Dear Editor,

I would like to formally and kindly ask that you award me a right of reply to the article posted on Llanelli Online on the 28th of August 2020.

There are several points that I maintain to be factually incorrect or points that deserve a right of reply.

i) The article suggests that I have been “exploiting my position, breaching  planning rules, and operating with conflicts of interest as a councillor”. I believe I ought to be entitled to a right of reply for this unfounded claim. For the record, we have been discussing this project with the Carmarthen County Council planning officers from the outset. There is no need for planning for the removal of a small length of hedge for the opening of a gate-way onto an unclassified road.

ii) Locals claim a car was damaged during the work – no such damage was done and no contact has been made by any car owner.

iii) The details included in the quote of an ‘un-named local resident’ is also incorrect. No grant whatsoever has been received linked to this venture and certainly did not compete with a farm in a neighbouring village.

iv) As the crow flies, the land is approximately one mile from the farm yard. The majority of the cattle winter feed comes from these fields. Cattle were regularly seen grazing these fields until threats were received to ‘shoot livestock on the fields’. Police were involved with this incidence. These fields are very much an integral and long established part of Goitre Fach farm.

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v) This vending machine is not positioned on the ”busy A4138” as suggested, but on an unclassified dead-end road. There is ample turning points along the road.

We have been in discussion with a county employee, from the food standard agency, and the next step is to arrange an inspection date.

vi) The suggestion that a change of field use from agricultural to commercial is also untrue. The farms main enterprise is dairy, and selling milk is our main income. The land is still being used to produce and sell milk. It is my understanding that the Welsh Government is supportive of such farm-gate local sales; it is a source of diversification, while reducing food miles, uses re-usable glass bottles to help the environment as well as supporting the youth in Agriculture.

Diolch,

Cllr. Gareth B Thomas

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