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 fertilising.