Driving through the communities of Bryn and Bynea, you’ll likely hear the sounds of heavy machinery being operated, drills being used and big lorries driving through its narrow roads.
The two Carmarthenshire villages sit side by side and act as a neighbour to Llanelli town centre, but until the 1960s the area was made up of farmland.
Today, the area is a little different. Huge developments have engulfed large green spaces, smaller projects have popped up and more new homes and residents have joined the area.
Over the past decade, the community has seen between 1,000 and 1,200 new homes and developments built and ongoing projects confirm that more are on the way.
New developments include 34 new homes in the Dylan area of Bryn which are due for completion in 2021, 20 new homes on land near Clos Y Berllan estate which have yet to receive planning permission and the huge 240-home Persimmon development Parc Brynderi where work is ongoing.
The Local Development Plan for Carmarthenshire also shows that a further five spaces, including one which could potentially see up to 300 homes being built, are proposed for the area.
Residents claim bus services are lacking, parking in the village is impossible, schools are full and the village surgery is overstretched and worry about how the small community will cope with an influx of more people.
Locals have said they fear overdevelopment in the area, but that the proposals to turn a small bungalow and shop into a three-storey building consisting of nine flats is the final straw.
Tracy Lindsay, 45, lives directly opposite the would-be development and called the plan “ridiculous”. She said she found out about it from a poster on a lamp post.
“We haven’t been asked our opinions, I just saw the notice in front of my house. But the proposals aren’t suitable, it’s ridiculous,” she said.
“It would dominate the skyline, all the neighbours would see it from their windows and gardens and we don’t know who would move into these flats.”
Tracy, who has lived in the area for 13 years, said: “My neighbours have young children and their windows would be directly facing some of their windows. It’s not safe, it would be too big and an overstretch of the space.
“Since I’ve been here it feels like things are surrounding us and we are getting encroached on more and more. The roads are dangerous, the schools are full, there aren’t enough facilities for the amount of residents and hundreds more on top of that.”
The empty building was also vandalised earlier this month with graffiti reading ‘no flats,’ sprayed across its boarded up windows.
A further 24 objections have been made from residents concerning the development which is currently ‘in review.’ Among concerns about parking, dangerous driving and who will be housed in the flats, residents also spoke about the strain that developments are putting on services.
Resident Ms Hankin said: “Our site here is slowly being suffocated, when we moved here 15 years ago we were surrounded by fields and unfortunately most of the fields surrounding us have now been built on, with as many houses being crammed in as possible and now they are trying to cram in another nine flats.”
Developers are believed to be attracted to Bynea and Bryn because of its proximity to the Loughor bridge, Swansea, Llanelli and Trostre.
However, despite being surrounded by built up locations, the entire Bynea ward doesn’t have one shop.
Nicola Thomas, 42, who has lived in the area for 20 years, said: “The bungalow used to be a shop and it was really convenient because there are a lot of elderly people in the area.
“There are three buses a day, one at 9am, one at 12pm and one at 3pm. So old people can’t get to the hospital or to the shops. What is the point of all these new houses if there isn’t facilities for people?”
A total of 34 new homes are set for completion in 2021 at the Dylan site in Llwynhendy in Bryn, however, locals raised many of the same issues and lodged objections against the plans in 2018.
Residents at the time said the area wouldn’t be able to cope with the ‘Maes y Bryn’ site which would put a bigger strain on local facilities and raised concerns about parking, dangerous roads and flooding.
Llanelli rural community councillor and resident Steve Donoghue said there was also a worry amongst residents about who would be housed at the proposed Caegar nine flats and other developments.
“The bungalow has been empty for around five years, so clearly something needs to be done. But this is not the right plan. There would be nine flats, which could mean double or triple that in residents and the area doesn’t have adequate services,” said Mr Donoghue.
“Then there’s also the worry that the people who are housed there have mental health problems that need care and will bring other problems to the area,” he added.
The Llanelli Rural Council objected to the proposed plan.
The community councillor added that the volume of developments was due to the proximity of the M4 and that farmers have been struggling in recent years and selling their land to developers.
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Another constant issue that residents have said has correlated with the increase of houses in the area is the sewerage system.
Residents Claire Belton, 42, and Simon Thornton-Lane, 40, said that while the drainage in the area has always been a problem, the increased number of homes has made it 10 times worse.
“The water pressure is terrible, in some places there’s not enough water for a shower and my garden often looks like a swamp,” said Claire.
“The more houses that get built, the worse it’s going to be,” she added.
Resident Simon also said that there needed to be more focus on building footpaths, parks for children and protecting green spaces.
“The roads are really dangerous and narrow, there are barely any footpaths and the roads can’t be widened because there’s houses on either sides of the road,” said Simon.
The pair added that the new flats would not be suitable for the area.
“Nine flats would mean at least 18 car parking spaces and you only need to look at the roads now to know that the area can’t handle that, it’s too dangerous.”
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County councillor for the Bynea ward, Deryk Cundy, also objected to the plans for the nine flats.
“I objected to the plan because it was an unsuitable area for the building. The building is on a corner and it would be dangerous to house potentially 20 people there and there’s a problem with car parking along the narrow road.”
With not one shop in the entire Bynea ward, many residents have called for the bungalow to home a shop once again.
However, the councillor says that these stores have not been lucrative in the area and have all shut down after trading.
The county councillor agreed that there was the risk of overdeveloping the area.
“I think that is a reasonable assumption and worry for residents because the location is very attractive and is an extension of Llanelli.
“It is difficult to get a balance because people need housing and places to live but we also want to make them attractive places to live.
“Infrastructure is stretched but now we have more plans to safeguard the environment in the area and in the future there are plans for more green spaces.”