Complex for ex-offenders sparks outrage
A "NIGHTMARE scenario" could develop if ex- offenders are housed near a Llanelli children's nursery, opponents to the plan have warned.
Swansea-based organisation Caer Las Cymru's proposal to convert the former Moose Hall in Old Castle Road into a home for up to six former convicts was discussed at a stormy meeting on Friday night.
Residents spoke of fears over anti-social behaviour and crime, but the plan sparked an especially furious response from managers of the nearby Cylch Meithrin in Moriah Chapel's vestry.
Catrin Jones, who runs the nursery, said: "I think they should put the safety of children before criminals.
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"We have been established here for a number of years.
"There are young mothers who wait for their children outside when they collect them. Why should they be at risk?"
Rachel Pegler, who is on the Cylch committee and a parent of a child there, said: "This is a big concern."
She pointed out the youngsters had to use an outside toilet which members of the public could also access.
"There was a drug addict in the toilet a while ago," she said.
"We won't have a policeman on site and it's too late when something has happened."
Elli ward councillor John Jenkins backed up those worries.
He said: "My concerns are that potentially unsuitable clients could be placed near a nursery and the potential for a nightmare scenario can easily be envisaged."
Residents have vowed to do all they can to stop the town becoming a "dumping ground" for ex-offenders, pledging to take their fight to the decision-makers at the Senedd and in Westminster.
Vanessa Marsh, chairwoman of the Safer Communities Action Group, said: "Old Castle Road is entirely the wrong place for this.
"If this goes ahead we don't know where these ex-offenders will come from.
"They will be category three offenders with a high risk of re-offending. They could be drug-takers, ex-child offenders or burglars."
Howard Woodhouse, who chaired the meeting, added: "These offenders can come in 24 hours a day to the property.
"Apart from the six offenders, others may be bused in for training facilities during the daytime."
Residents said there was already a problem with drug-taking in the area and that the proposed home would make matters worse.
Tyisha councillor Jeff Owen said: "We must put pressure on, as Llanelli is a dumping ground — spread it everywhere else.
"These people have to go somewhere, but we don't need more in Llanelli."
Caer Las — which sparked outrage with plans for a similar scheme in Queen Victoria Road last year — was blasted as "arrogant" and "evasive" for failing to send a representative to answer questions.
And despite repeated requests from the Star, nobody from the organisation was available to comment on the matter this week either.