A walk with Julian Narbett of St. Clears


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One man's passion for the community of St. Clears in Carmarthenshire

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A walk with Julian Narbett of St. Clears

  1. 1. A Walk With Julian Narbett Mr. Julian Narbett is a well known and some would say well- loved resident of St. Clears. He refers to himself as a ‘Dock Boy’, which is a reference to the area of St. Clears where he was born. I took a walk with Julian along the riverbank. It is a place that he is very familiar with as he travels along the path most days. Julian has seen many changes in the area and is quite forthright and unashamedly scathing about some ofthe things, which have gone wrong in the town. As we walk toward the town library Julianpoints out the boarded up window. “This is a disgrace,” he tells me, “this is the main carpark and a bus stop for coaches travelling to and from London. What must the people onthose buses think of this town when they see that?” We move into the car park and Julian points out that the Town Council are trying to bring heavy stones from Pendine to use as seats in the car park. “Why don’t they involve the youngsters and get them to make picnic benches instead?” he asks. It appears that the decision has been made with no community consultation and that the stones will appear when someone volunteers to collectthem. When we reach a fishing area Julian points out that he is unable to access the river bank to fish because the gateway is too narrow for disabled access. “No thought” he says. It is quite obvious that no consideration has been given for disabled access here despite the laws on discrimination against disabled people. We get to the skateboarding area where Julian likes to go and chat with people. “Look, they have placed two bollards on the entrance.” It is quite obvious that the path is also inaccessible not only for disabled access but also for parents and grandparents pushing buggies. Julian points out the dangers for children falling on the very uneven surface. Now we start to get onto the river path proper. Julian carefully manoeuvres his buggy into a well-worn track, which he has made because the path itself is also too rough for his buggy. It is obvious that the journey causes Mr. Narbett some discomfort as he travels along. Julian asks “How can old people and mothers with prams get along here?”
  2. 2. As we progress along the path Julian points out that the stiles for river access are in the wrong place. “Some men came along and put the stiles there, but they didn’t even ask where the best place was. They go to nowhere. The fishing areas are now fenced off”. Some young boys are fishing and I ask them about the stiles. They too think that it is strange that the stiles are not where the fishing pools are. Julian asks, “Why don’t they ask people before making these decisions?” I am unable to offer any answers as my own requests for information also go largely ignored. The St. Clears Town Council meet on the third floor of the building known as ‘The Craft Centre’. I asked Julian whether it would be difficult for him to access the building if he were to become a councillor. He tells me “There is a lift but it is awkward, the meeting room is very small as well.” There is no doubt that Julian cares deeply about the community of St. Clears and that he believes that the people of St. Clears have been let down by those charged with looking after the town’s interests. Julian asks “Why don’t they stand down and make way for some younger people?”Editor’s Comment: There is an election in May 2012 and maybe Julian’s determination toseek answers will result in those who have ignored him suffering at the ballot box.Whatever the result, we need people like Julian Narbett to continue monitoring the welfareof this community. Lest we not forget, the community does not serve one serves thecommunity. Perhaps the boarded window could be payed for by the revenue from theTown’s car park. Perhaps the paths and hedges could be repaired and maintained usingmoney spent on a number of local fiascos. What becomes apparent when you talk to Julianand to some of the elderly residents of St. Clears is that decisions are being made withlittle or no consultation or that information is only provided at the eleventh hour so thatthe community has no time to have a say.