Calling for planning officers to investigate the mess at the Stradey Development: Ray Jones

Residents in Sandy Road have called for a full investigation into the Stradey Park Development by Carmarthenshire County Council planning enforcement officers into what they see as numerous breaches of planning policy. The residents are claiming that the levels of the new development are higher than were indicated on original plans. Llanelli Online went to visit the site on Saturday (Apr 28) and we spoke to long time local resident and campaigner Ray Jones.

Ray showed us the site plans, which clearly show a shallow slope from the development to a low wall backing onto the lane at Sandy Road. The reality he says is a 22 foot high solid wall of earth sloping down to a 12ft  fence. This he says ‘dangerous’ and ‘madness’

Ray told Llanelli Online that the reality is that they (Taylor Wimpey) have created a dangerous situation for residents with a wall bearing so much pressure. Ray Said: “If they have to do more repairs on the sewer, which is inevitable, they will have to dig down and as we have seen so far, specialist equipment will be needed to hold back that wall. The fear is that it will collapse. We as residents will have to foot the bill to Dwr Cymru. Taylor Wimpey will have long gone.”

On Wednesday (May 2) Ray Jones wrote: “I have attached photos taken today of contractors “shoring up” the “Berlin Wall” in order for Welsh Water to come and repair the latest fracture in the sewer and then we shall see what happens next.

The Contractors said today that over the last few days lorries have been taking earth away from within the development and a huge mound left is also to be taken away.

The Berlin Wall has been been reduced and cut to around 4 feet in some areas, so I take it they are not going to remove it, even though according to the plan I have also attached the earth level should run down a gentle slope to lane level and they intend placing a 3.6 metre wooden wall on top of the wall as shown..

There has been a “breach of conditions” but are the Council going to ignore it?

The scenario (which I will repeat) is once the site is complete and Taylor Wimpey are gone, should Welsh Water have to return to the lane to repair any sewer / drain fault, once the dig down the Berlin Wall will collapse due to the weight of the earth behind it and injure or kill the workforce.

Nia Griffith MP has written to Dwr Cymru expressing her concerns. The letter reads as follows:

Thank you for your update email to my office about the sewer repairs in the back lane behind the houses on the north side of Sandy Road.

I am very concerned that you do not seem to be considering renewing the whole sewer – if it was not obvious from the outset and the first damaged section that there would be likely to be more than one damaged section, then I would have thought that should have become obvious when the second damaged section was identified.

My fear is that after the second repair is done next week – that it will only be a matter of time before further damage is identified, either as a direct result of the current earthworks in the lane, or as a combination of weaknesses exacerbated by the earth movements combined with the increased load on this sewer from the new housing estate – I am sure that I do not need to remind you that there have been problems here before.

A proper full replacement sewer – with consideration given to whether it needs to have greater capacity – could be money well-spent now to save money in the future.

My real worry is that, if there is not a proper replacement job done now, then residents will constantly be facing similar problems – which I know that you would agree with me is simply NOT ACCEPTABLE.

I would be grateful if you could give this your urgent consideration.

We contacted Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning department and asked the following questions:

We understand that enforcement officers are visiting Sandy Rd this morning. Could you tell us what their visit is regarding? We have been shown plans of the site, which to our limited expertise show that the landscape leading up to the lane is at significantly higher levels than those on the approved plans.

If this is the case will your enforcement officers be asking the developer to rectify it?

There appears to be a clear problem with the sewage system. Although we understand that this is not your remit, the plans did not show a 14ft steel fence, 7ft of which is buried in the ground. We are told that another fence will be placed on top of the steel wall making a fence of approximately 12ft high. We do know the regulations of what height a fence can legally be. Will your enforcement officers be ensuring that the developer sticks to legal limitations on fencing?

Llinos Quelch, head of planning said: “I can confirm that we have initiated enforcement investigations regarding the boundary and site levels and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

We also contacted Dwr Cymru and asked:

Hi We are writing an article on Sandy Rd in Llanelli. We would be grateful if you could provide the following information. Why has it taken so long to make the repairs to the sewer line at the rear of Sandy Road? Do you anticipate there being any more damages as a result of the fence, which has been driven into the ground along the lane? Are you aware of any other lines crossing the new development and possible damage? Will Dwr Cymru be able to access and repair any damage when the development is complete given the scale of the work we have seen so far?

A spokesperson for Welsh Water said:

“We need to carry out a repair to the sewer pipe which runs at the rear of Sandy Road after it was damaged by a third party.

“Before we can carry out the repair, Taylor Wimpey need to enable us with access via an area of soil which has been stacked next to the sewer. Unfortunately, this is taking longer than expected to complete due to safety constraints and the poor weather conditions.

“Latest estimates suggest that this will be completed in the next few days, which should allow us to access the pipe and carry out the necessary repair by the end of the week.

“We are continuing to carry out daily inspections of the pipe to monitor its condition and are also tankering wastewater away to maintain services to customers. We’ve been updating local residents and stakeholders to keep them informed.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this may be causing, and are doing everything we can to complete the work as soon as possible.”

Sandy Road Planning from Llanelli Online on Vimeo.

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