Carmarthenshire is more than able to punch its weight in the world of the media. One of the UK’s leading satirical magazines is usually preoccupied with the great, the good and the terrible and has featured notables like Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Donald Trump and now, Emlyn Dole. The latest edition of private Eye carries a piece in its Rotten Boroughs, a column, which has featured Carmarthenshire County Council on numerous occasions. The article suggests that Mr Dole may be impressed by the magazine’s award for his boss.
The new leader of Carmarthenshire County Council Plaid Cymru’s Emlyn Dole is alleged to have angered residents at his village in Pontyberem after a mobile home on the property he shares with his partner Gwenda was set alight. The blaze occurred on January 2nd a Bank Holiday even though the council’s own policies advise against burning fires on a Bank Holiday. Their policies also advise the recycling of bulky materials and they have just launched a campaign focusing on the clean air act. To add insult to injury an elderly resident in Dole’s village lost her mobile home to fire on Christmas Day.
Mr Dole has been in the news (Why Did Dole Demolish Two Historic Barns?) Llanelli Herald August 2015, for previous insensitivities when he knocked down two barns, which it is alleged only had planning permission for barn conversions. The application for barn conversions was approved on July 31 2012 and it was noted that the barns were structurally sound. Dyfed Archaeology had noted that the barns were of some historic importance, nonetheless they were demolished. Architect for the development Dennis Davies went so far as to claim that his name was used on planning documents to claim the barns were not structurally sound even though he had washed his hands of the scheme. Mr Davies summed up by saying , “The evidence suggests that Mr Dole is not playing the game everyone else in the county has to play which is going through due process.”
Carmarthenshire resident Andrew Redman fell foul of the authority’s planning rules when he was told to remove a mobile horse shelter from his field . He claims he was also told to remove the washed stone from beneath the shelter, which the council claimed was in breach of planning regulations. Mr Redman pointed out the numerous shelters and enormous sheds, many not mobile, which littered the land in Carmarthenshire he claimed without planning permission but, which were he says allowed to remain.
In October 2015 Persimmon homes claimed they were given the go ahead by the council to bulldoze swathes of land, cut down trees and dig up hedgerows and pavements on a proposed site at Hendy in Carmarthenshire. Residents awoke to find total devastation of an enormous site. Despite being in breach of planning procedures the developers unlike Mr Redman were given a ticking off and told to cease until the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed. Llanelli MP Nia Griffiths commented at the time, “There is a rumour going around that you can do anything in Carmarthenshire and you will get retrospective planning given to you.”
In March 2016 Mr Dole explained away the dumping of waste materials including asbestos roofing sheets, which were found over a hedge at the rear of Capel Ifan Farm as historic and relating to previous owners of the farm.
In August 2016 football clubs turned up at their local parks only to find contaminated materials including glass, wood, ceramic tiles and remnants from wooden cabinets on their pitches following work by contractors brought in to repair worn areas of grass. Despite photographic evidence to the contrary the council denied the dumping of contaminated waste.
In September 2016 Mr Dole took the lead in rescuing one of Llanelli’s most cherished parks, Parc Howard, which had been left to the children of the town. He was in the news again when bulldozers moved in to the park one Monday morning and began digging a part of the park up in preparation for an enormous trampoline. It appears that someone forgot to ask for planning permission, notify the neighbours and to look at the maps, which indicated mine shafts beneath the excavated site.There followed loud calls for an inquiry after Labour councillors claimed Mr Dole was bulldozing his way to developing a park owned by the children of Llanelli.
There appeared to be an infestation of rats following Mr Dole’s appointment as leader with numerous Carmarthenshire residents calling for the ‘Rat Catcher’ to be brought back. One elderly couple, Dorothy McDonald and her husband were left in a mass of maggots and dead rats at their council bungalow. Sadly Mr Mc Donald passed away shortly after the couple had received help.
At Christmas time 2016 Jackie White who has spina bifida hit the local headlines after being left in her council bungalow in Llanelli with nothing more than bread and jam to live off with no cooking facilities and she claims having been told that her case would be looked at on January 10th 2017. Following the media storm Jackie was provided with some white goods.
As leader, Emlyn Dole presided over a right old mess at the Pembrey Country Park where one former employee blew the whistle on alleged fraud and criminality at the park only to find himself unfairly dismissed. In May 2016 the Llanelli Herald exposed a scandal at the country park including allegations of fraud, bullying, assault and theft at the park. The Town Mayor has called for a forensic audit of the park’s finances but the council claim ‘there is nothing to see here’.
Despite the bad press Mr Dole like the phoenix, appears to have risen from the ashes and held on to his leadership. Setting fire to a mobile home may not constitute a crime but given that Jacqui Thompson may soon find herself homeless following the CEO’s claims for legal costs one is reminded of the old saying, ‘Charity Begins At Mobile Home’.
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