Plaid Cymru promise skate park of ‘national significance’ as they launch Carmarthenshire manifesto
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A skate park of “national significance”, social care academy and an overhaul of Carmarthenshire’s network of primary and secondary schools are among the aspirations and pledges of Plaid Cymru ahead of the local Government elections in May.
The party, which has run the council with the Independent group since 2015, said it will continue to campaign against what it termed exploitation by multinational companies which bought food-producing land to plant trees on in order to offset their carbon emissions.
Its manifesto focuses on eight key areas. On health and social care it said it will create an academy to provide a career path for carers, including professional development and training for young recruits leaving school. It also pledged to double the number of staff it helped to gain a social work degree.
Plaid said it will expand supported accommodation for elderly people who are medically fit to leave hospital but who need help before resuming their normal life. A new children’s home, it added, will be opened for Carmarthenshire children with complex needs.
The party said it would offer a warm welcome to Ukrainian refugees, provide them with the services they need and inform of vacancies in sectors with severe staff shortages.
Here are some of the other pledges and aspirations, some of which are already being delivered or have been agreed, in the manifesto.
– Develop the £199 million Pentre Awel wellness and life science village at Delta Lakes, Llanelli, maximising the benefits for local businesses and people. New retail sites also to be created in the town.
– New community hub at the former Debenhams in Carmarthen, along with improving the town’s evening economy. Redesign of open spaces and some streets in Ammanford, plus expansion of the weekly market.
– Push forward with growth plans for 10 rural towns and surrounding areas, including Llandovery, Kidwelly and St Clears, and more emphasis on buying local.
Education and children’s services:
– Invest in school buildings, increase school attendance rates and make the county’s network of nursery, primary and secondary schools more fit for the future via an overhaul of a policy called the Modernising Education Programme.
– Help pupils understand their local history and culture as part of a rounded curriculum which seeks to raise educational standards.
– Help keep children at home with their families and out of the care system wherever possible, and provide extra resources for foster carers.
Environment and transport:
– Introduce kerbside glass and nappy collection and collect blue bags weekly to help increase recycle rate to 70%.
– Increase biodiversity on all council-owned land, install more solar panels on council buildings, and speed up the roll-out of electric vehicle charging points.
– Press central Government for a direct fast train service from Cardiff to Carmarthen and further west, and lobby for a feasibility study for a rail line and cycle route along the Gwendraeth Valley.
– Continue with plans to deliver more than 2,000 mixed tenure affordable homes, including 900 council houses over the next five years, in part to encourage young people stay in the county.
– Lobby the Welsh Government on its phosphate pollution regulations which Plaid said are holding back the development of new housing in certain areas.
Leisure and heritage:
– Consider a skateboard park of national significance and BMX pump track in Llanelli, build a new all-weather pitch at Ammanford and consider a swimming pool option for the town.
– Press on with the £19 million Carmarthen to Llandeilo cycle route, and consider potential new ones on disused railway lines such as the Cardi Bach line north of Whitland.
– Develop Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen as the West Wales Arts Centre, and open the new county archives in the town’s King Street.
– Make it easier to convert redundant farm buildings into homes or workshops for local people.
– Investigate partnership work to open a milk processing plant to cut the carbon footprint and keep the Carmarthenshire pound in the county, and help village halls expand their services, such as a community cafe.
Carmarthenshire Labour is in the process of publishing six key pledges ahead of the May 5 elections.
Voters in Carmarthenshire will choose 75 councillors – one more than currently – in 51 wards. This followed a review by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales.
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