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Cross Hands

Cross Hands vehicle charging hub a first of its kind in Wales

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Preparations are underway to open the new first of its kind in Wales electric vehicle charging hub in Cross Hands.

The superfast charging hub which is located off the A48 is due to open later this month and will provide four 50KW rapid chargers and one 150KW super rapid charger.

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The chargers will provide a source of clean energy and help reduce draw from the national grid. The project is funded through the Welsh Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle Fund.

It comes just weeks after Carmarthenshire County Council launched its ten-year Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy.

The strategy sets out a vision to encourage and promote the development of infrastructure necessary to enable employees, residents, communities, visitors, businesses and other organisations to use EVs as part of their everyday routine.

It also outlines ways in which the council will encourage and support EV use across all sectors.

Cabinet Member for Carmarthenshire County Council Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans said the council is developing and promoting a network of electric charging points so it future proofs the county’s transport network as well as contributing to local and global pollution reduction target.

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She said: “We are delighted to be able to open this first of its kind in Wales superfast charging hub. We are also pleased to launch our Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy. We recognise the opportunities Electric Vehicles provide in supporting our decarbonisation ambitions set out in ‘Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr’ and with the ever-increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads, we need to ensure that drivers have access to a coherent network of EV charging infrastructure across the county.

We are working closely with partners and Welsh Government to identify new areas where extra provision will prove beneficial, not just along the strategic road network, but also inclusive of destination charging and for specific initiatives such as the ‘Ten Towns’. We remain committed to supporting the development of high quality, reliable EV infrastructure to the residents, businesses and visitors of Carmarthenshire.

This strategy supports us in these goals and helps to plan and set targets for the next 10 years.”

The council has already installed 28 fast charging points across the county with a further 15 being added by the end of March.

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Business

Environmental groups to benefit after Castell Howell pollution incident

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Wildlife and environmental groups are to benefit from a collaborative approach taken by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Castell Howell Foods following a pollution incident caused by a malfunction at a pumping station in Carmarthenshire.

Projects carried out by the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llyn Llech Owain SSSI Peatlands partnership, the West Wales Rivers Trust, and Wales Federation of Young Farmers Clubs are to benefit from money paid by Castell Howell Foods Ltd, and facilitated by NRW.

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The company paid the money as part of reparations for a pollution incident in July 2019. Following an investigation, and in light of Castell Howell’s rapid response, remediation work, and remorse, NRW identified the incident as suitable for a Civil Sanction – namely an enforcement undertaking.

The incident saw overflow effluent enter the Afon Gwili near Crosshands, caused by a mechanical failure at a sewage pumping station adopted by Castell Howell upon the purchase of adjacent land. The incident, which resulted in the death of fish native to the river was exacerbated by low river flow caused by the hot, dry weather.

When contacted by NRW at the time of the incident, Castell Howell confirmed they had unknowingly discharged effluent via the overflow pipe due to telemetry equipment failure at the pumping station. The company took immediate action by switching to manual pumps and subsequently blocked off the existing permitted emergency overflow.

The following month (August 2019), the company installed a new telemetry system and pump. Daily inspections and an improved maintenance schedule were implemented, and a full drainage CCTV survey was undertaken.

Jane Chapman, Legal Services Manager for NRW, said: “Our role is to ensure businesses can operate without harming people and the environment. This may involve prosecution, but in certain cases it can be in the public interest to look at options other than a court case.

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“The company has spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on this incident, and clearly take the impacts and consequences very seriously.

“The community will benefit from the enforcement undertaking through monetary and volunteer support for local projects financed by the company.

“This approach is an example of NRW fulfilling its key role for the greater good of the wider community.”

Edward Morgan, Group CSR and Training Manager for Castell Howell, said: “As a company that takes environmental matters and our location in the countryside very seriously, the Afon Gwili incident shocked and concerned us.

“We therefore welcome NRW’s view that our immediate remedial action and the swift installation of new equipment and protocols makes the incident suitable for an enforcement undertaking.

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“We are also very pleased that money paid as part of that undertaking is to go to organisations and projects working to protect and enhance wildlife and the Welsh countryside.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Carmarthenshire

Work starts on 71 new homes in Cross Hands

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Work has begun on more than 70 new houses in Cross Hands, the builder today announced.

Persimmon Homes is pushing on with its third and final phase of work at its Maes y Parc development off Heol y Parc.

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One of the homes at the Maes yr Parc development
(Image: Persimmon Homes)

The first two phases of the project – made up of 88 and 43 properties respectively – were a huge success with househunters.

The final phase will be made up of 71 homes, five of which will be ‘affordable’, on approximately five acres of land.

Preparatory work started last week and the first homes are due to go on sale in the summer.

Sharon Bouhali, Sales Director for Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We are delighted to be progressing with phase three of Maes y Parc.

“There is a real need for good quality homes in this area. Our first two phases were extremely successful and we have no doubts that these new houses will prove equally as popular, particularly with expanding families and first-time buyers.

“We will have a good mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes available in various styles and designs.

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“We look forward to releasing the properties onto the market and helping more people find their dream home.”

The site is within easy walking distance of Maes yr Yrfa Comprehensive School.

A successful retail park has emerged adjacent to the development in recent years, featuring a range of household names, including Lidl, B&M Retail Ltd, Costa Coffee, Iceland Foods Ltd, David Jenkins Ltd, Dominos PLC and Pets at Home.

The Government-backed Help to Buy – Wales scheme is available at Maes y Parc, an initiative where buyers only need a five per cent deposit.

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Ammanford

£500,000 for the love of Franks’ Gelateria

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It was in 1922 that Francesco Dallavalle first started selling his ice cream around the Amman Valley on a horse and cart.

The Italian art of making ice cream has since been passed through the generations with grandsons Renaldo and Giulio Dallavalle, Directors of award-winning Frank’s Ice Cream, having now opened a new gelateria and innovation centre alongside the company’s existing manufacturing site in Capel Hendre.

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Funded by a £500,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales, the new purpose-built facility houses the latest in ice cream making machinery and technology. Built by lead contractors Malpross Services of Cross Hands, the 4,300 square foot building features a product development centre and an ice cream parlour specialising in artisan gelato and semifreddo deserts that will be open to the public along with an open viewing and tasting area. Interactive classes will be available in a bespoke visitor room that will also host school visits.

Up to 12 new jobs are expected to be created in the new facility, which includes a short-run manufacturing unit that will improve efficiency by enabling the creation of specific one-off flavours and occasion ice creams.

Having been awarded their first major supermarket contract in 1990, Franks Ice Cream opened their first manufacturing site in Capel Hendre in 1993. The company went on to launch a diabetic range of ice cream with Morrisons before investing £1.5 million to increase production capacity and then beginning to export to the Middle East in 2019. They now supply dairy ice cream, vegan ice cream and ice cream for diabetics to a range of UK supermarkets and global brands.

Director Giulio Dallavalle said: “Our story is almost 100 years old. Since the early 20th century, my family has worked hard to grow our business with the same passion and integrity we use to create our award-winning ice cream.

“Our love of great-tasting, high quality, ice cream desserts is now shared by customers throughout the world. Our new innovation centre will allow us to stay ahead of the competition with rapid product developments as well as giving our loyal customers a place to enjoy our ice cream here in the community.

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“The funding from the Development Bank has helped us to begin the next chapter of our story; creating jobs and further enhancing our offering in this highly competitive market. We couldn’t have asked for better support which is why we now very much consider them as part of our Frank’s family.”

Giulio Sallavelle, Director Frank’s Ice Cream, Alun Thomas, Development Bank of Wales

Alun Thomas of the Development Bank of Wales said: “Franks’ is a long-established manufacturing business. This latest development enables the family to go back to their roots and sell ice cream direct to the public while also showcasing the very best innovation in the Welsh food sector. They’re a lovely family with a great business making the very best Italian ice cream. We wish them every success with their latest venture.”

Funding for Frank’s Ice Cream came from the £204 million Wales Business Fund. Financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Government and the Development Bank of Wales, the fund offers loans, mezzanine finance and equity investments from £50,000 to £2 million for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales. Terms range from one to seven years with finance prioritised for businesses in economically deprived areas of Wales.

Lead image: Giulio Sallavelle, Director Frank’s Ice Cream, Alun Thomas, Development Bank of Wales 

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