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Carmarthen

New £3.7m affordable housing development in Carmarthen completed

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Work has been completed on a new £3.7 million affordable housing development in Carmarthen. Carmarthenshire County Council successfully applied to the Welsh Government for a grant, which helped cover the costs of a 37-house scheme in Priory Street.

Made up of 27 one bedroom flats and ten two-bedroom homes, the development is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes across the county by 2021.

The scheme, which is being managed by Bro Myrddin Housing Association, also included a contribution to Richmond Park Primary School towards the cost of a defibrillator and helped erect fencing for Carmarthen Town Football Club.

Local schoolchildren also visited the site during the archaeological dig and buried a time capsule in the foundations.

The council is committed to building over 900 new council homes over the next five years in a £150million investment.

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This is in addition to the council’s previous commitment to deliver 1,000 affordable homes to rent and buy across the county by 2021 – a commitment that has already been achieved with 1037 homes already delivered.

Carmarthenshire is one of only a few local authorities in Wales with such wide-scale plans for investment in social housing – the biggest since the 1970s.

Cllr Linda Evans, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “We’re delighted that this development has now been finished and it will benefit dozens of families in Carmarthen. This scheme does not only meet the need for more affordable housing but we are building new homes and working with tenants and key partners to ensure Carmarthenshire is at the forefront of the decarbonisation agenda.

“We have already realised our promise we made in our Affordable Homes Commitment back in 2016 to deliver over 1,000 more high quality, affordable homes in Carmarthenshire by 2021. The investment associated with providing these homes has helped stimulate the local economy and created much needed local jobs in the county. We have already delivered 1037 homes and are committed to delivering more to meet housing need and benefit local people.”

Bro Myrddin’s chief executive officer, Hilary Jones said: “We are thrilled the Priory Street development which offers attractive, high quality and affordable homes to both families and individuals has completed and that all homes have now been allocated. It has been a pleasure working with local contractors on this development and to see the benefits this scheme has created for those living within the local community.

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“We are committed to providing and increasing the affordable housing stock and will continue to seek and manage new developments in areas of need, working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council and Welsh Government.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)


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Carmarthen

New veg garden at S4C’s Carmarthen base on university campus funded by Keep Wales Tidy

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Canolfan S4C Yr Egin has been awarded a new garden package by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy.

They’re one of the first establishments in the country to benefit from the Local Places for Nature scheme.

Yr Egin will create a food growing garden on the centre’s land.  The plants, equipment and materials are all being provided for free by Keep Wales Tidy.  The package will be a great opportunity for Yr Egin to lead locally by demonstrating good practices to the variety of community groups that collaborate with it.

By collaborating with one of Yr Egin’s current projects, ‘Blaguro’, the package will be a way of extending that project by offering more opportunities to the social groups and movements that collaborate with the centre to grow vegetables on the site.

In addition, the garden will be a space for the creative community that works with Yr Egin, and an ideal venue for the University students and staff to relax and enjoy the fresh air.

Llinos Jones, Yr Egin Project Engagement Officer, said: “We’re extremely glad and grateful to have received this valuable package from Keep Wales Tidy, this will enable us to work closely with Carmarthen’s communities, giving people opportunities to work with and experience nature on their doorstep with high-quality equipment, and in a safe and creative environment.”

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Last year, over 500 small gardens were created, restored and improved across Wales.  Community groups and establishments of all kinds and sizes took part – from disability charities and youth groups to social initiatives and carers’ groups.

Louise Tambini, Deputy Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy, said: “Over the twelve months, more people than ever have come to appreciate the value of nature on their doorstep. But urgent action must be taken to give reverse its decline.

“We are delighted that Yr Egin has had the opportunity to make a real difference through Local Places for Nature.  We hope that other communities will be inspired to take part.”

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Carmarthen

First Cymru cut bus services due to shortage of drivers

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Bus company First Cymru has announced some major changes to their network, reducing the frequency of services and outsourcing some routes to other operators due to an ongoing shortage of drivers.

A spokesperson told the BBC that despite double the number of drivers it usually recruited, a backlog in applications by the DVLA and the effects of the pandemic meant that it was taking months for licences to come through.

The shortage was due to drivers having to self-isolate, an increase in staff absence and drivers leaving the company to take up HGV jobs elsewhere as the nation-wide HGV driver shortage continues.

A spokesperson for First Cymru said: “We have been actively recruiting staff and doubled our training activity to increase the volume of recruits.”

“We have a strong pipeline but we have experienced considerable delays with licence applications at DVLA and this has had a considerable impact on us.

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“PCV [passenger-carrying vehicle] driver shortages are both industry-wide and UK-wide, and as a result we are unable to loan drivers from our colleagues across the UK.”

All the changes to First Cymru Services

From Monday 13 September

Carmarthen services 205, 206 and 215 will no longer be operated by First Cymru. Services will instead be run by local Carmarthen operator, Morris Travel.

From Sunday 19 September

Swansea service 15 to Waunarlwydd and service 30 to Trallwn will no longer be operated by First Cymru. These will be instead run by Neath-based local operator, South Wales Transport.

The X10 express service from Swansea to Cardiff will be suspended. First say that patronage on this service was low and passengers should make journeys on other services or by train.

Service 28 to Penplas and Penlan used to run one service an hour to Penplas, and two per hour to Penlan roundabout. This will be reduced to two buses per hour, although both services will run as far as Penplas. A larger bus will also be allocated to the route to ensure capacity is able to meet demand.

Service 6 to Port Tenant will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly.

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Service 4 from Morriston Hospital to the City Centre and Singleton will be reduced to run every 15 minutes from its previous 12 minute frequency.

University service 8 and 10 will not see their usual 24 hour running during University term-time, with services finishing around midnight instead on service 8 and 10pm on service 10.

Swansea to Llanelli services 110 and 111 will see their timetables reduced to every 20 minutes, similar to the current Saturday service.

In Port Talbot, service 81 and 82 will be reduced to operate hourly instead of their current half-hourly frequency.

Service 87 between Neath and Margam will now operate every 30 minutes instead of its current 20 minute frequency.

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Bridgend to Porthcawl service 63 will be reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes.

Bridgend services 64 and 65 will now be every 2 hours instead of their usual hourly frequency.

From Sunday 26 September

Swansea to Uplands service 19 and Swansea to Three Crosses service 22 will no longer be operated by First Cymru, with Neath-based local operator South Wales Transport running these routes instead.

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Carmarthen

‘Significant in-person teaching’ promised at University of Wales Trinity St David

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Students attending University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD) at Swansea, Carmarthen, Cardiff and Lampeter campuses in September can expect a significant amount of in person teaching the University has said.

The University say they have put in place a range of safety measures to reassure students, their families, and advisors. 

Professor Mirjam Plantinga, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Academic Experience, said: “We’re really excited about welcoming new and returning students to our campuses to receive significantly more in person teaching this academic term.

“Going to University is an exciting time for students – it’s about learning more about a subject that they love, discovering new interests, making new friends and, for many, living independently.

“The university has put in place comprehensive safety measures to keep our community safe and enable us to offer more opportunities for students to engage with their studies in person and benefit from meeting their peers and staff when on-campus.”

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In addition to increased in person teaching, the University say they will also continue to offer blended learning with elements of programmes delivered online. This, they say, allows greater flexibility and ensures that students develop the digital skills which are demanded by employers.  The University’s online environment uses the latest technology to ensure that students can enjoy a great online experience, and the approach is collaborative, inclusive and professionally focused.

The University is preparing welcome and induction events at the beginning of the academic year which will be a combination of on-campus and online sessions.  UWTSD’s Students’ Union is also planning a range of events and activities for Freshers’ week including the opportunity for students to join the many Clubs and Societies that will enable them to meet others of the same interests outside their lectures.

Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Carmarthen and Lampeter Provost said: “We’re delighted that we will welcome more students back to our campuses for the new academic year.

“Students joining the Carmarthen and Lampeter campuses will become part of a close-knit and friendly community – where everyone knows each other and everyone respects each other, whatever their background. We want our students to enjoy their experience of studying on our campuses and make use of every opportunity that comes their way. To take advantage of the resources on the campus and to become a part of the community and contribute to its development.”

Professor Ian Walsh, Provost of the Swansea and Cardiff campuses added: “The Swansea and Cardiff campuses offer vibrant city locations for our students but being a student at UWTSD also means joining a close-knit community in which students are supported and encouraged to achieve their professional and personal goals. 

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“Clearly the coronavirus crisis has provided a challenging 18 months for us all and our students will have experienced and overcome some major obstacles to get this far. I want to reassure them and their families that the University, in partnership with the Students’ Union, is determined to ensure their safety at all times but also to provide the best study and social experiences within Government guidelines.” 

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