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Carmarthen

Extra free parking days for Llanelli, Llandeilo and Carmarthen during the festive season

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Carmarthenshire shoppers are being encouraged to use free parking days and support local businesses in the run up to Christmas.

Carmarthenshire County Council has approved requests from Llanelli, Llandeilo and Carmarthen town councils to allocate free parking days throughout December for events.

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Towns across Carmarthenshire are offered five free parking days to use as they wish from January to November every year, but the council’s Cabinet has agreed to requests from some towns to extend these into December.

In Llanelli the free parking days are December 4, 11 and 18; in Carmarthen they are Dec 5, 12 and 19 and in Llandeilo they are Dec 4, 11, 18.

These are in addition to the usual free parking periods in our short stay car parks already running throughout the year in Carmarthenshire towns.

The free parking days coincides with the launch of the first ever Christmas pop up shops as part of Carmarthenshire County Council’s 100% Sir Gâr initiative as a way of supporting local businesses to recover from a long period of lockdown and restrictions on retail.

The free pop up shops are located at the former Debenhams in Carmarthen and number 1 Stepney Street (next door to Andrew Price Hairdresser) and are open up until Christmas.

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Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans said: “We know how difficult the past year has been for our local businesses and that is why we have agreed to allow the three main towns to use their annual free parking day allocations during December if they wanted to as this month is usually excluded. We hope as many people as possible will take advantage of these extra days and support the pop up shops and our local town centre businesses during the festive season.”

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Carmarthen

Save the Cinema Film make scenery at UWTSD Set & Design Production Workshop

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The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Set Design Production Scenery Workshop has revealed its involvement in the newly released ‘Save the Cinema film for Sky.

The film ‘Save the Cinema’ is a true story looking back at Liz Evans’s campaign to save the Lyric Theatre from closing in Carmarthen. Stars such as Jonathan Pryce, Samantha Morton, Tom Felton, Adeel Akhtar and Susan Wokoma feature in the film.

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As the production started, art director Gwyn Eiddior visited UWTSD’s Carmarthen Campus to see if there were any props or scenery he could possibly use for the film as it was being filmed in Carmarthen. After requesting on social media later that day for use of a workshop to build sets for the film in Carmarthen, Lecturer Dave Atkinson suggested for them to use the facilities at UWTSD.

As a result of this, the film’s construction team were based at UWTSD’s Set Design Production Scenery Workshop, meaning that all of the construction work and scenic art created for the film was made on campus. Along with Dave who was employed as the workshop manager, two graduates from the BA Set Design & Production course, Mari Hullett and Ashley Phillips were fortunate to gain work from this project in the scenic art and graphics departments.

They worked alongside the experienced production designer Jonathan Houlding who has  worked on high-end screen productions such as ‘Love Actually’, ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘The Martian.’ Dave adds,

“We created a variety of scenery for the film. Largely dressing for the Lyric Theatre, and the theatre scenery they were filming on. The hairdresser’s salon was the largest build which was an empty shop. We had to reinstall a whole salon in there. One fun element to make was the Big Breakfast set – we made the bedroom where they interviewed people.”

UWTSD Lecturer Dave Atkinson at the University’s set design workshop (Image: UWTSD)

Graduate Mari Hullett said, “Working on ‘Save The Cinema’ as a scenic artist was an amazing opportunity and I will always value my time being involved in the production as an experience to take further into my career.

“I am extremely grateful for the chance of working alongside the friendly and highly skilled scenic and construction team as I was able to learn so much from them. I was also able to work on different roles within the art department such as graphic props, which I greatly appreciated as I got to experience a broader spectrum of skills involved on a film set.

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“As a whole, it was a really heart-warming experience to be a part of a project that involved my university town and the wider community.

“This was also my first professional role on a film project which has opened my eyes to the growing opportunities within the film industry in Wales. I am very excited to see this on-screen!”

An experience like this has been a fantastic opportunity, and a chance for the students to have an insight into the industry.

Dave Atkinson adds: “Welcoming Sky Cinema onto campus has given UWTSD Carmarthen the opportunity to not only showcase the high-quality practitioners that graduate from the Set Design & Production course, but to also exhibit the facilities we have, such as the scenery workshop which is equipped with top of the range tools and machinery.”

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Movie ‘Save the Cinema’ to be shown at Carmarthen’s Lyric Theatre – the subject of the film

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Carmarthenshire County Council has secured a two-week showing of Sky Cinema original movie Save The Cinema at Carmarthen’s Lyric Theatre – the very subject of the film.

Welsh Government Covid-19 restrictions meant that plans to premiere the film at Carmarthen had to be called off, but the council has since brought specialist equipment in to allow people to see the film being screened in the very place it was filmed during 2021.

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The film is based on a true story inspired by the life of Carmarthen hairdresser Liz Evans who called on Hollywood to save her local cinema.

The film stars Golden Globe-winning Samantha Morton as the main character, supported by Oscar-nominated Jonathan Pryce, Harry Potter star Tom Felton and Keith Allen among others. Filming started last year and parts of the town were transformed to look like the early 1990s when the film is set.

Carmarthenshire County Council has been working closely with Sky Cinema throughout the production, supporting the filming of key scenes at The Lyric, in streets around Carmarthen, in council offices in Ammanford, and in other areas of the county such as Laugharne and Llandeilo.

The film has boosted the local econonmy by around £750,000 already, with more economic benefit expected in the coming months.

The council say that supporting filming in Carmarthenshire is one of the council’s key aims because of the money it brings into the county.

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Council leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “We were delighted to host the production of this fantastic film earlier this year, with scenes filmed in Carmarthen, Ammanford, Laugharne and Llandeilo. And now to screen it in the place where it was filmed is just the icing on the cake. Carmarthenshire has proven itself again and again to be a desirable destination for the media and it’s enjoying a growing reputation as a filming location for major television dramas and movies, with several award-winning productions finding their home here in Carmarthenshire. Attracting national and international productions such as this has a major impact on the growth of our economy and ensures that our communities reap the benefits.”

Tickets for the screenings in The Lyric, from January 14-30, can be booked at www.theatrausirgar.co.uk. Bookings will only be allowed for maximum groups of six, and seating will be socially distanced. A Covid Pass will be required.

The film is also showing on Sky Cinema from Friday, January 14.

(Lead image: Sky / Ffilm Cymru)

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First look at Carmarthen bus station revamp and ‘green roof’ bus shelter plans

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People are being given the chance to help shape the revamp of Carmarthen town centre’s bus station.

Carmarthenshire County Council, working with transport engineering group Atkins, has secured funding to improve and enhance the bus station in Blue Street.

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Feedback from investigations and user surveys show that the existing bus shelters are too small and do not provide sufficient shelter for waiting passengers.

These are being replaced with two new continuous shelters to provide better weather protection and ‘green-roof’ canopies to help capture carbon and attract bees and butterflies.

A small number of hornbeam trees that are constrained by the current shelters will need to be removed, however a larger range of new trees and ornamental shrubbery will be planted to compensate and add more greenery to the Blue Street area.

Further improvements will include the widening of the central reserve and enhanced landscaping of the area to bring people closer to nearby shops and businesses.

The council and Atkins are now seeking public views to help them shape final design proposals.

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Members of the public, town centre businesses and stakeholders, public transport operators and users, and anyone else with an interest in the scheme, is being invited to provide feedback on the plans and ask questions about the scheme.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Encouraging people to use public transport and sustainable travel options is a key priority for the council.

“These improvements will not only enhance the bus station but also support our commitment to tackling climate change by introducing more green infrastructure, helping capture carbon emissions and attract a diversity of wildlife.

“The work ties in with other town centre improvements to encourage people into town and provide more safe space for people and businesses as part of our post Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

“A few small trees that are currently constrained will need to be removed as part of these works, but we look forward to bringing the county’s first green roof bus shelters to Carmarthen and planting more trees than we are removing to capture more carbon emissions than the current bus station can.”

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Construction is due to start in January and will take around three months to complete.

The council and Atkins will work with local businesses to ensure minimal disruption around delivery times and peak periods, with parking and loading bays maintained throughout the works.

Signage and information will be posted in advance and during the works to redirect buses and passengers to temporary stops just around the corner in Lammas Street, near the Rose and Crown.

People can view and feedback on the proposals by visiting the council’s website.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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