Law Firm Opens New Ammanford Office

Law Firm Opens New Ammanford Office

Leading regional law firm Peter Lynn and Partners has opened a new Ammanford office, with leading local lawyer Gary Jones joining as a consultant after closing his highly regarded practice.

Peter Lynn, Gary Jones, Chris Tymanowski, Greg George and staff from the Ammanford Office

The site, located on College Street in the town centre (opposite The Co-op), is the third West Wales office to be opened over the last 15 months and marks a spectacular period of growth for the firm.

“We are thrilled to complete the opening of our new office,” said senior partner Peter Lynn, “and are delighted to expand our network of branch offices into Ammanford.”

The Ammanford office will be home to a range of experienced lawyers, many of whom grew up in the area or have strong connections with the town.

“Our strength is in our staff and the diverse range of legal advice we are able to offer,” continued Peter, “and with a vibrant network of community offices, it’s important to us that the staff at these locations are not only experts in their area of law, but come from that community too.”

The announcement is the latest development for the firm, which has over 85 lawyers and support staff, eight offices and a portfolio of clients that range from individuals and small businesses to multi-national, multi-million-pound global corporations.

“We have ambitious plans to continue expanding our high street presence throughout Wales over the coming years,” said Peter, “and have multiple locations lined up that we will be announcing shortly.”

The new office is located at 42 College Street, Ammanford, SA18 3AF and is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Call 01269 597978 or email info@plandp.co.uk

MJR Marketing

Work set to start on site at Swansea city centre local services hub

Work set to start on site at Swansea city centre local services hub

A big step is about to be taken in the creation of a new central Swansea location for the city’s main library and other key services.

The Swansea city centre building being transformed into a community hub

Contractors are set to begin preparatory work in the former BHS/What! building next week.

In under two years it is due to be a local services hub. Current proposals are that it will offer easy access to council services, including the library that’s set to move from the Civic Centre. It’ll be joined by a range of other services – and the hub could offer access to the West Glamorgan Archive Service.

The hub, along with other city centre work hubs, will protect or create thousands of jobs and increase footfall in the city centre over the coming years.

The proposal for the local services hub – currently including a new central library and other key services – is being developed by Swansea Council. When open in 2023 it will be visited by thousands of people every week.

The council is also making progress on innovation hub 71/72 Kingsway – where building work is due to start this year – and on a public sector work hub between the eye-catching new Copr Bay bridge and St Mary’s Church.

The Swansea city centre building being transformed into a community hub

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “Progress is being made on these three major employment hubs that will bring people to our city centre; the public sector hub alone will create and protect thousands of city centre jobs.

“At the former BHS building – right next to Castle Square, which we also plan to revitalise – work crews are set to go in from next week. They will carry out important tasks to prepare for the building’s transformation in the months to come.

“We want residents to have easy access to all council services – such as the library – and to bring more people to the heart of the city centre.

“Our public services hub will do that. It’ll be accessible, conveniently located and digitally enabled; the former BHS is ideal as it’s within minutes walking distance of city centre shops, services, car parking and public transport routes.

“It’ll provide access to all and provide a range of services in a welcoming environment where people can meet and participate in social activities, learning and support groups.

“There’ll be agile accommodation for third, public and private sector companies that endorse the ethos of a community hub. Flexible, collaborative space will encourage a coordinated approach in improving the quality of people’s lives.

“By converting an existing building, we avoid the cost of putting up a new structure, reduce overheads and help revitalise the city centre that’s already undergoing a £1bn regeneration.”

A team of leading property professionals is working with the council on the project. They are experts in design, architecture, engineering, project and cost management.

Led by project and cost management specialists Coreus Group, the local services hub team includes architects Austin Smith Lord, mechanical and electrical engineers SDS, structural engineers Jubb and principal designer PHD Property Advisory.

It will secure jobs in the city centre, increase footfall for nearby businesses and give long-term use to a prominent building. It will help the city tackle the economic shock of the pandemic.

Further public consultation on the project is due to take place in the coming months.

The preparatory work will mean the temporary closure of the lane between Marks & Spencer and the former BHS and of a small number of bays in Park Street East car park. There are hundreds of parking spaces nearby – www.bit.ly/CityCentreParking

More: www.swansea.gov.uk/communityhub

Swansea Council

Market shoppers set to enjoy a stunning new attraction at famous venue

Market shoppers set to enjoy a stunning new attraction at famous venue

An exciting new era for Swansea Market is set to start soon.

How the market’s new eating, meeting and greeting area – the Market Garden – will look

The iconic venue is about to become yet more welcoming to people who shop, work and live in the city centre.

Construction work is due to start next week on a creatively designed new area at the heart of the market where people can eat, work and enjoy themselves.

The work will take several weeks, with disturbance kept to a minimum and the market remaining fully open. Transparent fencing will go up around the construction area to keep people safe and to maintain sightlines for neighbouring stalls.

The green-themed Market Garden – due to open in good time for Christmas – will feature more than 170 plants together with an assortment of comfortable, garden-style tables and chairs for visitors to enjoy food and drink bought from a wide variety of market stalls.

Operated in line with latest Covid guidelines, it will have free public Wi-Fi, power charging facilities, recycling bins and a water station to refill water bottles.

Highchairs will be available to those with young children. There will be warmers for baby bottles and food – and there will be a toddlers’ play table.

For the first time, dog lovers will be able to bring their well-behaved pets to the market. Dogs will be able to enjoy a bowl of water at Swansea Jack’s kennel – as long as they follow the market’s new “doggie rules.”

The market, run by Swansea Council, attracts more than four million shoppers a year in non-pandemic times and is the permanent home to more than 100 businesses.

The Market Garden logo

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “The Market Garden is part of a £440,000 improvement programme at this wonderful venue.

“It will help the market play a key role in Swansea’s great future, being led by our £1bn regeneration scheme.

“The new feature will be accessible, inclusive, well managed and will bring new footfall for traders to benefit.

“It’s designed for the benefit and enjoyment of all customers – for meeting friends and family, catching up on emails and enjoying the fantastic range of food available from the Market.

“It’s set to become a popular destination and is a flexible space that can also host events and exhibitions which will help attract a broader audience.

“These are exciting times for the market and the wider city centre.”

The Market Garden, which will be next to the famous cockle stalls, will be visible from every direction due to its 7.5m-high pergola, the shape of which mirrors the market’s monumental domed roof.

The new attraction’s design and name were decided by the public as part of a consultation exercise this year. Traders had an input too.

Key for the traders was maintaining sight lines across the market. This was achieved by designing an open pergola without any walls but onto which decorative features can be hung to add greenery and create atmosphere.

Once built, The Market Garden will stand on an under-used and relatively unattractive space in the centre of the market. It currently has tables rented by the day by casual traders.

They will cease trading in that area after this Saturday but will remain in the market, hiring space at a smart new area a few yards away and still next to the world-famous stalls that sell cockles, laver-bread and other delicacies.

More: www.swanseaindoormarket.co.uk

How Swansea’s Market’s casual trading area looks now

Swansea Council

Go ahead for new team to deliver transformational Afan Valley resort

Go ahead for new team to deliver transformational Afan Valley resort

A new delivery team has been given conditional planning approval to take forward the transformational Afan Valley leisure resort project which could create hundreds of jobs and provide significant social and environmental benefits for communities in the area.

The new team led by the Salamanca Group, a privately-held merchant banking business and home to experienced investors with a proven track record in delivery, were granted permission to progress the project to its next stages by members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday.

Now named the Wildfox Resort Afan Valley, the adventure resort will encompass a hotel, hundreds of lodges, cafes, bars and facilities for skiing, hiking, cycling and other outdoor pursuits.

Martin Bellamy, Chairman and CEO of the Salamanca Group confirmed: “We are creating a new team with the expertise, finance and capability to deliver the Wildfox Resort to achieve positive social and environmental benefits for local communities. We appreciate the complexities of this project, the frustrations and disappointments of the past and understand what is required to turn it around.”

Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, Cllr Ted Latham, said: “This is an exciting proposal with potentially huge benefits for our residents in the Afan Valley and for the County Borough as a whole.”

Peter Moore, who developed Center Parcs in the UK, said: “I am delighted to be working with the new team to bring this project forward and remain passionate about the potential of the resort.”

Karen Jones Chief Executive of Neath Port Talbot Council, added: ‘The council has been working with the applicant and their agents for some time to ensure sufficient information was submitted to enable the council’s Planning Committee to thoroughly assess the proposed development. As part of this process, officers have been providing advice and guidance and I now look forward to working with the new delivery team to ensure benefits associated with the proposed development are maximised and potential impacts minimised.”

The planning committee’s resolution follows a period of uncertainty after the original decision to grant planning permission in March 2019, including significant matters of concern raised in the national press and on television concerning a director of Afan Valley Ltd.

The company subsequently went into administration, but with the support of Council Members and Officers, positive discussions with Peter Moore and Duff and Phelps (who were appointed administrators and interim managers of the leisure resort project) led to the submission of the new business plan, and at its Tuesday meeting, the council’s planning committee passed a further, final resolution confirming it was content the Wildfox Resort Afan Valley development is deliverable.

Neath Port Talbot Council

Regional Food Conference 2021

Regional Food Conference 2021

FOOD FOR THE REGION

5th & 6th October 2021

A Major Conversation about our Regional Food System, brought to you by Swansea Environmental Forum, Grwp Resilience and 4theRegion.

Hosted over Zoom over two consecutive days, the Regional Food System Conference brought together over 100 people to discuss the issues and opportunities relating to our food system in South West Wales.

REGIONAL FOOD ROUNDTABLE

Prior to the conference, we invited thought-leaders and experts to discuss their perspectives on key issues and opportunities relating to our regional food system, including Patrick Holden from Sustainable Food Trust, Katie Palmer from Food Sense Wales and Jane Powell from Food Society Wales.

View our Food & Farming Playlist here.

EVENT COVERAGE

ARISING ACTIONS & THEMES

Capturing the key messages from this two-day co-production event, here are some of the recommendations and responsibilities for communities, businesses, organisations and individuals at every level.


Local Authorities & Policy Makers

  • Continue conversations with local authorities to offer land up to community groups.
  • Create an assembly made up of people to keep up these conversations and take some of the ideas forward into forming solutions.  Councils and the Welsh Government need to be involved so that they can tackle all the barriers being faced.
  • We desperately need an overarching food and farming strategy for Wales that links up climate, biodiversity, health and economy.
  • Ensure that government departments work together with organisations both regionally and locally
  • Education/health/local government all need to work hand in hand to ensure the survival of food and farming in Wales that enhances our environment.
  • Taxing unhealthy food and subsidising fresh/local food would go a long way to solving the poverty trap.
  • Many government groups are still working in silos, who can we get to put pressure on them to collaborate?
  • Make it compulsory for County Councils to free up unused land for growing projects.
  • Increase government support to grow healthy food.
  • Communication from local authority with the local community early in the process of assigning land use.
  • Councils and the Welsh Government need to be involved so that they can tackle all barriers being faced.

Communities

  • Local food not only improves our food security but also improves the resilience of our local economies, especially our farming communities, who need support from all of us to transition to sustainable and regenerative farming. 
  • Across the UK producing 50% of our food leaves people highly vulnerable – that needs to increase upwards to at least 80%
  • There needs to be less divide in society, especially with food inequality.
  • Scaling up of public community gardening schemes and education on how communities can grow a small but significant amount of fresh produce.
  • Make community orchards more commonplace.
  • Increase the number of community supported agriculture projects.
  • Increase access to affordable and nutritious food across small, rural communities.
  • Community food growing needs to be fully inclusive, with funding and training. 
  • These events could become the norm and an established feature of every community; 
  • Build the awareness of the power of the collective.
  • Community gardening should be firmly established as alternative social prescribing for people.
  • Increase the importance of embedding a new culture which could be via linking up stakeholders and creating networks.
  • Connect people who would like to learn more about farming with farms who need pickers, milkers etc.
  • Replace the present, highly centralized industrial food model.
  • Community shared meals can bring people together.

Individuals

  • It is difficult for a lot of people to get food that is affordable, locally produced and environmentally sustainable.
  • We all need to be empowered food citizens
  • Get to know your own local area, what is produced there, how you can access it, even forage for it. 
  • Instill people with the skills and resilience to face challenges. 
  • It’s for each individual to come together with interest groups to ensure these conversations continue.
  • Cost of real quality food is really prohibitive to many families, especially with all the reductions in universal credit and increases in fuel and energy bills.
  • Spread the word on what local initiatives exist. Increase awareness, both of community activities by consumers but also for community projects to be aware of grants and support they can apply for.
  • Grow what you can using what space you may have.
  • Realise the value of your food if you grow it yourself.
  • Share and donate surplus food. Engagement through different and more empowering models than food banks.

Businesses & Producers

  • Farmers and growers need to upscale growing to make it financially efficient. 
  • We need to accept what we are able to do in Wales – some things we can do, some we can’t.
  • We need the right people working in business to break down silos and work together.
  • Tackle the struggles of competition against factory farmed produce.
  • Meat, dairy and plant based diets are not a black and white issue. 
  • Focus on producing high quality vegetables, fruit, grain, meat, milk and eggs using regenerative practices.
  • Create opportunities to show how important skilled chefs and producers are to our economy.
  • Engage with hospitality businesses to ask what products they need.
  • We must facilitate local producers to remain viable and quickly ramp-up opportunities for new entrants into farming and horticulture.
  • We need to involve tech specialists to assist food producers in collectively getting fair prices at markets/or direct to consumers.
  • Enable closer connections between small food producers
  • More engagement and understanding of what produce is produced locally. Perhaps tours could be a way of showcasing local producers.
  • Wales has limitations in terms of the climate, it doesn’t enable us to be that efficient.
  • It’s always going to be a problem in Wales just because of our land base and our climate.
  • Increase knowledge of what’s already here for producers, such as local food washing facilities, abattoirs, depot points, etc. 
  • Create an accreditation or branding for businesses to showcase that they are proud to be users of local, sustainable produce.
  • Put pressure on supermarkets to be local and use this as a way to reach different consumers who may not engage in the food system in other ways.
  • Highlight the importance of informal distribution links between producers and consumers.
  • Stricter labelling of food explaining where it comes from, resources used to produce it, carbon footprint, etc.
  • Scale up and increase the number of local food partnerships.
  • Work with supermarkets to increase the amount of local produce.

Procurement

  • There is a huge opportunity to take control over our local supply chains. 
  • Shortening of supply chains and localisation could be key in helping the reliance on food banks and how far we travel to get produce.
  • Wales could be a first for completely self-sufficient growing and local distribution of food.
  • We should compare the issues with the food supply chain to historical issues faced in communities with coal.
  • Increase the value of food in our procurement system.
  • Brexit is an issue, some supply chains have become longer as a result.
  • Procurement locally for hospitals and schools would generate business locally and help keep people healthy. 
  • The supermarket price ignores the social and environmental costs which society has to pay.
  • There needs to be demand to drive the supply and for the producer to change their route to market. 
  • Milk vending machines have allowed farmers to cut out the middleman and make a better return, without a major cost to the consumer. 
  • The true cost of producing cheap food needs to be transparent and damage to the soil, biodiversity and climate must be built into the costs.
  • More joined up system to create scale – not about making individual suppliers bigger necessarily, more about joining them

Education

  • Education surrounding growing food, cooking and food confidence is key for future generations. 
  • Growing, producing, cooking and preparation skills are lacking in the curriculum. 
  • More education is needed on seasonal eating.
  • Every school ought to ensure that every child takes part in growing, harvesting, preparing and eating food.
  • Use primary schools as a way to cascade knowledge about food systems across generations.
  • Educate people on foragable foods, edible flowers and remove the stigma surrounding food procured yourself.
  • Supermarkets should engage with local schools and communities, teaching and supporting local growing groups/educating individuals and communities on how to cook.
  • Schools could organise trips to farms and encourage a hands-on approach to learning about the food system.
  • The task may be not to change the curriculum, but to support teachers in delivering it. 
  • Schemes such as Healthy Schools can help teachers.
  • Horticulture and agroecology usually aren’t covered until higher education.
  • Tell children and young people the truth about food production and give them power to make decisions.
  • Make learning about cooking more creative and fun. Many food-box schemes use interesting methods to educate.
  • Remove the stigma of jobs being “low-skilled” in the farming industry.
  • Youth groups, scouts and guides can help with education outside of school.
  • There are a lot of opportunities for young people within the food sector and education.
  • Invest more into education and extra-curricular activities such as producing and growing.

Environment

  • The climate emergency is a huge challenge, especially with health and food security.
  • Be clear and aware on the impact our global food systems has on climate change
  • Reduce the number of animals and animal products being shipped across the world.
  • We need to address single use plastic and throwaway waste. The plastic wrap our fruit and vegetables are wrapped in, as well as single use utensils often found in catering and retail.
  • We need to do better than recycling, we need to reduce waste of all types.
  • Knowing how to correctly store produce is important to reduce food waste.
  • We need to think about how our food systems adapt to the effects of climate change like drought, flooding, wildfires etc. 
  • Food waste that goes into landfill is a huge contributor to emissions. Food waste needs to be tackled if we are to reduce our emissions.
  • Wales’ economy is very reliant on an industry (steel) that is a huge contributor to climate change
  • Desperately need the end to battery chicken farming, cruel, not nutritious as a food source and bad for the climate. 
  • The issue of ammonia pollution from the poultry industry has a large impact on air quality.
  • We have to remind ourselves that humanity is devastating ecological systems and all our local actions should be avoiding anything that might tip this beyond a point of no return
  • Address the environmental impact of the food system by changing the way land and seas are managed
  • Adoption of more sustainable farming, forestry and fishing practices. 
  • Promoting sustainable agricultural and agroecological practices that work with nature to reduce artificial inputs and lead to a reduction in pollution. 

Land & Forestry

  • We need to encourage regenerative practises such as food forests and agroecology.
  • Mixed farming seems to have little support and monocultures are encouraged.
  • 14% of land in Wales is suitable for arable cropping. It has to be examined if we can use land to grow in different ways, using agroecology and urban spaces.
  • Land is expensive to buy, and farmers are reluctant to lease for a sufficiently long period.
  • Free ranging chickens much prefer to forage in broadleaf woodland than on pasture; if the woodlands are well planned, they can be used for food production too.
  • Consider agroforestry and permaculture solutions in strategies for community food resilience. 
  • Planting trees to make forests can be beneficial for food. Natural woodlands are also food forests.
  • Trees and hedgerows can work harmoniously with farming.
  • Look at creative methods of growing, such as vertical farming.
  • Increase access to growing spaces for communities.
  • New developments should consider community allotments and green space.
  • Use empty buildings to create more markets, greengrocers, butchers, etc. Make these affordable to run by reducing business rates.

Health

  • There are health implications with pesticide use and soil contamination.
  • We need to prioritize soil health, measurement of crop quality and nutrient density
  • We need to tackle aggressive advertising and remove processed food as easy choices.
  • Reliance on processed food can lead to diet-related health issues. 
  • Increased plant production can drive a release of land to support more tree planting or bioenergy crops. These measures imply a shift towards meeting healthy eating guidelines that would also have a positive impact on human health.
  • Poor mental health in agriculture is high. We need to increase support for workers in the industry.
  • Raise awareness of resources; Many farmers don’t know how to access other markets, grants, etc.
  • Remove the term “organic” as a marketing buzzword and replace the labelling to legally contain all the chemicals it contains.
  • Bionutrient meters can measure nutrient density in food in real-time prior to purchase.
  • If we don’t get diet related disease under control, we risk overwhelming the NHS or having to cut other public services to pay for it. 
  • Healthy food requires understanding of what foods and nutrition sustain good health.

General Comments

  • Meat and dairy make up only a third of the calories we eat. Yet 85% of UK farmland is used for feeding and rearing livestock. However about 80% of Welsh land is Less Favoured Area and is suitable for growing grass but much more challenging for growing fruit and veg – this is why we have lots of sheep in Wales converting the inedible grass into edible protein.
  • It’s important to understand why we make the choices we make. How important is it to eat bananas and avocados? Is it natural to eat food that doesn’t grow in the climate in which you live? The further we get from the source, the producers, the more unaware we are of the impact of our choices— unfair trade, human slavery, inaccurate reporting of pesticide use, etc. At what point is it not worth the convenience?
  • Community discussion events as the norm.  Bringing together a full, inclusive cross section of the community – farmers, landowners, suppliers, shop owners and supermarket managers, ordinary people from every sector of the community, activists, everyone – to listen to each other, talk and discuss together, broaden their perspectives, develop mutual understanding and debate what to do about it; share ideas and start to form collectives to make their ideas happen.  
  • We should realize the benefit of the natural world, the wonder of encouraging the wellbeing benefits of actually connecting with nature . This is also  all very much about working within communities because we’re all in this together as well, so bartering, swapping, exchanging, sharing ideas, always being open to new ways of doing things, listening to others, and working together. It’s really a big part of the way forward.
  • The starting point for addressing the environmental impact of the food system lies in changing the way land and seas are managed, with the adoption of more sustainable farming, forestry and fishing practices. Precision farming, agroecological systems, agroforestry, low-impact silvicultural systems and innovative horticultural systems, are options being looked at to change land use. Promoting sustainable agricultural and agroecological practices that work with nature, will reduce artificial inputs, leading to a reduction in pollution. While the volume of production may also be reduced, profitability for landowners is often improved due to a reduction in costs. 

 

NEXT STEPS

Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend and contribute to the wide ranging discussion. This is just the start of what we hope will be an ongoing conversation leading to real change involving our regional food system.

We will be updating this page with the full event report and a full Manifesto using ideas, comments and opportunities shared in the event.

There was a consensus that we should keep this conversation going, with a regular regional community-led food system forum through which people can engage meaningfully with decision-makers, producers, retailers, farmers and each other.

If you are a regional organisation that recognises the need to involve communities more in your service design, strategy or policy development, or if we can support your upcoming consultations or community engagement objectives, please get in touch. We welcome the support of regional partners and look forward to hearing how you intend to address the recommendations of this conference.

And if you are someone who would like to stay involved with conversations and activities relating to food and farming in our region, one way you can do this is to reach out to us (email zoe@4theregion.org.uk)

We will also be emailing all conference attendees with future events that we think you will be interested in – and we invite you to keep us posted about your projects and initiatives so that we can share, connect and support!

Market management job is dream role for Darren

Market management job is dream role for Darren

The man just appointed to manage Swansea Market says it is his dream role.

Swansea-raised Darren Cox is eager to make the iconic venue as welcoming and engaging as possible to traders, neighbours and customers.

He became market supervisor after a 27-year career in private sector businesses.

He now heads a market that, in non-pandemic times, attracts more than four million shoppers a year.

Managed by Swansea Council, it is the permanent home to more than 100 businesses, hosts casual traders and puts on regular events.

Darren said: “The market is so close to my heart that I’m thrilled to get this role – it’s a dream come true.

“Retail around the UK hasn’t had it easy for the past few years but I’m confident that the market can help traders – and the city – come back strongly as we work our way out of the pandemic.

“Swansea Market gives shoppers something that online shopping can’t – the human touch – and I want to ensure that all who visit feel safe, secure and welcome.

“We have strong relationships with our neighbours such as the Quadrant and the fantastic new arena and we’ll help Swansea as it continues to develop in such a positive way; the progress made on regeneration through the pandemic has been remarkable.”

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “I welcome Darren to this pivotal role – he’s passionate about Swansea, the city centre and the market.

“He’ll be a vital source of help and information for traders, and is thinking hard about how to build upon the market’s success, retain existing customers and attract new shoppers.

“Our award-winning market is a beating heart of the city centre and Darren has a major role to play in that.

“He joins the market with improvements on the way – a venue that’ll become increasingly popular and busy as our £1bn city centre regeneration work evolves.”

Darren was raised in Sketty, educated at Olchfa School and vividly remembers being taken around the market by his parents as a young boy.

His first job – soon after graduating from University College Birmingham – was in Tenerife as a holiday rep. He then worked on the island for 25 years in roles such as commercial and operations management.

Before joining the market he was operations manager with the Swansea-based La Braseria group for two years.

Darren lives in Swansea with his partner Natasha and her daughter. He also has an adult son and daughter.

At the market, he replaces John Burns who retired as supervisor in the summer.

Last year the venue was named Britain’s best large indoor market by the National Association of British Market Authorities.

Market online: www.swanseaindoormarket.co.uk

Swansea Council