Caebrwyn has already covered criticism by AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas of the peculiarly inconsistent approach taken to planning by Carmarthenshire County Council (here), so just a brief update from Cneifiwr. The original press release can be found here.
At issue this time is a decision by the planners to restrict development at a site in Llandovery to 32 homes to ensure that the number of houses built stays in line with the current Unitary Development Plan. The developers had been seeking permission to build 61. Only a few weeks ago the same planners had no problem recommending approval for an application in Penybanc which will result in 289 houses being built on a site where the UDP limit is 150.
Planning is always going to have its controversies, no matter which council is involved, but it is safe to say that in recent years no council in Wales has hit the headlines as often as Carmarthenshire.
Over in Maesybont the extraordinary and appalling story of the battle between Trisha Breckman, Eddie Roberts and Andrew Thomas, a neighbouring "farmer", road haulier and sometime scrap dealer, has come to the end of another chapter with the suspension by Mr Thomas for the time being of quarrying.
Despite not growing any crops or keeping livestock other than a few horses, Carmarthenshire County Council regards Mr Thomas as a farmer, which means that he is permitted to carry out certain activities such as quarrying as a legitimate part of his agricultural operations.
When at one point Mrs Breckman pointed out that many of the large commercial vehicles cluttering up Mr Thomas's farm, such as an old fire engine, were not exactly consistent with farming, the planners explained that the fire engine was needed to hose down the yard - despite the absence of what most farmers would regard as livestock.
A catalogue of all the various bizarre planning decisions and scandals from the last few years would fill several large volumes. A couple of years ago readers may remember that the Carmarthen Journal gave the impression that the Wales Audit Office might be about to launch an investigation. It turned out that the WAO was merely considering whether it ought to think about taking a closer look.
Public confidence in the planning authority has been at a very low ebb for a long time, and the latest decisions at Penybanc and Llandovery will only serve to reinforce public perceptions that all is very far from well in Spilman Street.
The trouble is that the WAO's track record does not inspire confidence either. Time for an independent inquiry.