WHY LOCALS ARE SICK OF LIFE BY THE SEASIDE
A PUBLIC meeting aimed at tackling drugs on the streets of a Llanelli community saw more than 100 residents discuss the crisis they are facing.
Residents of Seaside and Glanymor gathered on Monday night in an effort to stamp out the issue of dealing on their doorsteps. Leaders agree the community has seen an increase in drug dealing and antisocial behaviour – leading some to live in fear.
Llanelli has become a thriving market for Class A drugs after being targeted by English gangs, Swansea Crown Court was told during a case in February.
The town has seen a surge in so-called County Lines drugs trading, with organised groups sending dealers to the town.
However, following the meeting, Carmarthenshire county councillor John Prosser said there is “no quick fix” and the community, police and other agencies must all work together.
“I couldn’t attend the meeting but I have been speaking to agencies and the community on this and was out with police recently as part of the Cuckoo scheme, which urges people to contact police or myself and fellow county councillor Lovain Roberts about any suspicious activity in the area.
“Seaside and Glanymor is a lovely area to live and we want to rid the area of the problems it is facing – but that cannot be done overnight. It’s not about simply evicting people or political point scoring, we all have to work together as whole on this.”
Llanelli town councillor Sean Rees, who attended the meeting held at the Seaside Sports and Social Club, did point the finger at the rapid rise in the number of homes of multiple occupancy (HMOs) within the ward.
He said landlords and housing associations needed to be accountable and take steps over who was moving into the area.
He said: ”These housing associations and some private landlords need to take responsibility, not only for the upkeep of some of their properties, but also for the people that they are moving in.
“The lack of monitoring is concerning. In my years on the planning committee of Llanelli Town Council, I don’t think there has been a monthly meeting where a HMO hasn’t been proposed for either Seaside, New Dock or the Morfa areas.
“We, at the town council, have and will continue to object to such HMOs because we want to regenerate our area for the better. Surely, what these properties should actually be used for is housing for families.”
Speaking about the wider problems facing the area, Mr Rees added: “I completely share the community’s concerns and frustrations. People should not have to feel like they are living in fear of what is about to happen next.
“All of us see it every single day, in our streets, our back lanes, parks and playgrounds and other community facilities.”
Mr Rees argued that a community programme like the one in Tyshia ward needs to be rolled out within Glanymor and Seaside so residents, police, housing associations and councillors can meet and discuss issues regularly.
Superintendent Gary Mills, Carmarthenshire commander at DyfedPowys Police said: “It is a sad fact that controlled drugs are available and being used at all levels in society; there is no evidence to indicate, however, that these substances are being supplied and used more in Llanelli than any other similar areas in the country.
“Dyfed-Powys Police is committed to tackling the supply and misuse of drugs in our communities.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce the threat and harm caused by Class A drugs, the force set up Operation Cryptic which focussed on the supply of Class A drugs, namely heroin, in the Llanelli area.”
Carmarthenshie Council’s executive board member for housing, councillor Linda DaviesEvans said: “Careful consideration is given to the potential impact of HMOs on the local community and we monitor and regulate the management standards of the established HMOs in that area on a regular basis. We work closely with Rent Smart.”
Gang jailed for 70 years over roles in town drug supply – page 12