc Howard would be taken off the asset transfer list. He replied “It’s a meeting for interested people around Parc Howard. He continued by saying that communication with the public would, “be done through the due process. I have already made that clear in the press. I said in my second week of my leadership that Parc Howard stays in public ownership. We are asking local communities to invest in those assets. They can be run a lot better and more efficiently. Parc Howard is on that list for Llanelli Town Council to consider. Up until April they have an option on that. I am still waiting to hear if they want it or not. “If they are not then it comes back to me. I don’t quite understand what Lee Waters or the press doesn’t get about that sentence. I don’t quite get what anyone does not understand in that sentence. It stays on the asset transfer list until April. If it comes back I have to look at how we maintain it. It does not appear to be clear in mind of Lee Waters or Nia Griffith.”

On the issue of local ownership of assets Councillor Dole said, “I agree that local ownership is always better. We put the precept up in Llannon in preparation for asset transfer. As a community council we did our own lunch club, it is a lot better, it is better run by us as a community council than it was by the County Council. Whether they (Llanelli Town Council) take it on and I don’t think they will, it will remain in public ownership.” We asked if the people of Llanelli would be asked to pay twice for their parks, once through their council taxes and once through a rise in their precept. Councillor Dole replied, “No.” and continued, “It is up to Llanelli Town Council. I am told they are sitting on a pile of money. Use the money for the people of Llanelli.

“Back in the reorganisation in the 90’s the West was paying their way on sports pitches Llanelli wasn’t. For some reason that hasn’t been addressed. People in Carmarthen West has been saying, hang on we are paying to support our own pitches and parks but we’re also paying to support Llanelli’s pitches and parks. It doesn’t matter how many there are it is the principle. If you are paying your way then we should all be paying our way or we should all be subsidised.” We asked if he was aware of the Loca Ventures episode and if he was worried that that episode may be repeated if the park was open for investors to take over. He replied: “Not on my watch.” Following the meeting the leader said it had been a positive meeting in the best interests of Parc Howard.

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend

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WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo

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A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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