Re­ported in­crease in car­riages on road

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected]­

Bethan Thomas HORSE and car­riages con­jure up im­ages of 20th cen­tury aris­to­crats, pe­riod dra­mas and re­gal cer­e­monies.

But it’s not Down­ton Abbey or the Mall in London where you will see lots of horse-drawn ve­hi­cles these days – but Llanelli.

Res­i­dents and driv­ers have re­cently wit­nessed an in­flux of this al­ter­na­tive mode of trans­port along Llanelli’s ma­jor roads, in­clud­ing Trostre and Sta­tion Road.

One was even spot­ted go­ing through the driv­ethru at Mc­Don­ald’s.

The driver who took the pic­ture, who wished to re­main anony­mous, said: “Only in Llanelli would you see peo­ple in a horse and cart go through Mc­Don­ald’s drive-thru and then park up to wait for their food.”

Another town res­i­dent, Alice Jones, from Bryn, said: “I see at least one (horse-drawn ve­hi­cle) when­ever I am in Llanelli cen­tre.

“The other day I saw three of them be­hind one another and one of the ve­hi­cles was be­ing con­trolled by a child on his own. He only looked around 10, but they weren’t go­ing that fast so I don’t think it’s dan­ger­ous.

“There was quite a lot of traf­fic stuck be­hind them though and driv­ers looked an­noyed, so I think it’s in­con­ve­nient more than any­thing.”

The ma­jor­ity of horses spot­ted have been Gypsy cob horses pulling sim­ple, metal carts.

“I see them very reg­u­larly on Pem­brey Road out­side of my house in the sum­mer, es­pe­cially late at night,” said another Llanelli res­i­dent, 57-year-old Lino Mes­sag­giero.

“Well, I hear them and then I see them.”

The High­way Code states that “horse-drawn ve­hi­cles used on the high­way should be op­er­ated and main­tained in ac­cor­dance with stan­dards set out in the Trans­port’s Code of Prac­tice for Horse-Drawn Ve­hi­cles”.

Stan­dards in­clude that they are driven smoothly and at an ap­pro­pri­ate speed; ob­sta­cles such as round­abouts and traf­fic lights are care­fully ne­go­ti­ated, and that the health and safety of the horse and driv­ers is main­tained through­out.

Horse and carts are tra­di­tion­ally part of Gypsy and trav­eller cul­ture.

In Fe­bru­ary this year, Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil pub­lished the Gypsy Trav­eller Ac­com­mo­da­tion Needs As­sess­ment (GTAA) call­ing for landown­ers and de­vel­op­ers to sug­gest suit­able lo­ca­tions for a per­ma­nent trav­eller and gypsy site in the area.

Calls for such a site have been due to an in­crease in trav­ellers in the area and an ‘un­met need for gypsy and trav­eller pitches.’

But many res­i­dents and driv­ers have ex­pressed an­noy­ance at the traf­fic nui­sance they claim some of the ve­hi­cles have been caus­ing, as well as con­cern for the well­be­ing of the animals.

“I saw them on three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions the other day.

“They have been on re­ally busy roads by Trostre round­about and I am wor­ried that the horses might get spooked with such busy traf­fic,” said Fur­nace res­i­dent Shauna An­der­son, 21.

“One of the horses got loose the other day and was run­ning around my es­tate.

“The horse was ob­vi­ously distressed – it ran in front of my car. Luck­ily, I was only driv­ing around 10mph so it was fine but the poor thing was run­ning ev­ery­where and any­where and could have hurt it­self or oth­ers.”

Another res­i­dent, Trevor More­ton, 38, from Llanelli, said: “I just feel quite bad for the horses re­ally as they are gal­lop­ing along quickly on hard tar­mac which I know can be re­ally bad for them.”

An equine ex­pert from the RSPCA stated that “all horse own­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to safe­guard the wel­fare of their animals and if driv­ing horses in traps or other ve­hi­cles. They must take into ac­count many fac­tors, such as the weather con­di­tions, the be­hav­iour of other road users, the ter­rain and con­di­tion of the road sur­face, the fit­ness and con­di­tion of the horse, and the weight of the load they are be­ing asked to pull.

“As ever, we urge any­one with equine wel­fare con­cerns to con­tact the RSPCA’s emer­gency line on 0300 1234 999.”

Some of the horse and car­riages spot­ted in Llanelli.

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