'Cwmaman Carnival feud must end'

South Wales Guardian: PLEA FOR UNITY: Cllr Kevin Madge. PLEA FOR UNITY: Cllr Kevin Madge.

RIVAL groups organising separate Amman Valley events have thrashed out their differences – but too late to stop two carnivals going ahead a week apart.

At a heated Cwmaman Carnival AGM it was agreed to consider holding just one event next year, but go ahead with competing days in Glanaman and Garnant this summer.

Carmarthenshire county council’s decision earlier this year to back a June 28 event in Garnant split the original Cwmaman Carnival committee who claimed the event should have been held in Glanaman leading to the creation of a rival fun day in Penybont Park on July 5.

Speaking at the meeting, Carmarthenshire county council leader Kevin Madge said he had been saddened by the situation.

“We must come together and think of a compromise, it’s time we moved forward,” he said. “I don’t want two events taking place – we need to be pulling together as a community, not dividing.”

However Sheila Amor, a member of the new events committee, claimed the council “steam-rolled in and took over”.

She added: “Most members of the carnival committee were not consulted – what was the point in us staying if we weren’t going to be involved?”

Cllr Madge said that due to council cutbacks, it was no longer viable to hold an event without the backing of the local authority.

“In the past we had financial support off the town council, but they have had to take on the running of the toilets and education centre so that money is no longer there,” he said.

“We need to move on.”

But members said county council involvement meant the carnival was “no longer about the community”.

“We used to use local businesses, but the council has brought in caterers and stallholders from outside,” said Gordon Jones.

“It has angered the community and that’s why we have decided to hold a funday run by the community for the community.”

It was agreed that both events would go ahead this year but be reassessed for next year.

Cwmaman mayor David Williams said: “It is in the interest of the community that both committees sort out their disagreements for next year’s event.

“It’s time it was water under the bridge and we all move on.”

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