Cam­paign­ers re­call the bat­tle for their beach

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

IT’S re­mem­bered as a clas­sic peo­ple versus the state bat­tle.

It’s 50 years now since the his­toric Save our Sands cam­paign in Pem­brey.

The cam­paign was a great ex­am­ple of peo­ple power – and saved Pem­brey and Cefn Si­dan beach for pos­ter­ity.

Cel­e­bra­tions have in­cluded a SOS 50 Gar­den Party at Ty Gwyn, The Links, Pem­brey.

It pro­vided an oc­ca­sion for cam­paign­ers to get to­gether and re­call the bat­tle to Save Cefn Si­dan Sands – and it served to pro­vide a his­tory les­son for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, to ed­u­cate them on the bat­tle to save the beach.

In 1969, the com­mu­ni­ties of Burry Port and Pem­brey com­menced a David v Go­liath bat­tle against the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) to prevent it from re­lo­cat­ing the Shoe­bury­ness gun­nery range (which had to be re­lo­cated due to the pro­posal to build a third London air­port), from Es­sex to the range it owned at Pem­brey.

This would turn the area ly­ing be­tween Cefn Si­dan and Kid­welly into a huge gun­nery range, shoot­ing mis­siles into to­wards Gower.

The im­pli­ca­tions of such a plan would jeop­ar­dise the lives and liveli­hoods of the res­i­dents of Car­marthen Bay from Gower to south Pem­brokeshire.

From the 1940s to 1960s the state and its in­sti­tu­tions had com­man­deered Welsh land and up­rooted com­mu­nity af­ter com­mu­nity from the moun­tains of Me­ri­ony­ddshire to the up­lands of Bre­con­shire.

This was not go­ing to happen here.

The res­i­dents of Burry Port and Pem­brey fought the project with di­rect ac­tion and hard cam­paign­ing, in­vok­ing the spirit of their fear­some wrecker an­ces­tors, the Lit­tle Hatchet Men.

This was a fight un­der­taken by peo­ple of all ages and the women were cru­cial to its suc­cess, as so many of the men­folk were work­ing shifts in the re­gion’s heavy in­dus­tries.

If this bat­tle had been lost, Pem­brey Coun­try Park and Cefn Si­dan would not ex­ist as we know it to­day. the sea

Pic­tures: By­ron Williams

Guests at the an­niver­sary tea for the Pem­brey Save Our Sands cam­paign.

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