Special Report: Alan Evans and Iwan Lewis
LOCAL residents have again raised their concerns following the appearance of diggers and workmen at the proposed site for Ysgol Dewi Sant on Llanerch Field.
Campaigners also raised concerns that construction workers and machines were on site at a time when the consultation process is taking place and no firm decisions on the school have been made.
Our reporter Iwan Lewis visited the field and saw a number of men working at the site. He reported seeing a bowser, a JCB and some vans carrying the company logo for Quantum.
We have reported on the activity of Quantum at the site on previous occasions. They are generally concerned with test drilling and have carried out tests on the site during the last year. Quantum Energy Engineering Service offers a wide range of services for engineering, drilling, environmental and geotechnical site investigation and remediation.
Campaigners claim that neither residents nor local councillors have been informed of the work taking place. We contacted Cllr Rob James and Cllr Shahana Najmi. Cllr James said: “I have not been contacted regarding work taking place on the site. I have written to the Chief Executive to ask how exploratory work can begin when there is a village green application on-going.”
Cllr Najmi said: ”Passing through the ward, I noticed work happening on the Llanerch fields. I contacted Jan Williams town councillor for the ward to make a site visit on speaking to one of the representative of Andrew Scott, we were told that Carmarthenshire County Council had informed all local councillors that there would be work carried out today to find out about the suitability of the land for building Dewi Sant school.
“As you can imagine, this came as a surprise to both myself and Jan as neither one of us were aware of this. On speaking to Rob James, another county councillor for the ward, he too was not aware that the work would be carried out today.
“This once again highlights the underhanded tactic of Carmarthenshire County Council. I am very disappointed that despite over 650 letters of objection being sent in protest to Asbry Planning in the pre-planning application process, Carmarthenshire County Council have still continued with the work.
“When are they going to listen to the people who use the green space on a regular basis. It is on their development plan, a green space and can not be developed.”
Members of Carmarthenshire Unified Sports Committee said: “According to the men working at the site all councillors were informed.
“Is this school a foregone conclusion? Who sent the letters to the councillors because the Lliedi councillors didn’t receive them? We have asked Llanelli Town Council to put an asset transfer request in for Llanerch in light of this and the letter from the League stating that Llanerch is needed.
“We are meeting with Cllr James and Cllr Najmi next week to discuss this. Kev and I are meeting with Rob and Shahana next week to discuss this and the resignation of Jeff Edmunds.”
“The CUSC have passed information onto Jeff Edmunds and it hasn’t been acted on.
“We fought to rid Llanelli of Plaid Cymru so that Labour can fight these issues. Jeff Edmunds has done nothing. Unpaid volunteers are doing all the fighting, we need a voice.
“We want politicians that will fight for this town and it’s people.”
Cllr James and Cllr Najmi have stated that they are not aware of any meeting to discuss the resignation of Cllr Edmunds.
We contacted Cllr Jeff Edmunds regarding the comments made by CUSC. Cllr Edmunds said; “We have always supported the asset transfer of Llanerch Field. I have been told there is a legal process ongoing. We have worked with the sports associations in Llanelli Town. We have done a great job of subleasing pitches out. I gave a commitment to them that Llanelli Town Council will take on the assets, which we have done. Llanerch Field was part of that. The county council are in the process of transfering the assets but did not give us Llanerch. We are for a new school but we are not part of the administration. We have asked the county council to look at other sites. ”
Campaigner Sharon Burdess took to Facebook to post: “So much for Carmarthenshire County Council’s Core Policies…..Treating people and the environment with respect. Improving the quality of life for people whilst protecting the environment. 667 people wrote to Asbri planning not to use open green space to build a the school and this is happening this morning.”
Speaking to Llanelli Online she said: “Carmarthenshire County Council’s Core Policies are: Treating people and the environment with respect. Improving the quality of life for people whilst protecting the environment, but they are going against this by planning to build on a Llanerch recreation area. I spoke to the contractors this morning and they said they were surveying ‘love’ and they couldn’t tell me what it was for.”
Some residents have raised concerns that there was no caging or fencing and that there was a risk to children and animals.
We contacted Carmarthenshire County Council for a comment. County executive board member for education, Cllr Glynog Davies: “The works, which started this week, are part of the ongoing site investigation by the authority for the new Ysgol Dewi Sant School. The work was commissioned by the council’s property division.”
The works include a mix of machine and hand excavated trial pits and soakaway testing. The excavation of the trial trenches are being supervised by an experienced engineering geologist. The trenches will not be left unattended. Upon completion of the tests, which is expected by the end of next week, the excavations will be backfilled with topsoil and turf replaced.