A selection of letters and emails to the editor from this week's postbag.

Smaller firms will suffer

I AM the owner of Premier Stores/Post Office in Garnant and I have owned this shop for nearly six years.

I have been disheartened by the news that a planning application has been approved for the new retail development at Arcade Terrace.

While I have no objection to the site being redeveloped, as this is definitely needed, I feel it would have been better served as a purely residential plot, as the community needs more houses. It does not need more retail outlets like One-Stop.

This is going to kill off not only my business but others such as Petro Express and Siop y Pentre in Glanaman.

My store is less than half a mile from the site, and it will have a severely detrimental impact on my business.

I expect that I will lose so many customers to One Stop that I do not see a long-term future for my store.

While I do have the post office in store, this is not able to support itself and if my retail sales suffer as expected, I will be forced to close, meaning Garnant will lose its only post office.

With so many elderly residents in the community, they will find haveing to travel to Gwaun cae Gurwen or Ammanford. The changes will be very distressing and awkward.

Myself and several other local businesses put together an 800-plus+ name petition to object to this development, but it was ignored not only by Cwmaman Town Council but by Carmarthenshire County Council too.

How can they ignore the views of the public who elected them? We have had no good reason explained to us as why it was granted. It certainly isn’t for jobs. As more people will lose their jobs in other businesses than will be hired by One Stop. The planning approval was a shambles.

My business is the how I feed my family and keep a roof over my head, and for the local councillors to say the impact on local business is not a factor shows how short-signed they are. It is a disgrace.

I feel the only reason the plan was granted, was because it is a big name store.

I have seen numerous articles in the Guardian recently about small stores suffering, including one from Brynaman while the owner of Petro Express has also expressed his concerns. How many more stores will be allowed until someone listens?

Imran Ahmad

Premier Stores



Community under threat

HAVING run Siop-y-Pentre for nearly 20 years and having continued Central Bakery Glanaman after my parents until we were forced to close three years ago due to lack of business following the arrival of Tesco in Ammanford, I am writing to express my concern for local businesses in the Amman Valley.

Upon hearing that planning permission had been granted for a new retail outlet (One Stop) in Garnant, I immediately thought “Why?”.

Even though I have a loyal customer base and deliver goods to the elderly in Cwmaman, people will inevitably go where it is cheaper.

Currently we have three retailers in Cwmaman: myself, Petro Express and Premier Store, we all get on well and help each other out. This is what a community means.

One Stop will not be part of that community and will ruin it for everyone. The arrival of One Stop will change the landscape of Cwmaman forever.

David Williams




Vote Plaid, get Tory cuts

I WOULD like to use your pages to send an open letter to Emlyn Dole and the Plaid Cymru group at Carmarthenshire County Council.

As you are aware our branch presented a No Cuts Budget to the previous Labour -led administration in January 2014 at the same time Plaid was calling on the Labour led council to use £6-£7 million of its reserves to offset the worst of the cuts and at the time you were supporting our members and other employees being paid a living wage.

It seems that now you are in power these policies and campaigns have been silently ditched. For a party that clams to be anti-austerity, under your leadership, the local authority is doing the opposite. Plaid are carrying on from where the Labour Party left off in implementing £40 million of Tory cuts passed on by a Labour Welsh Assembly Government.

Our branch has been consistent in criticising the WAG for passing on cuts and on councillors for voting for cuts. Despite attempts to absolve yourselves of responsibility Plaid councillors have a choice of whether to vote for cuts or not. The validity of our No Cuts Budget is demonstrated by the fact that Plaid and the Independents have recently found £20 million from reserves for capital projects. We believe that the council could find £40 million (another £20 million) from reserves and borrowing etc. to set a No Cuts Budget to protect jobs and services and then launch a campaign with other local authority’s, trade unions and the wider community to fight the cuts.

At the recent Executive Board there was much mutual backslapping and excitement about the jobs this Capital spending could create. However while the possibility of some job creation is welcome why is it that spending is found for this but not to protect current jobs and services such as in Adult Community Education. Some Board members Independent and Plaid displayed a lack of understanding of the importance of Adult Community Education and the impact of stopping courses and closing centres would have on local communities. Until you mentioned the issue at the end of the discussion no one mentioned that people would lose their jobs! What is promised with one hand you have already taken away with the other. Why is it that Plaid and the Independents are seeking to outsource Leisure Centres and Theatres putting our members’ jobs, terms, conditions and the service at risk? Why is Plaid seeking to asset transfer parks etc. and increase charges?

People are quite rightly asking why they voted Plaid to get Tory cuts. Anger against cuts and austerity is building due to the cuts and the policies your party is implementing. Unison will be to the forefront of fighting these cuts that are not necessary and that will negatively impact on our communities. We again urge you to take a different path, implement our No Cuts Budget,stand shoulder to shoulder with our members and other trade unions and the communities you are supposed to serve and represent. We would be happy to debate these issues in public and at least then the public would have the opportunity to hear the alternative to cuts rather than the sham consultation by the council where they were offered a list of cuts that were dressed up as savings.

Mark Evans

Branch secretary

Carmarthenshire County Unison branch