Since being elected in 2004 I've strived to get things done around our community. I thought I'd do a quick walk through with my own memory lane to recap on some of these including any press cuttings I could find. Before standing to be your councillor I was secretary of Swiss Valley Residents Association from 2002 to 2004. I continue to work with all groups in our community and am active on Swiss Valley Residents Association, Swiss Valley Youth Club, Swiss Valley Community Centre Committee, and have Governorships on Swiss Valley and Bryngwyn schools (both of which I went to).
LOCAL ELECTIONS May 5th 2022
The only 2 candidates living in our area:
County Council Candidate
MORGAN Anthony Giles X
Llanelli Rural Council Candidates
BOWEN Stephen Royston X
MORGAN Anthony Giles X
Shortly after the elections in 2004 I was keen to reinforce our identity in Swiss Valley and asked that 3 village signs be erected. Whilst Felinfoel is on our postcodes, a generation had grown up seeing Swiss Valley as a separate entity and I wanted to do something to put us on the map!
The lampposts in and around Swiss Valley at the turn of the millennium were in need of dire replacement. This was something I campaigned for and the Llaneli Star took a photo of myself and residents association member Vernon Howells at one location. A rollout and update program started soon afterwards.
Top Ravine Path
In 2005 Swiss Valley residents association secured a £5000 grant from Llanelli Rural council to put a tarmac path into the top ravine behind the park. They went out to tender and secured a contractor, and the path remains there to this day.
Swiss Valley Shops Area
The land around the shops used to look drab and dreary. Concrete slabs that never got cleaned used to makeup the majority of the frontage by the shops. In 2006 supporting your residents association and following several letters complaining to the then land owner, they agreed to transfer the land to us via Llanelli Rural Council. At a meeting of the council on 21st November 2006 the council agreed to the proposal. From then on the area has been maintained by the council and looks far more appealing than it used to. In the past I have accompanied your residents association to do a bit of pruning/weeding, but now its all looked after by the council.
Christmas Tree Event
Once the land around the shops had been transferred and cultivated we were able to plan the very first Christmas tree event in Swiss Valley. Every year since 2007 we have had a tree in Swiss Valley and we've had great fun in putting them up and taking them down. School children sing Christmas carols before and after switch on, and Father Christmas joins us. We were proud our most famous son and resident Mr Phil Bennett OBE turned on our first tree.
Christmas Tree Event
Christmas Tree Event
Just at the end of my first term in 2008 we finally got to the end of a long running issue in Swiss Valley. Our sewer systems were adopted following a campaign by many that had started decades before. This was a huge victory and the main sewers in Swiss Valley would now be maintained by Welsh Water, whereas previously they were considered private and individuals could be liable for any costs should a sewer pipe collapse or block. The picture for the news article was fittingly taken on Derek Taylor's lawn. Derek was a former Swiss Valley Residents Association secretary and sewerage campaigner. Derek did a lot to resolve the sewage issues and I was pleased to get it over the final hurdle. Derek sadly passed away before this announcement was made.
Post Office Closure
In 2008 Gordon Brown's Labour party embarked on the closure of thousands of post office locations across the uk. We fought like heck, had a public meeting in the community centre, got a petition going which was signed by thousands but to no avail. It is still an emotive topic for me and angers me that it closed.
In trying to slow traffic down at various points around Swiss Valley I asked for 2 speed indicators to be erected. One at Llethri Road and the other on the A476 by the reservoir car park as you drive into Swiss Valley from Llannon. Later on we also had speed humps and a partial pavement installed, which local residents had campaigned for.
In 2007 we sent a questionnaire around the area asking if a youth club would be supported. I attended Swiss Valley youth club many years previously and was determined to introduce one again. The feedback from questionnaires that were placed in the shop and through letterboxes was positive so we went full speed to get one up and running. With the help of CYCA, Sarah Fry and Sian Messellwaite, and myself we got it off the ground and up and running in 2009. We have since passed 2 milestones, celebrating 5 years in 2014 and 10 years in 2019. Unfortunately we were going to celebrate at the end of our 10th year but covid hit so Youth Club finished early. We are hoping to return in September 2022 if COVID allows!
School Extension and Celebrations
In January 2009 our school extension opened. A new block replacing old demountable buildings. This million pound extension was important in the schools history and coincided with the start of the 40th anniversary celebrations. Although staff and pupils had to endure upheaval and disruption whilst the extension was being built .... the end product was well worth the wait!
We celebrated the schools 50th anniversary in 2019 with a variety of events culminating in a concert in the Diplomat Hotel.
Over the years I've been proud to donate ipads as a local businessman, and give cheques to the school on behalf of your residents association and community centre committees.
One of the backdrops to the pictures is a mural on the school wall painted during COVID by our very own resident Mr Steve Jenkins. Steve's artwork can be seen all over Llanelli and beyond and has brightened up the walls in many places.
During COVID food from the school garden was packaged by pupils and sent to local foodbanks for distribution.
Stopping Care Home Closures
In March 2011 we as councillors finally voted on whether to keep Caemaen and St Pauls open. I had attended many meetings and been approached by concerned Swiss Valley residents, some of whom had relatives in one of them. In a lively debate my point was simple, the council needed a balanced approach to care homes, it needed to have its own and engage private companies, but seemed to me to be going too far towards privatisation. I wanted the council to retain these important services and run them from their own buildings. To that end I rebelled and voted against the establishment. The public gallery was packed and the news was greeted loudly. Fast forward to covid and care worker pay. Where would we be in Llanelli without council run services and the hospital? Private companies aren't being paid enough to run the services so thank heavens we kept our facilities local and OPEN!
In partnership with your residents association we have planted many sapplings over the years. These have been in the lower and upper ravines. In conjunction with the school and Welsh Water we have also planted trees in the reservoir. Global warming has been front and centre in the last few years. We have been planting trees for years and will continue to do so where possible.
Tress Planting in ravine
Tress Planting in ravine
Prince Philip Hospital Fight
The hospital fight has at times felt like a boomerang. You think your getting somewhere and winning then back it comes again. As then Leader of your community council from 2010 we engaged and fought the health boards plans to downgrade Prince Philip Hospital. We ran a highly successful legal campaign and secured a victory along with our friends in SOSPAN. The hospital service was reconfigured but a doctor led minor injuries clinic remained together with an acute assessment unit which has proved very successful. Again fast forward to covid, and what we've all learned is we need local services close to people. The health board still plans a super hospital in St Clears but is a big hospital really the way forward?
Swiss Valley Park
The park in Swiss Valley had been looking tired for some time. In 2015 after investment from both Llanelli Rural Council and other grant funding we got our new park. My son was happy along with many other parents and children around the area.
20 MPH Zone
In 2016 the initial zone of 20mph was expanded to include most of Swiss Valley, pushed out from just being around the school. In line with new Welsh Government rules all urban roads will shortly be declared 20mph. You always get the idiot drivers but in terms of feedback this reduction has been firmly welcomed. When policed over a number of days some 96 drivers were caught speeding by Dyfed-Powys Police. We have also had Swiss Valley pupils operating speed guns and talking to drivers who were going over the limit.
Pelican Crossing - Llethri Road
In 2019 and in line with parental concerns we introduced a Pelican crossing to Llethri road. Llethri road is an artery to the M4 and I think we can all see how busy it gets so this piece of equipment is well placed and provides a safe area to cross along a very busy road. We currently have a safe routes to school bid in with Welsh government which if successful will lead to more safety measures along that road and around Swiss Valley school.
Park Howard Collaboration
Only a few years ago the future of Park Howard seemed in doubt, and we were all worried. Following the last election I have been part of a collaboration group overseeing improvements in the park, working alongside Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council, Park Howard Association, and Friends of Llanelli Museum. The park remains our cherished asset and we want it to get the investment it deserves without threat of being sold off.
Whether talking to Swiss Valley school pupils, mingling with Youth Club members or helping resolve anti social issues around our area I have always worked closely with our community policing team.
Swiss Valley Reservoir
At the last election in 2017 I promised to give us a solution to the problems at the reservoir. I wrote to the Managing Director of Welsh Water outlining our concerns as to the current management of the facility. I highlighted how the reservoir wasn't being looked after, with litter everywhere, bins not being emptied and muddy paths. We also saw a massive area of trees chopped down all without our knowledge. Following on from that I had more meetings and worked alongside several key individuals from Welsh Water and Llanelli Rural council, until a community adoption was agreed upon. The community adoption was the first of its kind in Wales and has allowed us to improve the reservoir after securing around £300k of grants. With this money the car parks have been upgraded, along with the paths around the reservoir. Additional benches and wheelchair friendly seating has also been installed or is about to be installed. A new pontoon with wheelchair access has been built and the toilet block refurbished. A regular patrol checks for litter, and empties the bins. We have introduced permits for fishing in the Lower Reservoir and restocked it in conjunction with local anglers. The permits allow us to have a small income that can be used to further improve the running of the reservoir and sustain it longer term. There are now regularly organised water sports such as canoeing. All of this you may have seen in the local newspapers and social media and the Weatherman Walking BBC series has also paid the reservoir a visit, and that programme will be broadcast on Friday May 20th. S4C’s ’Iaith ar Daith’ also filmed on location there recently. I always knew we all thought a lot of the reservoir but the number of positive comments on how the improvement works have been received has been phenomenal. It’s a great success story and I will continue working to ensure the adoption goes from strength to strength. During covid this good news story was very well received particularly when options to leave the house and socialise were limited. This fabulous facility is such a jewel in our crown, and if you haven't been there recently I’d encourage you to pay a visit, as you may be pleasantly surprised!
ELECTIONS 2022 - Thursday May 5th
BEING INDEPENDENT ON 2 COUNCILS
Being your INDEPENDENT County Councillor gives me access to a substantial set of resources when solving issues up here in Swiss Valley, and for drawing down investment into our area. Being your Llanelli Rural Councillor gives me access to more resources again. 1 councillor working within both councils is our best platform to resolve issues. At this election we again see candidates who don’t live in our community standing. They haven't attended any community group meetings or volunteered to help out at any of our events.
I will continue to do 2 jobs, saving the cost of another councillor up here in Swiss Valley, no other candidate living in Swiss Valley can offer you that in these elections but I need your help. That is why I ask for your support to be returned to both Carmarthenshire County Council and Llanelli Rural Council. This is very important from my perspective. As an INDEPENDENT candidate I am beholden to no political party. My aim is to look after Swiss Valley but so often I see party politics enter our lives. I will challenge party political hypocrisy. My party are the people and residents of Swiss Valley, and what best serves your interests. Talking with so many of you, I know that there is a strong feeling that your councillor should be LOCAL, and LIVE in Swiss Valley.
You can also support another local candidate in these elections. Mr Stephen Bowen (Cofia Cabs) who lives in Swiss Valley is also standing as a Llanelli Rural councilllor. Steve has lived in Swiss Valley for 18 years and runs a local taxi business. For the first time in some years you can return 2 local candidates who live and take an interest in your area. If you feel able to support me please support Steve too.
MY PITCH TO YOU
Having read this pamphlet I hope you can see that I have been a strong force for the improvement of our area. I’m proud of what has been achieved since 2004 and will continue to work in this vein for the next 5 years, with your support.
Swiss Valley is a great place to live. I still have the drive and enthusiasm to move our community forward, whether it be for small things such as street nameplates or major things such as reservoir improvements. Whatever council is responsible I will hold them accountable for the large amount of council tax we all pay in Swiss Valley. I want as much of our taxes back, and my view is no-one cares what council provides the facilities in our community, so long as they are there, readily accessible, and looked after properly.
A vote for me also secures Swiss Valley Youth Club funding, and is a vote for the positive work carried out by our voluntary Residents Association and Community Centre Committees who have done so many great community events and projects over the years.
I am the only candidate who has consistently been active in our community, and not just in the run up to these or any other elections. I have brought to a conclusion all the major issues we have faced, sewers, childrens play ground, shops, youth club, school modernisation, reservoir and worked to resolve each of them. I hope my achievements to date will allow you to lend me your vote and I will continue to keep you informed as your Llanelli Star correspondent and through my online newsletter www.swissvalleynews.co.uk, together with any other meetings we may need in the future.