BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 12:03 GMT
Doubt at 'shanty hut squat' claim
It has a new roof, doors and wall cladding added from scrap.

Doubts have been cast on claims that a "shanty" hut in Llanelli is being used as a squat by homeless migrant workers.

Carmarthenshire Council has placed an enforcement notice on the structure to stop people living there after complaints and newspaper reports.

But it has doubts the shack, which has a new roof, doors and wall cladding added from scrap, is a makeshift home.

Llanelli's Polish centre believes it could be a meeting place for Poles to drink, smoke and play cards.

The ramshackle hut, just off a back alley near Avis Terrace close to the town centre, has become a bit of a talking point locally.

Some of those living and working nearby believe it has been used as a squat in recent weeks, claiming the people coming and going from there spoke Polish.

On two separate visits to the site there has been no sign life apart from a bin bag outside containing crisps packets, lager cans, cigarette ends and an empty cakes box.

Carmarthenshire Council confirmed it had received compliants and after local media reports had slapped an enforcement notice on the structure.

A view through a window into the hut
I think with the restrictions on smoking they are using it as somewhere to socialise, have a drink and a smoke and a game of cards
Jeff Hopkins, Polish Centre

It says an inspection of the premises found it "unsatisfactory and not reasonable" for occupation and that anyone living there "must leave immediately."

Head of public protection Philip Davies said: "We have taken appropriate action to prevent anyone using it for habitation.

"We have put a notice on the property saying that it cannot be used."

But the council said while it was "keeping an open mind" on the use of the hut it had doubts anyone was actually living there.

Llanelli has a Polish migrant community of around 1,500 with many working in agriculture and the meat packaging industry.

Jeff Hopkins of the town's Polish Centre, which aims to help them settle in Llanelli, said he believed he would have heard if any members of the Polish community had been made homeless.

He said many workers lived in the old Llanelli Hospital, very near to the shack, which had been converted into accommodation for Poles.

"I have not been there (to the shack) but I think with the restrictions on smoking they are using it as somewhere to socialise, have a drink and a smoke and a game of cards."

SEE ALSO
Bridging Polish language divide
27 Dec 07 |  South West Wales
Crackdown on anti-Polish graffiti
15 Mar 07 |  South West Wales
Town's support for migrant Poles
25 Sep 06 |  South West Wales

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific