Timeline of Events - 2021
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).
Jan 4 - Slot on agenda requested for the community council meeting on January 11th.
Jan 5 - Clerk replies, he's already printed all paperwork and a 10 minute public participation slot was all they could offer us. Again.
Zoom meeting with Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) representative Jackie Dorrian regarding funding opportunities and LBSA background. She suggests application to the National Lottery's Award for All scheme, the Scarlets Community Foundation, local fencing companies and Llannon & Tumble Community Council officers with regard to their project for the skate park, etc.
Councillor Stephen Hughes follows up on the planned dog fouling video discussed for the park.
Jan 6 - LBSA confirm attendance in 10 minute "public participation" of council meeting, once more.
Jan 8 - Letter emailed to clerk and councillors ahead of meeting. During visit to park to meet with fencing contractor to discuss a quote for fencing the pitch, EW meets a dog walking business owner who uses the park regularly and he invites her to be a part of the community video. EW asks her whether a specific area to leave dogs off the leash would be popular. A very positive conversation was had and will be followed up.
Jan 10 - Reply to the letter, received from council Surveyor Alan Williams, referring to all manner of things while giving his opinion that "there is advantage in the Council retaining its responsibility for the maintenance of the football pitch and for considering any suggestions for improving this regime in discussion with the LBSA which have an important part to play in that respect. In addition, accountability for employing Contractors and the financial controls involved in handling public money is onerous and best left to the Council in these circumstances". No real reference to the advantages of retaining responsibility. Perhaps its to do with this?
EW also asks Councillor Lynda Morgan about the procedure for amending minutes in order to remove some references to which he was misquoted.
Jan 11 - The meeting goes ahead with EW opening with the proposal (Rich Clement and Curt Roberts also in attendance). The clerk reminds EW of the protocol regarding sending correspondence through him and not directly to the councillors. EW notes his point and makes clear he asked for LBSA to be on the agenda. No reference was made to the Surveyor's email from Sunday. EW fielded questions from councillors and the clerk, including whether the LBSA had the capital to outlay the first year's cost prior to being reimbursed at the end of the financial year, and why the LBSA felt it needed to acquire responsibility if they assume the same budget and use the same contractor. It was voted unanimously that the LBSA are handed responsibility of the maintenance for an initial 2-year trial period, working within a yet-to-be-finalised budget (expected to be £5,000).
EW requests the clerk withdraws reference in the minutes of the previous meeting with regard to LBSA seeking to "control access and usage", making the point that it would not want it mistakenly recorded and used to create a narrative that the LBSA somehow wishes to limit access for the community, or that the LBSA would expect any exclusivity on the field. This was agreed. Information of the success is fed back to all key LBSA stakeholders, including rubber stamping that the capital is available from both the rugby and football club Treasurers.
Jan 12 - LBSA request a slot on the February meeting agenda in order to formally agree the budget for maintenance and discuss matters surrounding that, and asks for council procedure on issuing minutes to any attendees of meetings. Also a request for confirmation of closing date for the community council's annual grant scheme.
Jan 13 - Clerk responds, provides a documentation of the field maintenance entitled Delegation Agreement, explains there will not be much time for an agenda slot on February 8 due to council annual financial talks, and confirms the grants shall be discussed in March meeting (no deadline given).
See the email trail here.
LBSA stumble across information pertaining to the application of plans for the development of a solar panel project at Blaenhiraeth Farm in Llangennech via the Welsh Government website. 96 hectare "Development of National Significance" in the village. Research shows objections from Llanelli Rural Council, Llannon Community Council, but no apparent representation from Llangennech & Bryn Community Council aside from a short letter from County Councillor Gwyneth Thomas, as published on the Welsh Government site.
Jan 16 - Contact made with DND Groundworks to communicate latest developments on Park Sports Field Maintenance. They reveal they are keen to work with us. Volunteers asked to fulfil roles of Pitch Liaison Officers.
Jan 18 - Confirmation of Park Field Liaison Officers. LBSA apply for annual Community Council Grant with cover letter stating that no transactions have taken place in this financial year with supporting bank statements.
LBSA submit letter to Council to confirm contact made with contractor and appointment of Sports Field Liaison Officers - Lead Officer Mal Gibbs, Assistant Officers Curtis Roberts & Martin Williams, to be overseen by LBSA Chair Phill Willock.
Jan 28 - National Lottery Awards for All scheme application information sent to CAVS' Jackie Dorrian for checking. No reply.
Feb 6 - Quote received from fencing contractor Treetops Gardening & Fencing based on tender.
Feb 8 - Follow up email to CAVS' Jackie Dorrian on response to application.
Council meeting: EW corrects the amendments made to December’s minutes.
Confirms all councillors received the letter announcing the election of the Maintenance Officers.
EW raises the issue of the Solar Project at Blaenhiraeth Farm, asking what representation the council have made to the process. Clerk says he submitted a letter directly to the developer a long time ago. The letter had no objection to the project but did ask for details of any financial benefit to suit community schemes. No response had been forthcoming. Gwyneth Thomas states that she had sent a letter via the government portal but it was as a separate representation on behalf of individuals objecting to the development. EW requests to see the letter and suggests, since the developer may be under no obligation to respond directly, that the council resubmit representation via the same formal channel – just as Llanelli Rural and Llannon Councils and Gwyneth had done - so that they are heard, provided the consultation period remains open. Cncllr Stephen Hughes says his understanding is that the formal consultation process is now closed. The clerk says he will email the letter to us and look to submit it to the Government portal through formal channels.
Cricket Club vice-chairman Simon Clement follows up on their correspondence regarding Section 106 funding towards a CCTV surveillance system at the park.
Feb 9 - CAVS Jackie Dorrian responds with a few suggested amendments to the application.
Further research on the Welsh Government Planning Inspectorate confirms that the consultation period ended on October 9. Moreover, it became apparent that further representations could be made by those listed as "respective invited participants". The list included Llanelli Rural and Llannon councils, but not Llangennech. Professional advice was sought immediately, a subsequent email was sent to the clerk, councillors and surveyor to raise the subject as a matter of urgency. The cut-off period for representations is Feb 26. The email raises awareness of the developments, urges the council to move to attempt to get on the list, while imparting much of the relevant PINs correspondence. The aim is to avoid the council missing out on involvement in any process whereby payment of community benefits may be distributed if the development gets the go-ahead.
Cricket Club receive reply from clerk stating that their request for further fencing AND a shed was agreed in principle at last night's meeting.
Feb 10 - Reply to CAVS Jackie Dorrian noting amendments. National Lottery Awards for All £10k application submitted. Application includes a new line marker, new rugby posts and a contribution toward a fencing system. Solar project info was also shared with her for advice. She states that it looks worthy of pursuing for likelihood of available funding.
Council reply with copies of the emails (best read in reverse order) sent to the developer and responses to the Planning Inspectorate.
On October 10, 2019 the developer reaches out for ideas to "firm up community benefits that they can contribute to". On Nov 18, council suggests £5k toward the £50k+ Bryn Park development and the potential for an unspecified spend on accessibility improvements for wheelchair and buggy users at Troserch Woods.
On Sept 4, 2020 council are invited to submit comments on the planning application; they stated to have "no further comments to make". Sept 22, Inspectorate case work leader Harry Edgeworth asks council to clarify the statement since he has no record of representation from them. The council respond by saying they "did not make comment on the application itself but did suggest a means of making a community contribution to projects... this was also mentioned at the presentation made by the developer" back in Sept 2019.
The clerk also attached a response from the Surveyor to last night's email. He states a national approach has made it "a more distant government process that has resulted in the original community offer no longer being included". He goes on to say that any enforcement of community contribution by the Senedd would have been done at the "Application" stage and that should a voluntary sum become available "then an equitable arrangement would be required for a share out between all the organisations affected. This position will not change by further contact with the Senedd".
Advice was sought by the LBSA and a reply was sent with further questions raised.
Feb 13 - Letter sent to council regarding interest in seeing some of the potential Section 106 (s.106) monies for upcoming planning approval at Gwaelod Y Maes, in line with the Cricket Club's recent letter. Slot on agenda for next meeting is also requested within the letter.
Feb 15 & 16 - Response received from County Cncllr Gary Jones stating his intention to ask that some of the money is used at Maes Ty Gwyn playground, based on it being nearest. LBSA responds to say we appreciate numerous projects will be put forward. We felt now is the correct time to suggest work at the main park as per community feedback. He replies reiterating he will make MTG park his main focus as residents are expecting it to be spent there.
Feb 19 - No reply from the Community Council regarding the questions over the Solar Farm invite (Feb 26 deadline for representations).
A member of the community launches a petition for improvements at Llangennech Park playground via www.change.org. The petition gathers 300 signatures in 2 days.
Feb 20 - County Councillor Gary Jones posts response on Facebook to the petition. He highlights any s.106 funding will go to fund Maes Ty Gwyn park resurfacing.
Mar 2 - Reply from National Lottery Awards for All Community Fund. Failure to secure funds, with feedback.
Mar 3 - Minutes of last meeting are published. Reference made to Cricket club's letter and an agreement to sanction permission in principle to the fencing ONLY (no shed). A £3k forecast for all playground maintenance; significantly, £10,150 forecast spend on the Maes Ty Gwyn park resurfacing (to be sourced from the s.106 funding according to Gary Jones). Community Council website translation also to cost £2k. An expected deficit of £8339 for the financial year, assuming the sale of land to the Bridge Inn goes through (£15,525).
Agenda for the March meeting is also published - once again, no mention of a slot for the LBSA.
LBSA do not attend council meeting since they were not included on the agenda.
Initial meeting held between LBSA pitch liaison officers Curt Roberts and Mal Gibbs and the preferred ground contractor, DND Groundwork. Initial work is to fill the damaged lines. The rugby and football clubs will transfer funds to the LBSA account, who will be invoiced for all works. Positive meeting had with an agreement to avoid using the field once work commences.
Welsh Government release information on return to play, allowing U18s to return as of March 27. WRU and FAW soon release similar information.
LBSA seek confirmation of pitch budget. Information brought to attention of LBSA that at the council meeting the solar project was discussed. It appears Llanelli Rural Council have reached out and suggested a joined up approach from the three community councils would be the best way to maximise benefit. A lifeline to Llangennech Council to remain at the table. Rumour is that the developer is suggesting a £20k share for each community, drip-fed over 10 years. (£2k per year).
Initial Quote from DND Groundwork for an annual maintenance program - £3002.
Confirmation of Community Council budget received - £5865.
Meeting held at the field with Field Lead Liaison Officer Mal Gibbs, Communications Officer Emyr Williams and LBSA Chairman Phil Willock, to discuss the potential of the facility and the pooling of resources, among other things.
LBSA forward their research on the potential levels of community benefits that might be attainable from the solar development in order for Llangennech council to take to the meeting with Llannon and Llanelli Rural, so they have some idea of a potential starting point. Clerk and councillors were all cc'd.
LBSA advise the council to take up Simon Clement’s offer of a meeting to go through the processes and how things have changed with the S106 funds.
Clerk replies updating on the Solar matter.
Park Field Usage Agreement document is signed and implemented. A historical day in the LBSA calendar!
The Solar Project Developer’s solicitor sends the offer of community benefit (document is referred to as a unilateral undertaking) to Carmarthenshire County Council, copying in the three local councils.
It proposes the following sums to be paid annually to each community, for a 10 year period;
Llangennech & Bryn £2400
Llanelli Rural £2000
Mark Galbraith, clerk of Llanelli Rural Council, acknowledges the offer is disappointing and reaches out to the County Council and the two other affected communities for a joint approach and asks County’s Planning Services Development Management Officer Gary Glenister if that would help.
The Llangennech clerk offers up the Neath Port Talbot council draft guidance document (provided to him directly by the LBSA’s research) claiming “there are interesting facts and figures in the document which would justify the claim that the offer is too low.” He claims he received the document direct from NPT council!
Gary Glenister states that the County Council had asked whether the quantum or the duration were appropriate (as it's a 35-year scheme, not 10-year). He also states he doesn’t understand why CCC are involved in the emailed offer as they are neither signatories nor beneficiaries, but advised that the three communities should group up and strongly put a case forward as to the adequacy of the offer and the duration of the payments. He says the NPT document is a useful guide.
DND Groundworks commence maintenance program on the park sports field. This to include 5 tonne of top soil, levelling, weed spray, cut and fertilizing.
Football Club container at Park is broken into by kids at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon.
LBSA reach agreement with St Mike's school for usage of field for pre-season training.
Llangennech Cricket Club submit proposal for planning for storage building and patio, tree felling to create further storage space and extended boundary fence.
LBSA contact Action CCTV Wales for a quote for surveillance on Llangennech Park in line with recent talks and plans for council to explore the options as a result of reports of underage drinking, anti-social behaviour and vandalism of facilities. Quote of £1900 +VAT.
LBSA erect new rugby posts at the Park, with the field extended by 5 metres.
LBSA approach St Mike's regarding potential link up with Llangennech AFC on a shared field affair. To be followed up in November.
Councillor Gwyneth Thomas emails details of a potential community benefit opportunity from the contractor doing the works on J48 of the M4 (Walters). While there is no monetary offer, the offer of manning and machinery for some civil work may be available. The LBSA feeds back some ideas on what projects might benefit, including the Cae Pown' path project and the ripping up of the derelict tennis court at Llangennech Park.
LBSA receives Council Surveyor's report regarding a proposal for regeneration of the tennis court at Llangennech Park, with request for feedback with regard to a partnership in attaining funding. Ball park quote proposed is for £130k to lay an artificial 3G turf on the current footprint. The council suggests they could have £20k a year expendable to such a project.
Aug 31-Sep 1
Following discussion between members over scheduling, LBSA Field Liaison Officer Curt Roberts is consulted by the relevant Football and Rugby sections to form an LBSA Field schedule plan which he will manage on a monthly basis.
LBSA learns of the plans the council has to install new double gates at the cemetery AND at the car park to Llangennech Park. Tumble Forge (£££) are said to be providing the quote. We believe there has been some confusion over the request for a new shutter to the pavilion porch as opposed to a request for new gate to the car park. This will be brought up in the next council meeting.
Following discussion, the LBSA responds to the tennis court / MUGA proposal. Main points are that a multisport tarmac surface is the way forward and request that the council confirm the £20k funds are available and also query the source of the ball park £130k quote. We also touched upon the progress report with the Walters offer for works.
Council Clerk and Surveyor send initial response to our letter. The £130k was based on hiring 3G surface maintenance equipment, installing permanent floodlighting, electric and water supply from a new storage container and a tarmac path from the pavilion. It states £50k was the amount for a proposal based on mobile lighting and tarmac surface.
Due to a COVID case within the staff at the community centre in Llangennech, the monthly meeting is switched from there on September 14th to Bryn Hall on September 15th.
The monthly meeting is cancelled "based on the fact that up to half the Councillors would not be able to physically attend the meeting and it unclear whether a combined physical/remote meeting can be arranged in sufficient time". Suggestions by some Councillors to schedule a remote meeting later in month.
Requests for remote meeting turned down by clerk and chair. Aside from an emergency situation. Next meeting shall be on October 11.
Request for feedback on return to use of Pavilion changing rooms. No reply.
Follow up request for response on changing rooms. Clerk states he is awaiting reply from County Council Enforcement Team, followed by a request for a detailed Risk Assessment, along with a comment about serious concerns about shower use due to ventilation. LBSA respond with detailed Risk document.
Following some positive feedback from councillors on the Risk document, and developments that the Football Club raised with regard to issues for the WWFA Cup tie at the weekend, a follow up email was sent to appeal to councillors to arrive at a decision. Cncllr Lynda Morgan responds by asking the Clerk to allow the Pavilion to be used.
Sep 30-Oct 1
The clerk to the council, Wyn Evans, airs his views (sounds like he has been guided by the council surveyor on some points). This includes that the LBSA could access the changing room but no showers due to poor ventilation of many people showering becoming a hazard due to warm moisture particle transition, for the cleaner and Cylch Meithrin. He also stated that Carmarthenshire have a high rate of Covid particularly in youngsters. He suggests shower use is re-vistied "at a later date".
Following sharing and discussing the information with members, the LBSA thank councillors and challenge some of the points made. Main points surrounded the following:
Welsh Gov places us at Level Zero; so if not now, then when?
Carms County has a high rate, but all other Carms clubs continue to use showers.
"Poor ventilation" is mentioned. What is the council measuring the ventilation issue against, or comparing it to?
Repercussions for clubs who won't be able to offer showers to away sides as hosts as time goes by.
Council urged to hold an urgent vote.
LBSA is told that a conversation was had between Council Chair the and the clerk, where the clerk conveyed his main concerns surrounded the legal obligation of a duty of care to protect the employees and Cylch Meithrin and there would be no negotiation on them compromising that. The LBSA feel that this is overly-cautious stance since the rest of society has returned to some normality. LBSA set out to discuss this with said Caretaker and Meithrin staff to gain statements of support in order to at least trial the use of showers as well as changing rooms at weekends. Also discussions about solutions to venting issues, which remain difficult to quantify without the details to which the council arrive at the opinion that ventilation is poor.
Council clerk does not respond officially to any points raised in the LBSA's email.
Clerk sends agenda for next meeting of the council, scheduled for 12/10/21.
LBSA attend the council meeting questioning the validity of any evidence and basis of their stance and suggesting solutions (such as mechanical ventilation systems, CO2 monitors) to the shower use issues. Following some discussion and justification from the LBSA of the importance of the matter, it was decided to speak to Cylch Meithrin, the Caretaker and install a barrier to section off two sides of the building. One for Sport clubs, other for Meithrin.
The following queries were also put to the council, this being their first meeting since early July:
Progress on Walters M4 J48 Contractor community benefits? Gwyneth Thomas to follow up, since they've not spoken since the initial meeting in July.
Progress on Blaenhiraeth Solar Farm community funding? Lee Waters AM issued a letter declaring his involvement, and we await feedback.
Cae Pownd redirection of path - does it have to be the more expensive asphalt option? Surveyor states to avoid complaints from residents in wheelchairs, it should be asphalt and not a compacted gravel. Councillors suggest LBSA cover cost of removal and labour and the council pay to resurface - Surveyor did not appear in favour of such an idea. It remains on the list of suggestions made to pursue with Walters anyway.
Query about rumours that the Council were looking to fund replacement of the car park gates? It was confirmed by the Surveyor that the gates require replacing (despite not being in any minutes or agenda of any previous council meetings). LBSA suggest it is surely not a priority. Surveyor suggests its the councillors who decide on what should be prioritised.
The north porch Grill Gate on Pavilion entry, which has been recognised as being broken for 5 years now, is this to be replaced? Surveyor confirms it does need replacing. LBSA suggest to councillors that perhaps it is something they could contribute to from any money they can save from the maintenance budget if there was no objection from councillors. Councillors appear to be very agreeable. Surveyor overrules the idea and, alongside the Clerk, suggests the building budget remain a council matter. LBSA suggest then if a sponsor was willing to donate such a product and service to fit it, then would the councillors be open to such an idea. Again, some councillors appear to nod in approval however the Surveyor laughed it off, saying that he "understood what we were suggesting" but that the building maintenance should remain a matter for the council to manage. LBSA explains again, in order to have full clarity that the council would refuse on savings for such costs. The Surveyor speaks on behalf of the councillors in refusing such an idea.
A query was raised about the potential Sport Wales funding available to the LBSA for a fence to protect the field, by which point the Surveyor is growing tired of answering LBSA questions, avoids the subject and implies that the charity should concentrate efforts on bringing the MUGA idea to fruition as a priority. LBSA made clear the MUGA was a priority for the council, not necessarily so much for the LBSA while other issues remain prevalent for the community at the park. Surveyor goes on to suggest an agreement needs to be negotiated about the council part of funding towards such a project. LBSA makes clear that they've already stated that there is potentially £20k per year for the next 3 years for project match funding from the council.
The main issue was the shower use, and the Clerk puts a further 2 week timescale to discuss with the Meithrin and Caretaker.
A steam barrier be installed to segregate both sides of the building
Changing facilities to be transferred accordingly to Youth Club storage area
Youth Club items in storage to be moved to the changing rooms (!??)
Entrance to Cylch Meithrin to be restricted to the fire exit and the door at the south side
Caretaker to avoid entry to sports area for 4 days after last shower use, and then only in full PPE
Clubs to maintain a register of all entrants and their phone numbers, with any infections to be reported
Clubs to adhere to the restrictions and measures in the LBSA Risk Assessment submitted on Sep 28
Situation to be reviewed in New Year
Sharing the information, it is confirmed by Cylch employees that the door/barrier was completed this morning. Email sent to Clerk to confirm how imminent the showers will be allowed to be used, and ask whether the storage of Youth Club items in changing room is indeed a temporary measure.
Clerk confirms usage can start immediately and that the storage is a temporary measure. Info communicated to clubs.
Walters M4 J48 Contractor community benefits - Cncllr Gwyneth Thomas' follow up reveals that they had considered Llangennech community's requests but, will not be offering any support. The email states;
"Unfortunately, due to the resources that Walters have already committed to community benefits in the community around Hendy and Llanedi they don’t feel that they have the time, materials or manpower to carry out any further community projects between now and the end of the J48 upgrade in December."
Hendy meanwhile have had extensive groundworks done to their Community Ground / Nature Trail and the site of their proposed new Community Centre at the old Cricket Club.
Cncllr Ian Williams provides a lead to a grant funding pot from South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership (£300 to £1000).