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Quay development plans revealed

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The Ethos Building in Swa nsea

The Ethos Building in Swa nsea

PLANS for a new office development on Carmarthen Quay were revealed at an Executive Board meeting on Monday (Nov 30).

The Swansea-based Ethos Group made ‘an unsolicited approach’ to Carmarthenshire County Council, seeking to develop the area where the Quay Centre currently stands.

The future of the Quay Centre is currently uncertain; one of the proposals in the budget consultation is to review youth services provision at the centre, which according to CCC’s website, hosts drop-in centres for the young unemployed and is the base for Carmarthenshire Youth Service and a number of other organisations. The consultation is still open.

Introducing the motion Cllr David Jenkins said that the Chair of the Council and members of the Executive Board had taken the opportunity to visit the Ethos building in Swansea, and saw ‘an exceptional example of cooperative working which allowed small start-ups to develop businesses in the centre of town.’

Cllr Jenkins added that the Ethos Group sought an ‘exclusivity agreement’ which would provide them with the opportunity to get the project ‘worked up.’ The board was invited to consider redeveloping ‘in principle’ either through Ethos, or ‘working towards the relocation of the centre’s current users and openly marketing the site.’

“That is basically the decision before us,” he said.

Councillor Meryl Gravell said that she was ‘absolutely delighted’ and pointed out that talks with Rowland Jones – one of the members of the Ethos Group – had started in 2012.

“This is an opportunity to bring new businesses into Carmarthen – that is what we really need. Quality jobs so that we don’t have as much brain drain as we have in the past,” she added.

Discussing the ‘iconic’ appearance of the Ethos building in Swansea, Cllr Gravell said: “If you are attracting inward investment it is vitally important to have that iconic building. It gives out that openness and welcoming to the county.”

Mark James CBE agreed, and suggested that as the main gateway to Carmarthen it had to be a ‘rather nice looking building.’

Mr James also suggested that Ethos would be to gain funding from the Welsh Government, the EU and the private sector.

A summary said that the site represented a prominent redevelopment opportunity and ‘may also be of interest for other potential uses.’

It was acknowledged that the Town Council had previously expressed an interest in the existing building, as had a community group, which had ‘indicated interest in potential future asset transfer of the property for riverside uses.’

One of the community groups which use the existing building contacted The Herald after finding out about the Ethos proposal through local media. Steve Bright, the Chair of the Gwendraeth Paddlers, said that the club used part of the premises to store canoes, and as a changing room. The basement of the existing building was redeveloped for this purpose using grant funding within the last couple of years.

Mr Bright said that the Paddlers were part of the Carmarthenshire Water Safety Partnership, and through their qualified coaches, allowed young people the chance to try out different boats and gain experience on the water ‘in relative safety’.

It is thought that none of the groups who use the area regularly – including the coracles and the Carmarthen Boat Club, have been informed of the possible development.

“They are misguidedly jumping on to another white elephant saying that there’s no decent office space available when there are empty offices for rent along old station road and the Pensarn Creamery office has been empty for years,” Mr Bright told us.

“The claim that it will help business by drawing more people to the town centre comes while they charge exorbitant business rates, which rob inception businesses of their capital and don’t allow them to get a foothold. Yet again councillors meddle in business without any idea of who pays their wages and gilt-edged pensions while establishing another white elephant edifice to their incompetence.”

The Herald contacted Carmarthenshire County Council to ask whether the results of the budget consultation would be taken into account when deciding the future of the Quay Centre, but at the time of going to press had received no reply.

 

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Former headteacher of Llandysul Primary School jailed for child sex offences

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A FORMER headteacher of primary schools in west Wales who was awarded the MBE for services to education has been jailed for child sex offences.

David Watkin Bundock, aged 74, admitted six offences–one of them committed after he had been arrested and granted bail.

Judge Keith Thomas, sitting at Swansea crown court, told Bundock he had achieved a great deal during his professional career but had then gone on to behave in a way that was the exact opposite to the moral values he had once championed.

Bundock, once the head of Llandysul Primary School, admitted four offences of possessing indecent images of children.

He also admitted attempting to communicate with a child aged under 16 for sexual reasons and, on January 27, 2019, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Bundock was jailed for two years and three months. He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and banned from ever working with children and must register with the police as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Jim Davis, prosecuting, said Bundock came to be of interest to the police after his telephone number was found on the mobile of a man arrested for indecent images offences.

But after being granted bail he was then snared by paedophile hunters who created an Internet account of a fictional 15 year old boy.

Bundock swapped indecent messages with the “boy” and travelled to a park in Carmarthen hoping to meet him.

But when he arrived he was confronted by members of the group and arrested later that day for a second time.

Bundock’s barrister, India Cox, said his offending was completely out of character and difficult to explain.

Judge Thomas described the offences as appalling.

The offences took place place in Carmarthenshire and at his home at Valetta House, Cardiff.

Bundock went on to become a senior adviser with Ceredigion County Council’s education department. In 2004 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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£24m health centre project will not stop following Interserve problems

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FOLLOWING the collapse of Interserve, health officials have said they are confident it will not affect Cardigan’s £24m health care centre.

Interserve, the government outsourcer to complete the works, ran into financial difficulty and was rescued from administration last Friday by banks and hedge funds. This has left many of it’s key suppliers now facing large financial losses.

With 69,000 staff worldwide, the takeover will ensure they will remain working and with most suppliers trading as usual.

The bailout follows fears that the company could follow in the footstep’s of rival contractor Carillion.

Carillion’s collapse last year left worker’s, pension’s and lender’s with huge financial losses. Forcing the Government to step in and deliver the services.

A Hywel Dda health board spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Interserve will continue to deliver both the Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and the Women’s and Children’s Phase 2 project at Glangwili General Hospital as planned.”

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Young women in Ceredigion make their voices heard

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PERIOD poverty, access to mental health services and equal pay were among the issues raised by young women on International Women’s Day 2019.

On 8 March, in collaboration with the Young Women’s Trust, Ben Lake MP hosted a ‘Real Talk’ workshop aimed at young women aged 16 to 30 years old. Young women from all walks of life came together at the Coliseum Coffee House to voice their concerns and share their hopes for the future with the local MP.

Ben Lake said: “It was great to hear new ideas for change and to discuss ways in which we can improve the lives of young people in Ceredigion. The experiences of women and girls must be heard, both locally and nationally. After all, it is impossible for policies to be truly effective if they do not reflect the wishes, and address the challenges faced by all in society.”

(Credited to Lauren Garside, Year 1 Coleg Ceredigion Media Production student) The ‘Real Talk’ workshop held on International Women’s Day at Ceredigion Museum.

The young women set out three priorities for Ben Lake to campaign for on their behalf at Westminster:

1. Education: ensure that equality issues and mental health awareness training is included on all PGCE courses
2. Increase the national minimum wage for apprentices and roll out National Living Wage for under-25s
3. Period poverty: campaign, raise awareness and look to introduce policies to mitigate the effects of period poverty

Period poverty in particular, was an issue that the young women felt needed tackling as a matter of urgency. A recent report from FreedomforGirls* found that period poverty has a direct impact on education, with pupils in the UK missing class every month due to their periods. A RightsInfo investigation** discovered thousands of women were relying on food banks to get through their monthly periods.

In an attempt to tackle period poverty, the UK Chancellor confirmed in his Spring Statement that secondary schools in England will start providing menstrual products free of charge to girls from September onwards. Ben Lake MP has encouraged the Welsh Government to follow suit.

Ben Lake said: “All women, regardless of age, social status or background, should be able to easily access the menstrual products they need.

“Too many girls miss out on vital education each month as a lack of access to menstrual products forces them to miss school. Even those pupils who do not suffer period poverty will benefit from free access to sanitary products, ensuring no child is without protection during what can be a very stressful and vulnerable time.”

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