Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Robert Lloyd @rl­loy­dpr [email protected]­ 07765 287910

LLANELLI’S Welsh As­sem­bly Mem­ber Lee Wa­ters has sparked a war of words af­ter ac­cus­ing Plaid Cymru of play­ing party pol­i­tics over the traf­fic headache that is Sandy Road.

The Labour AM has called on Plaid Cymru-con­trolled Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil to re­veal its ‘ se­cret plan’ for the road.

He ac­cused Plaid Cymru of play­ing pol­i­tics with com­muters, who are fed up with traf­fic con­ges­tion on Llanelli’s most log­jammed artery.

In a press state­ment, Mr Wa­ters, pic­tured, said there were “ru­mours that lo­cal Plaid Cymru cam­paign­ers have said that Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil have a plan for tack­ling con­ges­tion on Llanelli’s Sandy Road - but will not un­veil it un­til just be­fore the next As­sem­bly elec­tion in 2021, to help the party’s elec­tion chances.”

Mr Wa­ters’s punch at Plaid earned two heavy counter blows from the party - from the rul­ing Plaid group on Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil and from his sched­uled big fight op­po­nent in the next As­sem­bly elec­tion, He­len Mary Jones.

Cllr Alun Lenny, Plaid’s me­dia spokesman on Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil said: “It’s ex­tremely ironic that Lee Wa­ters has made these com­ments.

“In mak­ing the to­tally un­founded ac­cu­sa­tion that the Plaid-led coun­cil is play­ing pol­i­tics, he in­dulges in such be­hav­iour him­self.

“It’s not the stan­dards one would ex­pect from a govern­ment min­is­ter (Min­is­ter for Trans­port in the Welsh Govern­ment).

“While Sandy Road is a prob­lem at peak times and un­der con­stant re­view by the county coun­cil’s high­ways de­part­ment, his ac­cu­sa­tions are base­less.

“It ap­pears that Mr Wa­ters is rat­tled by the huge investment pro­posed for Llanelli and the ex­cit­ing and prac­ti­cal ini­tia­tives, such as the one to ad­dress poverty and degra­da­tion in Ty­isha ward – a Plaid-led ini­tia­tive which mem­bers of all par­ties on the county coun­cil now sup­port.”

Plaid Cymru’s He­len Mary Jones, the Mid and West Wales AM and Llanelli can­di­date for the 2021 elec­tion, said: “This is such a cu­ri­ous state­ment by the cur­rent Labour AM for Llanelli.

“I’m at a loss to un­der­stand what he means.

“The re­al­ity is his party are in dis­ar­ray over Europe, anti-Semitism and lo­cally they’ve been hit by res­ig­na­tions by coun­cil­lors in the Llanelli con­stituency.

“This is just a smoke­screen from his dis­as­trous com­ments last month where he ad­mit­ted he is likely to be de­feated in Llanelli by the Plaid Cymru team in May 2021.”

Mr Wa­ters said in the state­ment that sparked the row be­tween Plaid and Labour: “If the coun­cil (Car­marthen­shire) have got a plan for Sandy Road they need to bring it for­ward now, not wait un­til the next As­sem­bly elec­tion in 2021. “The im­pact of poor air qual­ity is harm­ing peo­ple’s health ev­ery day and there shouldn’t be a mo­ment’s de­lay in eas­ing the con­ges­tion.”

Mr Wa­ters said he had been cam­paign­ing with Llanelli MP Nia Grif­fith for a so­lu­tion to the is­sues on Sandy Road since traf­fic lights we re

in­stalled at the junc­tion of Sandy Road and Maesy­coed in 2017.

Frus­trated by the re­fusal of the coun­cil to con­sult with lo­cal res­i­dents, the pair or­gan­ised their own chance for res­i­dents to have their say and sub­mit­ted a se­ries of op­tions to Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil af­ter a con­sul­ta­tion in­volv­ing more than 400 peo­ple.

Mr Wa­ters added: “It is well over a year since we pre­sented the re­sults of our con­sul­ta­tion to the coun­cil, and they have still not taken the ac­tion nec­es­sary to deal with the Sandy Road traf­fic.

“We have been chas­ing the high­ways de­part­ment for the re­sults of traf­fic mod­el­ling work we were promised at a meet­ing last year, and Nia and I have sug­gested switch­ing off the lights for a trial pe­riod to test the im­pact on con­ges­tion.”

Mr Wa­ters said he had also been work­ing with lo­cal schools and col­leges to help them de­velop travel plans to en­cour­age stu­dents and staff to car share and use public trans­port in or­der to ease pres­sure on Sandy Road dur­ing the school run.

“The large num­ber of emails we still re­ceive about this is­sue show that not nearly enough is be­ing done to tackle this, and frus­tra­tion is only build­ing as time drags on. Peo­ple de­serve bet­ter,” he said.

“Even though I’m a Min­is­ter for Trans­port in the Welsh Govern­ment, only the coun­cil can act to re­solve the is­sues on Sandy Road, but I’ll be do­ing all I can to keep up the pres­sure and to find long lasting so­lu­tions for every­one who lives and trav­els in the area.

“I hope these ru­mours are false, party pol­i­tics should play no part in this de­ci­sion.”

A spokesman for Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil’s press of­fice said that they could not re­spond to po­lit­i­cal sto­ries.

But the spokesman added that a state­ment about Sandy Road would be re­leased soon.

Pic­ture: Jonathan My­ers

Traf­fic con­ges­tion on Sandy Road, Llanelli.

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