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Carmarthen West link road officially opened

Posted By Robert Lloyd

A new £6.15million link road connecting Carmarthen town centre with the west has officially opened.
The Carmarthen West scheme, led by Carmarthenshire County Council, opened to vehicles on Friday afternoon (March 8, 2019).
The road connects the A40 at Travellers Rest with College Road providing direct access to the trunk road network for key employment sites at St David’s Park, Hywel Dda Health Board’s Hafan Derwen and the University of Wales Trinity St David’s Carmarthen campus.
It also serves the new S4C headquarters Yr Egin, a major project for the Swansea Bay City Region.
Carmarthenshire County Council has funded the scheme, with grant support through the Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund, and a contribution through a planning agreement with developers.
Carmarthen West has been identified as a strategic site within the council’s Local Development Plan and is allocated for mixed use development including 1,100 new homes, a primary school, employment space, a small retail centre, open space and affordable housing.
Local firm Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd has delivered the scheme, completing the first phase in October 2017 with the opening of a new junction at Job’s Well Road, laying of services and the formation of the route of the road. A new arch bridge has also been constructed over the Tawelan Brook.
The second phase commenced May 2018 and finished this week.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “This is a huge transport scheme that will improve the road network and complement a number of key development schemes in the pipeline for Carmarthen West. It will help ease traffic congestion in this busy part of the town, and cut down journey times for commuters whilst benefitting the environment.”
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader and Executive Board Member for Regeneration, said: “The Carmarthen West link road brings a significant economic benefit to the county, opening up new links for business in the long-term. It has also created employment and training opportunities during the construction phase.
“We’re grateful to Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd for their work to deliver this scheme, and we were pleased to see people using it just minutes after it was officially opened.”
In figures
Delivering the Carmarthen West link road has been no mean feat….
1,800 metres of road created
40,000 tonnes of ground excavated
13,000m2 of Tarmac laid
4,000 metres of kerbing
2,500 metres of drainage pipe laid
90 lighting columns installed
Three roundabouts
One bridge built, with a 19 metre span pre-cast concrete arch
One signalised junction

Video –

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Carmarthenshire’s sporting talent celebrated

Posted By Robert Lloyd

An athlete who was selected for the Commonwealth Games was among 12 sporting talents crowned winners at the Carmarthenshire Sports Personality Awards on Friday.

Dewi Griffiths was named Sports Personality of the Year at a glittering ceremony in Ffwrnes Theatre.

The 27-year-old was awarded the top category for his sporting successes including being ranked 3rd at European level in the Marathon, 5th in the half marathon, 4thin 10km. In addition, at UK level he is ranked 1st in all marathon and 10km and is number 1 in Wales in 3km to marathon.

The sell-out event was hosted by Radio Carms presenter, Tommo, and the main sponsor was McDonalds.

The awards are organised by Carmarthenshire Council’s Actif Sport and Leisure Team recognise the sporting achievements of athletes, coaches and volunteers across Carmarthenshire. 

Young Sportswoman of the Year, Jessica Roberts, Cycling; Young Sportsman of the Year, Ben Thomas, Cross Country and Athletics; Sports Volunteer of the Year, Nick Weed and Rhod Davies, Tregib Sports Facility; Young Volunteer of the Year, Laura Massocchi, Carmarthen Hockey Club; Community Sport Coach of the Year, Aled Jones-Davies, TROT’s running club; High Performance Coach of the Year, Richard Stepney, Shooting; Disabled Sportsperson of the Year, Luke Jones, Paracycling; Community Club of the Year, Merlins Netball; Young Team of the Year, Carmarthen Wanderers Cricket (U13’s); Team of the Year, Ammanford Cricket XI and Outstanding Services to Sport, Ian Howell, Llanelli Amateur Swimming Club.

Executive board member for regeneration and leisure, Cllr Peter Hughes-Griffiths said: “Once again the quality of entries received this year was exceptional and each year it gets more and more difficult for the judges to select winners. We are so lucky in Carmarthenshire to have such a multitude of sporting talent and this event honours those people of all ages and abilities who contribute to sport in the county.”

All pictures of the evening are available here

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Macleod to captain Scarlets at Treviso this Saturday

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Josh Macleod will take the Scarlets captaincy this Saturday, when they resume the season’s campaign after a well-earned break.

The Scarlets return to face Benetton in their next Guinness PRO14 clash at Stadio Monigo, Saturday 16th of February, KO 17:15 (GMT).

Benetton, currently stand in second place in Conference B table, with Leinster still defending their top positioning.

Both internationals, Rhys Patchell and Steff Evans have been released from the Welsh Six Nations camp this week.

Patchell, takes his place on the bench, with Evans on the left wing at number 11. 

Leigh Halfpenny was not considered for the fixture against Benetton Rugby, this weekend.

Although Leigh, has returned to full training, it was collectively decided that he should continue training fully with the hope he will be available for selection in the imminent future.

Reflecting on his team’s history with the opposition ahead of this weekend’s game, Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac, said: “They’re an improved side, last year in the same window they beat us at their play. They’ve got a side now that with added few players is adding a bit of spark. A couple of good wingers on the outside giving them a bit of power out there. Also, pace; their fitness levels have improved, they’re playing a lot more rugby, using the ball a lot more and with that, they’re going to pose a big threat!

“They have some big men, as we found earlier this season, they were a man down and they caused us a lot of problems. They play direct at times and then move the ball around sometimes, so they’re asking a few questions to the defence. We’re gonna have to make sure we bring a lot of physicality to this game and more of what we’ve been seeing in the Six Nations.”

Commenting on injury comebacks, Pivac, went on to say: “We’ve got a few back, which is pleasing. Lewis Rawlins is back training and managed every aspect yesterday and so he came through his injury and therefore is available for selection, which helps out Blubring, who has been ruled out since the Leinster game, giving us three fit second rows. 

“Will Boyde is back training with us and also Uzair Cassiem ran well yesterday. This gives us another option after Ed Kennedy picked up some trouble with his hamstring, which then gives us 3 fit loose forwards.”

Pivac, explained his current thoughts on the PRO14 Table: “It’s exciting, we would much rather be where we were this time last year, but we’re not and that’s reality. We’ve got four teams going hard for realistically two slots and I think there’s only two points separating those four teams. Every game now is a vital one and we have to fight for every point. Whether that’s an extra try to get 5, or to come within 7 and get one. Every point is going to be vital when we wash up at the end of the season.

“We are doing a lot of things right, we are improving as a group and we’re playing without a lot of big names and getting ourselves in positions where we can win these games. We’re not far off, we believe if we can accumulate enough points over the next 3 weeks, we can get some of the big boys back; some of the injured boys back and we’ve got a pretty good run on in the last month.”

Scarlets team to take on Benetton at Stadio Monigo, Saturday 16th February, kick-off 17:15 (GMT):

15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Ioan Nicholas, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Paul Asquith, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Kieran Hardy, 1 Phil Price, 2 Marc Jones, 3 Werner Kruger, 4 Josh Helps, 5 Tom Price, 6 Josh Macleod ©, 7 Dan Davis, 8 Uzair Cassiem

Replacements: 16 Dafydd Hughes, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Jon Evans, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Steff Hughes 

Injury updates: James Davies – Foot, Tom Phillips – Hamstring, Steve Cummins – Shoulder, Blade Thomson – Concussion,  Angus O’Brien – Knee, Aaron Shingler – Knee, Taylor Davies – Hamstring, Ryan Conbeer – Ankle, Ed Kennedy – Hamstring, David Bulbring – Ankle/Knee, Corey Baldwin – Ankle, Leigh Halfpenny – Concussion

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Mark Jones

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The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants. The Money Matters column appears in the Pembrokeshire Herald, the Carmarthenshire Herald and the Llanelli Herald newspapers.By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.

The taxman at HMRC has extended the Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) pilot scheme to all eligible businesses.

For most businesses, compliance with the regulations is mandated for VAT return periods beginning on or after 1 April 2019.

However, MTDfV for some ‘more complex’ businesses has been deferred until 1 October 2019.

This deferral applies to:

  • Trusts
  • not for profit organisations not set up as companies
  • VAT divisions
  • VAT groups
  • public sector entities such as government departments and NHS Trusts, which have to provide additional information on their VAT return
  • local authorities
  • public corporations
  • traders based overseas
  • those required to make payments on account
  • annual accounting scheme users

Commenting on the pilot scheme, Clare Sheehan, Deputy Director for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Business, said:

“The MTD pilot is now available to all businesses who will need to use the service from April.

“This marks a significant milestone towards our delivery of a modern tax administration.

“We encourage all eligible businesses to join and try out the service before they are mandated to use it.”

HMRC has also confirmed that Brexit will not affect the introduction of MTDfV.

In a recent letter, Jim Harra, Deputy Chief Executive of HMRC, wrote:

‘Our system is already live and by the end of February we’ll have written to every affected business, encouraging them to join the thousands of others who have registered.’

If you need help with MTDfV, then the team at West Wales chartered accountants Clay Shaw Butler are available to help.

In other news, the HMRC Voice ID system has been in the headlines.

Since 2017, HMRC has captured millions of callers’ voice data on its Voice ID system by encouraging the caller to say a key phrase instead of the conventional password to gain access to their accounts.

However, non-profit organisation Big Brother Watch warns that people have been ‘railroaded into a mass ID scheme by the back door’ and has reported HMRC to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on the grounds that it has ‘broken data protection laws’.

A Freedom of Information request revealed almost seven million taxpayers are enrolled in HMRC’s Voice ID database, of which 162,185 individuals have opted out and had their biometric data deleted by HMRC.

A spokesperson for HMRC said:

“Our Voice ID system is very popular with millions of customers as it gives a quick route to access accounts by phone.

“All our data is stored securely, and customers can opt out of Voice ID or delete their records any time they want.”

Link to website stories –


You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) – 


We have a strong and experienced team with great local knowledge all geared-up to helping you get the very best from your finances – whether that is as an individual or as a business.

We stay ahead of the game by putting great store by continual professional development for our staff.

With Investors In People status at Clay Shaw Butler, we care passionately about making sure our staff have all the tools they need to serve you, our customers.

Weblink – http://www.clayshawbutler.com

The team at Clay Shaw Butler can be contacted on 01267 228500.

The team at Clay Shaw Butler are on Twitter. Look for @clayshawbutler.

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Parry makes Bristol loan move from Ospreys

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Sam Parry has linked up with Bristol Bears in the Gallagher Premiership after agreeing a one-month loan deal to provide injury cover.

The 27-year old hooker is on his way back from an injury hit period, missing the end of last season with a chest problem and then undergoing surgery to repair a damaged bicep sustained during pre-season.

Having returned to action in October he has been restricted to just five appearances so far this campaign, the last of which coming in the Challenge Cup last month, against Pau.

Given the depth that the Ospreys have at hooker, with Scott Baldwin, Scott Otten and Ifan Phillips all available for selection, it was felt that it was in the player’s interests to head to Ashton Gate as a short term injury replacement with Shaun Malton and Will Capon currently sidelined, to allow him to get game time under his belt before returning to Llandarcy to play a part in the end of season push at the Ospreys.

Speaking about his loan move, Parry said:

“It’s been a frustrating time for me personally with injury and then not getting the game time I would like so this is the right option for me, and for the Ospreys and Bristol.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of the next few weeks, going into a new environment and testing myself in a competition I’ve not experienced before. It’ll give me the opportunity to get the minutes under my belt that I need.”

Bristol have four games while Parry is with them, against Wasps next Friday (H), Harlequins (A), Gloucester (H) and Northampton (A).

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Lost Voice Guy to star in charity concert to support Cancer Research Wales

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Britain’s Got Talent winner Lost Voice Guy will be one of the stars of a special charity concert being organised at Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire next month.

He’ll be appearing alongside Eurovision Song contest legends Brotherhood of Man.

The Rotary Club of Narberth and Whitland have nominated Cancer Research Wales to be the headline charity for their concert on Saturday, March 30 (7 pm) at the Follies Theatre, Folly Farm.

Narberth and Whitland Rotary Club President Tony Ensom selected Cancer Research Wales as his chosen charity for the concert.

He said: “Sadly, everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer and it is very important to support the tireless efforts of Cancer Research Wales.”

Cancer Research Wales was founded in 1966 and is based at Velindre Hospital in Cardiff.

They receive no government funding and all funds raised are used in Wales, funding research at Velindre and Welsh Universities such as Cardiff and Swansea.

Someone in Wales is diagnosed with cancer every 30 minutes, and research is vital in aiming to provide early diagnosis, prevention and better treatment options.

The proceeds of the evening will also go to support the many endeavours of the Rotary Club during the year ahead, locally, nationally and internationally.

Lost Voice Guy was the 2018 Britain’s Got Talent winner. He has just returned to the UK after a well-received performance on the America’s Got Talent ‘All Winners Show’.

Brotherhood of Man won the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest. Their winning song, ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’, went on to sell five million copies worldwide and was followed by a string of hits by the group, who still boast the original ‘Save Your Kisses’ line-up.

Band member Nicky Stevens, (originally from Carmarthen) remains the only Welsh winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The band’s winning margin in Eurovision was a record – an achievement which still stands today.

Also appearing on the show will be Pembrokeshire Boogie Woogie and Rockabilly group ‘The Curveballs’.

Narberth and Whitland Rotary Club President Tony Ensom said: “It is all set to be a great night in aid of great charities and we very much hope for a great turnout to support us.”

Tickets for the show are now on sale and can be purchased at www.nwrotary.co.uk

They can also be bought at Dales Music, Tenby; Rock ‘n Rolla Boutique, Narberth and The Creative Café, Haverfordwest. Enquiries can be made to Rotarian John Hughes on 01834 842552.

Photo: Kneeling on left Gareth Morris (Folly Farm) and on the right Elaine Bradbury (Rotary). Standing on left Ann-Marie Jones (Cancer Research Wales), centre Tony Ensom (Rotary President) and right Rotarian Impresario John Hughes.

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