STRENGTHENING OUR COMMUNITY
Timeline of Events - 2020
Here you will find a summary of events as they develop. The LBSA will strive to remain open, honest and transparent with all their actions, as will be seen in this section.
Within this summary you will find links to letters and documents that have helped shape and forge the route to where we are now. (Just click on the underlined sections to open relevant PDF reference documents).
January 13th 2020
Community Council meeting attended at Bryn Hall with a view to securing the support of the councillors in attaining a 10-year tenure on the dog park, in order to meet one of the four conditions of the FAW Trust's "Offer in Principle" of £8k towards the overall cost.
The Councillors were supportive and it was suggested a License agreement on the land as opposed to the more complex Lease agreement would mean less work. The Cricket Club currently have a License in place for their field on a 10-year renewal agreement to meet grant funding conditions. LBSA representatives (Martin Williams, Emyr Williams) agree to produce a full written report at the request of Council Surveyor Alan Williams, and to confirm that a License would suffice the FAW Trust in terms of a tenure agreement. Also awaiting confirmation from Sport Wales that they are unable to Partner Fund the project from their Community Development Grant due to them already having a hand in sourcing the initial funding to the FAWT pot where the offer of funding has come from.
January 16th 2020
FAW confirm a License is sufficient for them to be able to reward the fund. Sport Wales regretfully confirm they cannot Partner Fund due to the aforementioned technicalities. Both recommend we contact Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) for advice on sourcing Partner Funding, however we already know that the Postcode Lottery Local Trust and Aviva Community Fund both open on January 21st. Also received from Council Clerk in response to the written report, an email requesting the need for a 1:2500 scale location plan. An aerial view of the scaled 50x30m pitch was included in the report sent.
January 21st 2020
Contact made with CAVS. Preparation for Aviva and Lottery applications. Aled Lewis (FAWT) contacted to confirm definition of the condition stating "sufficient reassurance being provided on how the asset would be protected".
January 22nd 2020
Aled Lewis responds stating "an email detailing the access and lock up procedures to the park and where the floodlights would be stored would be sufficient".
January 28th 2020
CAVS reply with offer to review any applications prior to us submitting.
January 29th 2020
Application submitted to CIFW for £1,000 grant towards the Cae Pownd project. Result is due around March 31st.
Post Code Lottery Local Trust Application form (£16k Partner Funding for Project Dog Park) is sent to Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) for review (deadline is Tuesday February 4th).
Location Plan of the Park (on a scale of 1:2500) is sourced, and Dog Park area marked as requested by the Community Council. Emailed to clerk.
February 3rd 2020
Stage 1 application submitted to Post Code Lottery Local Trust, following guidance from CAVS.
February 7th 2020
Email received from council outlining some queries regarding the Dog Park, including misconstrued stance on the non-thinning of the hedgerow, a request for 1:2500 Location Plan (which was submitted to them on 29.01.20). Meeting is on Monday 10th.
February 10th 2020
Council meeting attended by Chairman Phil Willock and Emyr Williams to provide an update on LBSA progress and some answers prepared for email queries. Alan Williams (Council "Surveyor") queries of LBSA include maintenance of facility and any income plans, agreement not to affect hedgerow, the access route to the facility to ensure nobody crosses the cricket wicket and where the floodlighting would be recharged. LBSA point to these as minor issues. Council promise to forward information on security at park and will confirm draft of Licence agreement for Dog Park area will be in place by next meeting. Point also made that Rugby and Football clubs have a joint fundraising event taking place on April 24th.
February 18th 2020
FAW Trust contacted with information to meet the conditions of their £8k offer. Acknowledgement recieved.
February 21st 2020
Council clerk forwards information on security at park. Information already sent 3 days ago.
February 27th 2020
Draft Licence for the Dog Park forwarded to LBSA from council. To be discussed at March 9th council meeting.
February 29th - March 1st 2020
LBSA sought confirmation from Council regarding the deadline of usage of the park field. Research refers to April 2019 community council minutes (section 15) whereby it was stated that "sporting bodies will not be able to play on the field after the end of the second week of April". It was confirmed that Sunday April 12th would be the 2020 deadline. LBSA acknowledge this, pledge to pass on the information to relevant parties and request information of the maintenance programme due to take place.
March 3rd 2020
Council respond outlining the maintenance plan. This is same proposed plan as every other summer. LBSA ask to be notified on progress to communicate to clubs.
Meanwhile an LBSA meeting is held at Llan RFC to discuss latest updates, and a proposal of attaining a licence on the park field (as per the cricket and bowls agreements) so that we can be allocated the allotted budget, take control of annual field maintenance, and open up opportunities to apply for grant funding in order to assist development of the field and whole area. Details in agenda and minutes. Agreement in principle signed by key people with a view to proposal to council in due course.
March 6th 2020
Response from Post Code Lottery Trust regarding the £16k Dog Park Stage 1 application. It stated that while "the proposal had a clear link to the 'Increasing community access to outdoor space' theme, the total project cost and amount requested from the trust did not have a clear link to the activities detailed in the proposal." In the application we had 500 characters (including spaces) to convey the merits of the project and why it is worthy of being awarded the funding. They've used 225 in that feedback sentence. We shall try again in the next round.
March 9th 2020
Response from CIFW regarding the £1k Cae Pownd application. The feedback stated "It is important that the social and/or financial need for funding is identified and evidenced. The Panel did not feel that the case for support was strong enough." We soldier on.
March 12th 2020
Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak takes its grip on the UK.
March 30th 2020
LBSA apply to the Llangennech Community Council grant process but refused as the deadline was missed. The deadline (22/02/2020) which is published in the Llanelli Star newspaper print publication in autumn.
April 10th 2020
Maintenance programme for the Park field commences. Out of interest, DND Groundworks are asked for a quote for an annual maintenance plan for the LBSA, should we ever gain ownership of the field maintenance plan. A quote provided to include 8 slitting visits, mowing, line marking and a top dressing program to help level the field (none of which are covered by DND now in the council program). This quote came to £4.7k. (Removing the costs of the above additional work it comes in at £2340, which make Council finance expenditure records interesting).
Discussions held with Football and Rugby clubs regarding the application of top soil to the pitch, as advised by the DND Groundworks. It is an ideal time to do so since the unforeseen break has given the field a chance to recover and top soil is much-needed. A cost of £1300 is quoted in order to carry out the procedure. LBSA approach the council to ask if there is room in the allotted budget to cover the cost. Also state that if the council can't afford it, the LBSA would initiate talks between clubs to split costs and go ahead anyway. Council Clerk replies and claims they have already committed £4.5k of an allotted £5k for 2020-21 financial year to a maintenance program. They need to keep the remaining money as a contingency in case of running maintenance during the season. LBSA request a copy of the accounts for our records. It states that of the allotted £7540 for 2019-20 financial year, £5810 was spent. The stated budget for 2020-21 is £7955. Football and Rugby clubs agree to split the cost of topsoil application and negotiate directly with DND, while notifying the clerk of the intent. See full email thread here.
May 19th 2020
Large area of land comes on the Market at Gwaelod Y Maes (£200,000) and the LBSA make enquiries to explore the potential for purchase, usage etc. Planning office advise contact NRW for flood plain information.
June 8th 2020
The land is sold. LBSA contact estate agent to register our interest in using the land should the new owner want to get in touch.
June 27th 2020
Application submitted to Cooperative Local Community fund for Dog Park Project.
August 6th 2020
Email sent asking the Community Council for the date of availability of Pavilion for toilet use. on August 7th a reply stated that they await water testing results, testing took place over a week previously. No correspondence received since nor access granted.
August 23rd 2020
Following further vandalism of the cricket facilities, dog fouling issues and littering, an Email is sent (with supporting images) asking the Community Council what measures are in place to combat such actions including the suggestion of surveillance cameras. Cncllr Gary Jones replies briefly to state he has a meeting with PCSO's the following day and would bring up the matters. No further correspondence received.
September 4th 2020
A meeting is arranged between Cncllr Gary Jones, PCSOs and Cricket Club members at the park to discuss the following issues - littering / fly tipping, vandalism, dog fouling and CCTV surveillance. Coincidentally, a Football club committee member (Neil Bryant) was at the park and joined the meeting out of curiosity alongside rugby club Junior Chair Leanne Peake who'd heard about the meeting at the very last minute. Neither the LBSA, Football Club nor the Cylch Meithrin were notified of any meeting. Cncllr Jones was queried on his failure to notify those parties and stated he had no contact information. At the meeting, the Cricket members questioned the costings for a CCTV system as per the community council's outdated estimates. Also the PCSOs stated that incidents should be reported otherwise no action or justification for surveillance could be justified. The dog fouling and dogs off their leashes appears to be an ongoing issue with reporting of incidents to county council suggested as a measure to resolve it.
September 6th 2020
Following a social media backlash regarding the meeting, Leanne Peak advises Cncllr Jones on exactly who should be contacted in order to attend future meetings of such nature.
September 13th 2020
Email sent to Community Council to request that line marking be carried out on park field as per annual procedure by county council. No acknowledgement received.
September 15th 2020
The Community Council minutes of the June meeting are brought to attention. A net underspend of £12228 includes an under spend of £2570 on the park field. The clerk had previously stated that there was no money available to cover cost of top soil (£1300), a cost that would've fallen to the Rugby and Football clubs, but subsequently delayed on the advice of DND Groundworks. (see above section April 12th to 20th). This has raised major concerns on the community council's management of the maintenance funding for the facility.
Llangennech RFC reach an agreement with Llangennech AFC to allow the use of the floodlight system at the park for training use, after 13 years of stalemate following a disputed incident circa 2007. The LBSA continues to build bridges.
September 18th 2020
Further complaint made to police regarding dog fouling while response states that the issue should be taken up with local authority. Further to this a conversation was had with the county enforcement officers who stated there is nothing the county or police can do as the playing fields are not secured and enclosed - therefore, due to some legalities, the signage is worthless and the responsibility falls on the land owners to enforce - in this case, the community council - rendering the reporting systems set out on September 4th as useless.
October 5-6th 2020
Follow up email sent to council regarding the pitch line marking as we await acknowledgement of the original email sent on September 13th. Response from clerk that a request has been made to County Council for line marking and also for details on both clubs return to play plans. This information was duly offered by the LBSA. See emails.
October 22nd 2020
Notified that Cooperative Local Community Fund Application for Dog Park Project sent in June has failed.
October 23rd 2020
Wales National Firebreak lockdown starts. Ends on 9th November.
November 7-9th 2020
As we prepare to come out of the National Firebreak and return to play, another follow up on the as-yet to be completed pitch line marking is sent to the council. Also a query for access to the toilet facility at the pavilion is sought, inline with the return to training and play protocols as set out by the WRU and FAW. Clerk responds that he has followed up and cannot get a response from the County Council regarding line marking. He also states that further assessments are required for Toilet access protocols; LBSA furnishes the clerk with documents and an agreement proposal to attempt to get council to act swiftly on the matter. A request is made for an urgent response from the County Council regarding the line marking. Should an answer not be forthcoming and the line marking not be able to be done by the weekend then the LBSA will require a swift answer in order to arrange marking, to meet community needs. A request for a link to be sent for access to the remote council meeting is sent to clerk. No reply.
Following failure to get from the clerk for the 7pm meeting, Emyr Williams requests a link directly from councillors and eventually receives (6:50pm). During the meeting a case is made on behalf of LBSA for access to Pavilion toilet which wins councillor vote, despite clerks and surveyor continued protestations regarding control of people wanting to "use wash basin as a shower". Following unanimous vote in favour of LBSA access, a further meeting is requested by clerk (assumed that it would be a site meeting to demo and agree procedure). See full email trail.
November 10-11th 2020
Meeting attempted to be arranged via clerk at Pavilion for Monday 16th. Meeting at venue is not plausible option according to clerk. LBSA suggests meeting is therefore pointless and we draw a picture for them. That request is agreed along with laying out a bullet point-plan. See emails.
November 15-17th 2020
Plan issued and accepted by councillors. Permission granted to use Pavilion toilet.
November 29th 2020
Dog mess issues at the park field debated on the Llangennech Neighbourhood Watch Facebook pages after rugby coaches find the field in bad condition due to fouling.
December 4th 2020
LBSA request slot on the agenda for the next community council meeting scheduled for 14th. A 10 minute time limit is granted once more, as the meeting has "a number of other items to discuss".
Project Bootup is launched via Twitter.
December 14th 2020
LBSA attend the remote meeting (via Zoom, Leanne Peake, Curt Roberts & Emyr Williams representing). Leanne Peake (Chair of Llangennech RFC Juniors) made a statement with regard to the increased issues the club has faced with dog fouling at the park, leading to Councillors debating the merits of a monitoring and fencing. This nicely set up the LBSA's proposal of attaining a license on the field, similar to that of the Cricket Cub's agreement. The discussion debated the mutual benefits of the proposal with potential funding available for a surveillance system and fencing the field. The Surveyor and Clerk were keen to see a written document on the matter, so it was initially requested that an extensive detailed report be submitted with what was involved. The LBSA agreed and requested that a copy of the proposal set out by the Cricket club be forwarded to us as we assumed they'd have been subjected to the same scrutiny. It would also save time in providing a guide to a successful "license application". After some debate whereby the Surveyor explained now that a Business Plan-type document would be required, and further confusion muddying the waters by the Clerk discussing the license set out to the rugby club in the 1990s, and that any such license would not gain the LBSA exclusivity to the entire ground (which nobody had suggested), an intervention by Councillor Lynda Morgan clarified the situation and the Clerk will now forward the Cricket Club document (by which point was referred to as "a simple letter" by the Surveyor) to the LBSA for guidance. Richard Clement - on behalf of the Cricket Club - also said he would seek any document with Club Treasurer Eric Lewis. The Chair, Councillor Gwyneth Thomas summed up by saying a license agreement could be reached upon receipt of a similar document to that agreed with the Cricket Club.
Councillor Stephen Hughes contacts the LBSA to discuss making a social media film in the new year with representatives from the rugby, football, LBSA, Cylch Meithrin etc., to remind people of the impact of dog fouling in the park.
Correspondence received from council regarding the agreed information to be forwarded. The sequence involves a simple letter from the Cricket Club regarding the 2015 request for a license in order to support the grant aid for the new square covers; it was required to incorporate the whole playing area and a storage area for the covers. It also referred to previous conversations had with the Clerk regarding the request. A copy of the issued license (August 2015) was also included.
There was no reference to any of the earlier agreements or the maintenance of the area and how that was agreed. So we consult Rich Clement who agrees to forward the documents to Cricket Club Treasurer Eric Lewis and enquire. See email trail - Eric Lewis and Huw Thomas cc'd, confirming the the budget is agreed (currently around £2500) while the club just invoices the council for their maintenance bill; the only evidence is the correspondence attached (see first link).
Rich Clement informs the LBSA. A discussion to draw up a letter on behalf of the LBSA with the agreement of a maintenance budget and plan similar to that of the Cricket Club is implemented.
During this time, the LBSA takes the opportunity to highlight all the LBSA-relevant Minuted notes from the council meetings since May 2016, which is available from their website.