COMPLAINTS to Carmarthenshire Council, ranging from wind turbine shadow flicker, damage to a grass verge and the telephone manner of staff, rose by 16% last year.

But most of the increase was due to the introduction of a new garden waste collection system in the county.

The council also received 23% fewer compliments in 2017-18 than it did the previous year – although these included a message of thanks from the Russian State Ballet and Opera House which was chuffed with the support it received during its visit.

Deputy council leader, councillor Mair Stephens, summarised the findings at an executive board meeting.

Referring to the spike in environment complaints due to the garden waste collection, she said: “We are learning, and these issues have been taken on board.”

The report before the executive board said the council responded to 847 complaints in 2017-18 and redirected a further 714, which were considered as enquiries.

The figures do not include complaints which were currently open and under investigation. Complaints to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, however, were down 38% to 23 from the previous year, and none of them were upheld.

Complaints upheld or partially upheld by the authority included concerns about able-bodied people using the disabled toilet at Llanelli Market, a training session which was not bilingual, the behaviour of a social worker, the handling of a pest control case, noise nuisance problems, a lack of continuity with domiciliary carers, a replacement bollard which took months to source, a wind turbine shadow flicker enforcement issue, and a safety complaint regarding the removal of a chimney.

Meanwhile, there were compliments for highways staff for clearing up after flooding, litter pickers for working diligently in cold weather, and a housing officer for their understanding.

The Russian State Ballet and Opera House even found time to record thanks to the council for its help and support for a production of The Nutcracker.

A relative of a resident at Awel Tywi care home said they had nothing but praise for staff, while another member of the public in Carmarthenshire said: “There were times I was very demanding, and I know that you pushed the boat out many a time for me to ensure that dad was looked after in the best possible way.

“Your girls were angels and it’s because of you all that I survived and dad was looked after correctly.”