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Llanelli MP gives seal of approval to restoration of historic local landmark

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The Llanelli Railway Goods Shed project is being used to train local apprentices and offer Onsite work experience opportunities

Llanelli MP, Nia Griffiths, has given her seal of approval on the work being undertaken to bring the formerly derelict Grade II listed Llanelli Railway Goods Shed back into use.

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Onsite Hub trainees outside the newly renovated Llanelli Railway Goods Shed offices

Phase one of the project is nearing completion, involving the restoration and conversion of a two-story building at the western end of the shed into a community-based flexible office and meeting space.

Work to restore the historic building has come about thanks to Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust, a volunteer group set up in 2011 with the aim of preserving Llanelli’s industrial heritage.

The project’s overall vision is to transform the shed into a hub for cultural, heritage, community and enterprise activities. The aim is to create a dynamic, welcoming space where Llanelli’s diverse community can use the building in a variety of ways and explore Llanelli’s industrial and cultural heritage.

The restoration work is being undertaken by Ammanford-based construction contractor TRJ Ltd. The construction company is working in partnership with Coleg Sir Gar and Cyfle Building Skills to create apprentice opportunities on the project. It is hoped this partnership will provide many unique training opportunities as well as generating some much-needed employment opportunities in the local area.

The project is also being used as part of the South West Wales Onsite Construction Hub – funded by CITB and coordinated by Cyfle Building Skills – which aims to give individuals the opportunity to have real-life practical work experience in the construction industry with a placement with a local construction firm.

During her visit, Nia Griffiths MP inspected and admired the restoration work completed by the apprentices and trainees working on the project. Ms Griffiths also presented three Onsite Hub trainees with a toolkit worth £150, which is awarded to all Onsite Hub trainees upon successful completion of their work placement.

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Two of the three Onsite Hub trainees – carpenter Morgan Richards and plasterer Kieran Jones-Rees – have already gone on to gain full-time apprenticeships with the Cyfle Shared Apprenticeship Scheme and are placed onsite with TRJ for site experience. A third, Ciaran Goddard-Howe, is currently studying a full-time bricklaying course at Coleg Sir Gar in Ammanford.

The Llanelli Railway Goods Shed was originally built in 1875 with at least two subsequent phases of construction in the early part of the 20th Century. It once played a vital role in the development of Llanelli as a major industrial centre but ceased operation in 1966 and became derelict. Thankfully for the renovation project, it has remained structurally sound and is one of the few remaining buildings of its kind left in the UK.

As with the building’s original construction, the renovation project will be completed in several phases. The first phase, set to be completed in the spring, will see the renovation of the old office block into a flexible working space for local businesses, Local Authority employees, and the wider community.

How the Goods Shed looks today (Image: Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust)

Future phases of the project will include restoration of the main shed, exterior canopy, and surrounding land. The main shed is set to become a café and educational heritage site to engage the community in the area’s industrial past. How the exterior canopy and surrounding land are to be utilised has yet to be determined and are reliant on future funding.

However, it is proposed that they could be used by the community as a space to hold local produce markets and create communal sensory gardens. It is also suggested that raised beds could be built on the surrounding land to provide local people with the opportunity to grow their own plants and vegetables.

Nia Griffiths, MP for Llanelli, said: “It’s really exciting to see everything coming together on the project. It has funding for the next phase, which will include the café and heritage area within the large shed, and the trust is actively seeking funding to continue the area’s renovation into the outside space.

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“I must congratulate everyone who has worked on the project, particularly those trainees and apprentices who have worked so hard to get the Goods Shed to where it is today – on the verge of becoming a viable, useful working space for the local community.”

Owain Jones, Director at TRJ Ltd, said: “It’s a great privilege to be involved on such a significant building project for Llanelli’s history. The trustees of the Goods Shed Trust have really put their heart and soul into the project. I must also compliment the trainees and apprentices who have worked very hard on the restoration. They have worked very diligently under the tutelage of our senior staff – in many cases starting out as apprentices themselves. I hope they have learned a lot from the experience and will take that knowledge with them into their future careers.”

Anthony Rees, Regional Manager at Cyfle Building Skills, said: “It has been great to support the resurrection of this historic Llanelli landmark. We are very happy to provide opportunity on the project with our Shared Apprenticeship Scheme and our Onsite Hub work experience programme, which has given some young people, the opportunity to come into the world of work.

“These kinds of opportunities are integral to giving people the chance to acquire more practical skills within the construction sector, and this is vital to fill the skills gap for today and for the near future.”

(Lead image: Nia Griffiths MP presents toolkit to Onsite Hub trainee at Llanelli Railway Goods Shed)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Llanelli

Unlicensed Llanelli dog breeder made thousands of pounds selling puppies illegally

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An illegal dog breeder from Llanelli made thousands of pounds by selling his puppies on Gumtree and Free Ads websites.

Llanelli Magistrates Court heard that unlicensed Ashleigh Price of Llwynhendy pocketed between £34k and £57k from the sales of 10 litters over a 16-month period.

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It is illegal to advertise three or more litters of puppies from the same premises within a 12-month rolling period without a dog breeding licence.

In a prosecution led by Carmarthenshire County Council, the court was told that council officers visited the premises in Parc Richard following complaints received from Citizens Advice Consumer Services in July last year that the 25-year-old had kennels in his garden and that he was illegally breeding dogs.

Checks with both websites revealed four accounts in Price’s name and two in his wife’s and that litters made up of Jack Russell’s, Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and West Highland Terriers were advertised on the sites between April 2020 and November 2021. Most of the adverts stated they were family pets.

In mitigation, Price said that he wanted to make more money due to him being on weekly benefits of £120 and that he acted alone and set up accounts in his wife’s name. He denied making £35k saying that he ‘haggled’ the price and that some of the dogs were given away to family and friends. He also said he had no record of how much the dogs were sold for.

Price was fined £500, ordered to pay £750 costs and £50 victim surcharge.

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(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Coronavirus

Health board extends shuttle bus between Llanelli and COVID vaccination centre

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Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) has extended the free shuttle bus service between Llanelli town centre and the mass vaccination centre in Dafen to help people access their COVID-19 vaccination as easily as possible.

The shuttle bus, provided by Dolen Teifi, will continue to run between 10.30am to 4.40pm, seven days a week – with no service at 12.00pm from town or at 12.15pm from the mass vaccination centre to allow the drivers a lunch break.

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People can board the shuttle bus on the hour and at half-past the hour at Church Street, outside Llanelli Magistrates Court.

The shuttle bus will leave the mass vaccination centre quarter past and quarter to the hour, returning to the town centre and dropping passengers off opposite Llanelli library.

Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We need as many people as possible attending their COVID-19 vaccine appointments, or dropping in if eligible.

“This shuttle bus service is one of many additional resources and services being put in place across the Hywel Dda region to help support more people to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. I am pleased the shuttle bus service has been extended to help people reliant on public transport to access their COVID-19 vaccine.”

On 21 February 2022, the JCVI published a statement, recommending an additional spring booster.

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Strict COVID-19 safety measures are in place to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers on this service, including wearing face coverings unless medically exempt.

A maximum of 14 passengers are allowed per journey with a screen in place between driver and passengers.

The health board say that passengers should only use this service if they are fit and well on the day.

They add that before travelling without an appointment to Dafen mass vaccination centre, people should check the health board’s website for up-to-date information such as vaccine eligibility and drop-in opening times.

(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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