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Milestone reached at Yr Egin

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THE CONSTRUCTION of Yr Egin – the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s new digital and media centre – reached a milestone on September 18 with a ‘topping out’ ceremony held on the site in Carmarthen.

The practice of ‘topping out’ is a tradition in the construction industry and celebrates a significant point in the construction phase when the building reaches its highest point.

During the ceremony held at the top of the building, Professor Medwin Hughes DL, UWTSD’s Vice Chancellor was joined by key partners in this exciting initiative including Ian Jones, S4C Chief Executive; Steve Nicholls from Kier Group; Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader and Mark James, Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council; as well as representation from the Welsh Government, which has provided £3million funding towards the new centre.

“Today is a very important milestone in the construction of the Yr Egin development,” said Professor Hughes. “The building has reached its highest point and clearly indicates the realisation of the University’s exciting and bold vision to develop a creative and digital cluster that will greatly benefit the county, the region and the creative industries across Wales.

“Co-locating a range of creative, digital and cultural practitioners within the same building – with S4C at its core as the main anchor tenant – will create opportunities, encourage innovation and enable job creation in this key priority sector.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is an ambitious and transformational development that will be home to S4C’s main headquarters as well as a number of companies and organisations working with the creative and digital industries.

S4C Chief Executive Ian Jones said: “With just over a year to go until we relocate our headquarters to Canolfan S4C Yr Egin today is a significant milestone.

“Seeing Yr Egin take shape underlines our commitment to ensuring that S4C will have offices in three locations across Wales by the end of 2018.

“Our internal preparations for the move to Carmarthen are well underway and we look forward to the prospect of creating numerous employment opportunities from the first quarter of 2018 onwards.”

The design of the 3,700 square metre building has already received the support of the Design Commission for Wales with the internal layout of the building focused around a public foyer and atrium that overarches the three floors. There will be a specific focus on the broadcasting and performance on the ground floor, with a range of offices for S4C and other partners on the other two floors. The University will also create new enterprise incubation units, offering access to opportunities, facilities, events and industry networks.

Regional construction company Kier Group Plc are the main contractors for Canolfan S4C yr Egin and are responsible for managing the construction of the new centre. The company’s Operations Director, Jason Taylor praised the project team for the hard work and progress they had made: “It has been a real pleasure to meet the university staff, the anchor tenant S4C and local councillors today to show them around the site. The project is gathering momentum and taking shape allowing us all to visualise the flagship Yr Egin building with its surrounding featured landscapes.

“Collaborative working relationships is a core part of the success of this project and a shared ethos between UWTSD, S4C and Kier. Throughout the construction process we have been working hard with our local supply chain partners to provide employment and up skilling opportunities. The project is also being utilised as a learning initiative for local schools and colleges.

“I would like to personally thank our site team for their efforts to ensure that the roof was complete for this ‘topping out’ celebration which enables them to progress internal works heading for completion. Kier are very proud to be part of this project and we look forward to seeing the completion of this creative Welsh digital hub in 2018.”

Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates said: “Once complete this new facility will help to deliver the infrastructure needed to support the University’s vision of a cluster of creative businesses in Carmarthen. This in turn will help to inject new life into the local economy, bring additional and high quality jobs to Carmarthen and enhance Wales’ growing reputation as an enabler of talent, imagination and productivity. It also supports our wider commitment to promoting Welsh as a living and vibrant language and will help cement links between academia and creative businesses.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is a development that will transform and shape the creative and digital industries in South West Wales and beyond. It will also be a centre that will be at the heart of the community providing opportunities for local people to enjoy the building and its resources – a cafe, auditorium and performance stages.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “From winning the S4C contract to securing the City Deal investment, the Yr Egin development is well on track and we’re excited to be part of the journey.

“This is a fantastic development for the whole of the Swansea Bay City Region, especially so in Carmarthenshire, with the creation of exciting new jobs in the creative sector that I’m sure will act as a catalyst for further opportunities.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin’s design team is a partnership between the Rural Office for Architecture (ROA), a company based in Newcastle Emlyn, and BDP (Building Design Partnership), an international company of architects, engineers and designers, with local architect, Niall Maxwell leading on the project.
The building will be complete by next summer.

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Archaeological sites revealed in drought

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Iron Age farm near Whitland (pic. RCAHMW)

AN AERIAL ARCHAEOLOGIST has photographed ancient settlements from the air after the heatwave has revealed outlines as crop marks.

Dr Toby Driver, Senior Aerial Investigator, uses a light aircraft to find sites, flying from Haverfordwest Airport with stopovers made for fuel at Caernarfon, Welshpool or even Gloucester airports.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) has released photographs from Dr Driver’s discoveries.

Iron Age farmsteads has been discovered near Whitland in Carmarthenshire and coastal Ceredigion. The Llŷn peninsula has extensive crop marks of prehistoric enclosures, as well as a Bronze Age barrow cemetery.

In Gwynedd, another Celtic settlement has been found on the valley floor between the hillfort Craig yr Aderyn and the castle ruins of Castell y Bere.

A suspected Roman watchtower was also revealed on the nearby coast. Parch marks of Roman buildings are showing at Caerhun Roman fort in Conwy Valley, whilst crop marks of a prehistoric enclosure and a suspected Roman villa were found in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Iron Age farmstead in Ceredigion (pic. RCAHMW)

A Roman town and fortress between Caerwent and Caerleon have also appeared in the dry conditions.

Dr Driver said: “I’ve not seen conditions like this since I took over the archaeological flying at the Royal Commission in 1997. So much new archaeology is showing it is incredible; the urgent work in the air now will lead to months of research in the office in the winter months to map and record all the sites which have been seen, and reveal their true significance.”

The marks are the result of vegetation feeding on better nutrients and water supplies, that have been trapped in the old fortification ditches.

This leads to the lush green growth that results in the pronounced outlines of the prior settlements.

Despite this, the vegetation can quickly retreat as the weather changes.

This research is expected to prompt further research on the ground in the future.

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Welsh Water advises customers to use water wisely

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WELSH WATER is encouraging its three million customers to continue working with the company by using water wisely – even though it may soon start to rain. After such prolonged dry weather, it will be difficult for any rain to penetrate the ground and help restore reservoir levels.

The company – which provides drinking water to most of Wales, Herefordshire and parts of Deeside – is safeguarding water supplies following the hottest June in Wales since records began in 1910.

It has been proactively taking measures for the last two months to prepare for the hot weather, with 450 colleagues finding and repairing leaks and its 62 water treatment works being manned 24 hours a day to help supply a record 1 billion litres a day.

The company confirmed that a few of its 87 reservoirs are now lower than usual at this time of year but said this is to be expected given the prolonged dry weather. It will take some time for these reservoirs to recover to their normal levels, despite the expected rain over the next week.

Managing Director of Water Services Ian Christie, said: “Over the last few months, we have taken and will continue to take all the necessary actions to ensure there is enough water in our network during this very dry period.   We’ve done a lot of groundwork in the background to prepare for this weather and still doing everything we can to safeguard supplies. This includes finding and fixing leaks and putting more water in the network every day than ever before.

“It’s really important that our customers continue to work with us during this period. If they spot a leak, please let us know. We’re also asking them to think about how much water they are using.

We want everyone to stay safe and drink water while it’s hot but we’re reminding everyone of the need to use water wisely and efficiently.

“Customers may notice that some reservoir levels are lower than usual but this isn’t a surprise given this continuing dry weather.  We are all using more water and we’re putting 20% more water into the system. This is helping us meet higher demand in particular communities. We are also using our own fleet of over 30 tankers to help.

“Even if the weather starts to turn and it rains, it’s important that customers continue to work with us and use any water efficiently.  Customers can get advice on our top ten tips of how to use water efficiently around the home and garden from our website, dwrcymru.com

Customers can also help by reporting any leaks as soon as they notice them either through our website or by calling our leak line on 0800 052 0130. Our teams are out and about working around the clock fixing leaks on the network to make sure as much water as possible is available for customers to use.

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Chance to join team of volunteers as a public enquiry officer

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is offering the chance to join its dedicated team of volunteers as the face of police stations across the force.

More than 100 volunteers currently dedicate some of their spare time to various roles in the police – from Special Constables and cadets, to chaplains and victim support officers.

And the force is now opening up the position of public enquiry officer (PEO) to its list of volunteering opportunities for the first time.

PEOs are needed at stations across the force, and will provide support to officers and staff for up to eight hours a week.

They will deal with enquiries from members of the public, police officers and staff in person and over the phone; receive, record and process enquiries relating to lost and found property; and support designated property officers at the station they are based in.

They will also be required to monitor station security and CCTV where applicable; ensure visitors are correctly recorded; and provide general administration and support.

Volunteers will not be expected to open or close stations – they will only be on duty when an officer is at the station.

Superintendent Robyn Mason, force lead for citizens in policing, said: “We have close links with our communities across Dyfed-Powys, and we would like to strengthen these by having volunteers based at some of our stations.

“The new volunteer PEOS will provide a vital link between the force and the towns we serve, and will act as the face of Dyfed-Powys Police in the station they are based.

“In return, we will be providing new skills and experience to our volunteers, who might be looking to apply for employment in the future, taking a career break or looking to give back during their retirement years.”

For an application form, email volunteers@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk or phone Citizens in Policing coordinator Adele Jones on 01267 226463

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