David Jones used to work at the legendary home of The Scarlets at Stradey Park. It was a five minute walk from his home on Sandy Road. He enjoyed the views over the Stradey area from his back garden. So much so that he applied to put a modest conservatory at the rear of his home. The council he claims decided not to approve his plans as the roof was not in keeping with the area.
Fast forward a few years and David is standing in a lane facing a 7ft high steel rust coloured fence spanning the equivalent length of Sandy Road and looking up onto a 12 ft high plateau, which when finished will be the rear gardens of the new homes, which will have been built on the former Stradey Park rugby ground by Taylor Wimpey Homes.
David is quietly spoken, one cannot detect a shred of anger but he and others are they say, fed up with what they claim are developers ‘running riot’ and ‘getting away with murder’.
David is joined by Ray Jones (no relation). Ray is known locally for the ferocity of his campaigns on local issues such as pollution, increased traffic and the Stradey Development. Ray was one of many who warned of the apocalyptic consequences of building so many homes on a flood plain in an area where the infrastructure for sewage and traffic was he claimed already at breaking point.
Both men are joined by Nia Griffith MP on a sunny April morning with the construction site in full operational mode with heavy machines pulling back the earth to form these gardens in the sky. Drills pierce the ground and send dirty water high into the sky and onto the surrounding area. Construction debris litters the area and the rats are at play.
The lane in which they are all standing is a mass of large potholes containing the blackest dirtiest water and there is a smell of raw sewage. Dave directs us to a back door of a property where he lifts the lid of a manhole. It is also overflowing with the blackest water. This he says is as a result of a severed sewer main.
We have to move as a car traverses along the lane, which both Ray and Dave claim has become more frequent as motorists use the lane as a rat run to avoid the queueing traffic on Sandy Road.
After sharing their concerns with Nia Griffith they head for the main road along another treacherous piece of lane peppered with potholes filled with dirty water.
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It’s the school holidays and the main road is still in full flow with traffic backing up onto the roundabout. The smell of pollution is heavy in the air. To cross this road would be to take one’s life in one’s hand.
The MP makes the point that more homes are planned and that short term solutions need to be found to counter the pollution levels. We ask the MP what can be done for Ray and David and the residents of Sandy Road.
Apart from continuing to make the complaints and pursuing the council and developers to put things right, she says that there isn’t a lot more that can be done as the planning system allows the continual development of land for housing.
Ray and David say that they are not going to go away and that they will continue to campaign. “It is O.K. for people to say that we need new homes and that we should sell and move if we don’t like it. But look at that lot” Ray says as he points to the bulldozers, drills and mountain of earth edging ever closer to their homes. “Who on Earth would want to buy our homes now?”
Llanelli Online contacted Dwr Cymru, Carmarthenshire County Council and Taylor Wimpey Homes. We asked them to provide a statement on the claims being made by the residents and asked if any measures were going to be put in place to remedy the alleged problems.
A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “We were made aware of possible third-party damage to our sewer on Sandy Road in Llanelli on Tuesday, 3 April. We sent a team to examine the area and we are carrying out further investigations to establish the cause.
“We have been using tankers to maintain services to customers while we carry out this work – and will continue to do so until we resolve the situation.”
A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said: “All works at our Parc y Strade development in Llanelli, including the raising of ground levels, are undertaken in line with the approved planning consent and any relevant agreements entered into with statutory bodies.
“Our proposals were carefully considered by the relevant authorities, including Natural Resources Wales and Carmarthenshire County Council, before planning permission was granted.
“We will work with Welsh Water if there any issues with the on site sewerage system.”
We had not received a response from the County Council at the time of publication.