Division of communities: The ‘Berlin Wall’ divides East and West communities of Sandy Rd and Stradey Park

IT has become known locally as the ‘Berlin Wall’. A rusty steel structure, which has been erected at the rear of the new Taylor Wimpey – Stradey Park Development. The issue has been well documented here on Llanelli Online.

To the East of the wall is Sandy Road and their modest traditional homes. To the West of the wall are the new luxury homes and what residents have now called ‘Table Mountain’ a mountain of earth shoved back to within feet of their homes at a height above many of the roofs of their rear garages.

In the latest saga involving the wall residents contacted Llanelli Online to complain that following the heavy rain as a result of Storm Callum the whole lane bordering the wall now known as ‘East Sandy’ has been flooded. Residents are claiming that this has been the worst flooding of the lane that they have ever seen and they are confident in their claims that it is as a direct result of the ‘Berlin Wall’ which to the East holds water back and to the West allows water to flow through.

Ray Jones is a long time campaigner and contributor to Llanelli Online’s letters pages. He has been monitoring the ‘Berlin Wall’ from the East and claims that the wall was built without planning permission.

Wanting the Berlin Wall to come down: Ray Jones of ‘East of the Berlin Wall’.

In Ray’s own words from East Sandy despatches he says: “Nobody can say that last weekend was a once in a life time event as global warming will ensure that these events are far more frequent. Taylor Wimpey’s ‘Berlin Wall’, built without Planning Permission which affects a private lane (Stradey Estate) and goes on to affect Sandy Road residents by flooding their garages and gardens.

“The wall should not have been built without planning permission and is the reason planning permission was not applied for, was that it would have been refused.  Even the look of the wall is unacceptable, it has caused massive disruption already including;

(a) telegraph post having to be moved out of the way to the other side of the lane, with days of interrupted communications being cut off.

(b) extensive damage to the sewers and endangering the safety of the Welsh Water workforce with the force of the pilled up earth ‘Table Mountain’ pressing forward and the threat on the wall falling in on the workforce, restricting access from the garages of several residents as the wall trespassed further towards their properties and narrowing the lane.

(c) a visiting council official stated last Friday that the council could do nothing because it was “private land” – Stradey Estate lane and finally, an honest comment from Taylor Wimpey that ‘the wall is never going to be taken down, but might have a coating over the steel’.

Looking for answers: Residents enlist the help of their MP Nia Griffith

“We are all now well aware of the situation, or is this a situation of  ‘we can’t influence the council’ but we can say that ‘we have campaigned for it’s removal, failed, but at least we have ticked the boxes’.

“We are now going to report the matter to the Public Services Ombudsman. We look forward to the excuses of failure.”

Watch the video of the ‘Berlin Wall’ waterfall here.

Sandy Road from Llanelli Online on Vimeo.

We contacted Carmarthenshire County Council and asked:

Were you aware of the intent by the developers to build the steel wall at the rear of Sandy Rd?

Have environmental health officers or planning officers visited the site recently to assess the problem caused by the wall and water running off the new development?

Will the council be investigating the complaint?

What legal requirements does the council have in place to ensure the developer complies with planning conditions and has the council reviewed whether the developer is compliant since planning was approved?

Will any officers be visiting the site to make an inspection of the wall?

Llinos Quelch, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Head of Planning, said: “The lane behind Sandy Road that’s being referred to is not owned by the council. It’s privately owned, so we don’t have responsibility for it.

“We will, however, ask officers in our flood defence and coastal protection team to look into the issue of surface water in the lane to establish how it can best be resolved.

“As a planning enforcement investigation into the housing development is ongoing, it’d be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

We also contacted Taylor Wimpey and asked:

Have you had full planning permission to build the wall to the rear of the Stradey Park Development?

Do you consider the wall to be in keeping with the natural surroundings?

Have you any concerns regarding the seepage of water or sewage or any other detritus from your site onto the lane at Sandy Road?

Did you consult with residents before building the wall?

Have Taylor Wimpey built a wall of this kind on any other housing estate in Wales?

Given the water is flooding nearby properties will Taylor Wimpey be investigating as a matter of urgency and will Taylor Wimpey be offering compensation to those residents affected by the water seeping from the site?

Have you acted upon any complaints received from residents of Sandy Rd to date?

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “The retaining structure at our Parc Y Strade development in Llanelli has been built in line with planning permission granted by Carmarthenshire County Council. We are already working with those residents affected by the flooding, which happened over the weekend due to excess water and unprecedented weather conditions in the area, raising groundwater levels significantly.”

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