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Narberth traders worry over Sainsbury’s plans



sainsburys-5795657DESPITE an announcement last week from Sainsbury’s that some new store developments, nationally, will not go ahead, it seems a supermarket still wants a convenience store in Narberth. Sainsbury’s proposition has left many Narberth traders both worried and shocked.They believe it could spell the end of their town as a tourist destination and specialist retail area. The application for development has been made by Abbeymore Estates, and Knox and Wells Limited.

It proposes demolition of the old school which would be replaced by a new two-story development. The plan then proposes the two acre site has non-food retail units, a betting shop, a cafe and takeaway, a day nursery and residential apartments. Narberth Chamber of Trade secretary, Gordon Barry, told The Herald: “It saddens the Chamber that there has been no contact with the developer to explore the thought and design with them, since it was fi rst announced in April of this year.” Our reporter went to Narberth and spoke with some of the traders that would be affected by a Sainsbury’s store moving into the area.

Jenny Thomas, who is the owner of “6 The High Street”, expressed her concerns: “All the shops in Narberth are independent and there are no big names or chain stores here. I’ve seen it grow for the last 30 years, and our customers come to Narberth to shop because it is an area with independent shops. You have to bear in mind the population here is only 2000 people. If it’s a superstore coming, then surely they sell what we all sell, and we struggle in January, February and March as it is. We rely on tourists to come here.

The uniqueness will go with this development and there has been no offer of a discount of rates. Narberth is the same size as a village; to split the trade we already have is a disastrous proposition”. On the subject as to getting information from the County Council with regards to any proposed plans for the local traders she continued, saying: “It’s diffi cult. You are here all the time (as an owner) and can’t get to these meetings. It’s grim as it comes through our Chamber of Trade, and that’s all we learn.” From the store “No 47” Richard Swingler said: “It’s a shame the old school wasn’t used as a community service project. If people had got together perhaps we could have provided a community area (a library or boxing club), then maybe incorporate a retail section with it.

The number of units are far too many for Narberth to sustain, but the biggest complaint has to be the lack of car parking; the car parking is to be reduced! Surely, you need more for more units, it doesn’t make sense and it will no doubt have an adverse effect on the town”. Co – Director of Wisebuys, Anthony Ryan, expressed his grave concerns as to what the effect on Narberth’s traders would be: “It’s a bit of a shock. I always thought Narberth was a ‘jewel in the crown’ for Pembrokeshire. I would have thought it would have been a good idea to preserve Narberth as it is, rather than kill it like they (Pembrokeshire County Council) have with every other town in Pembrokeshire, due to out-of-town developments.

Surely they should learn a lesson by looking at what Carmarthen have done, and join it on to the town. Narberth is a specialised country town and people come here for those specialist shops – we are known all over the country for this. Why spoil it? There aren’t enough customers in Narberth to warrant this and it will reduce the foot fall in Narberth. Look at CK’s, the other chain store development, with a free car park? They pay half the rates and then take our customers! It should be the other way round. We are struggling and just about surviving and any more pressure and we will close.

It’s what I am expecting in Narberth; Spa and Cost- Cutter wont survive – which will reduce footfall again”. Asked what the Council should do at this point, he said: “Stop it. Don’t let them go ahead with it – sell it to someone else – make it a useful building for the community; but they won’t because it will cost them money and they are too tight to spend it on sensible things, they’d rather throw it away on pointless things like cycle lanes etc. The Council spout on about Narberth being fantastic, yet they slit our throats.

Narberth is doing ok, not brilliantly, but our takings have gone down 20% in the last 5 years and I know of hundreds of customers who don’t come here anymore because they can’t park anywhere”. Tom Trenchard, Head of Convenience Acquisitions South at Sainsbury’s, told The Herald: “We are currently fi nalising negotiations to open a store as part of a development at the site of the former school. If we were to open at the development, our store will create between 20-25 new jobs for local people.

We would aim to complement, rather than compete with existing local traders, and contribute to help people keep shopping locally, while bringing additional footfall to the town, benefi tting all”. On the subject of concerns over parking space, a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s sated: “We would be a tenant as part of the wider development, so probably best to address those wider concerns to the developer himself, whose planning application it is. Clearly we can only talk about our proposal”.

Cllr Wyn Evans, spoke with The Herald: “The school has been empty for fi ve and a half years now and is becoming an eyesore, subjected to vandalism. This development is welcome indeed. I am in consultation with the Chamber of Trade, discussing the parking situation and I’m forming a working group at County Hall on January 19, where organisations from the community are invited to sit along with council offi cers.

We are aware of parking issues and we need a strategic plan to go forward that may involve reconfi guration of existing spaces and readjustment of current waiting times. It is important we have consultation with the community and I look forward to continued dialogue. There is also an urgent need for accommodation for people in Narberth, and people may now have opportunities to move to these fl ats freeing up larger properties for larger families.”


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Brand new features unveiled at Scolton Manor Park



ONE of Pembrokeshire’s best-loved family destinations has announced it will be unveiling several new attractions in June, ready for the summer holidays.  

Among the new features at Scolton Manor are an eco-explorer village, a 1.2km woodland cycle track, an outdoor pirate ship play area and a dedicated railway attraction complete with steam train locomotive ‘Margaret’ and ‘Scolton Express’ play train.

Mark Thomas, manager of Scolton Manor Park, said the team were looking forward to showing visitors the new attractions.

“We’re delighted with our new facilities and believe they will perfectly complement the attractions we have here already at Scolton,” he said.

The woodland eco-explorer village aims to give children more opportunities for outside play and spark their enthusiasm to discover more about the natural world.  

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Culture and Leisure, said the village is perfect for all young explorers from toddlers right through to older children.

“Children love playing outside and we want to inspire them through their play to not only find out more about biodiversity and the environment but also how to care for it,” he said.

“As well as eco-explorer areas, games and activities there will be fun tips on how they can reuse, reduce and recycle more and protect the environment.”

The eco-explorer village is funded by a £50,000 grant from the Landfill Disposals Tax Community Scheme and £25,000 grant from Community Facilities Programme (Welsh Government), in partnership with the Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association.

Mark Thomas said the current attractions at Scolton have also proved very popular since the outdoor areas at the park re-opened to the public earlier this spring.

As well as an adventure play area for older children which includes a 30-metre zip wire, a spinning climbing web and ‘super swings’,  younger visitors can enjoy the wooden playground, sensory musical play area and woodland play features.

“The many and varied attractions at Scolton enhance its role as a community facility while providing a wide range of countryside experiences at a lower cost,” said Mark.

“The new features in particular will also help to continue the development of the site into a must-visit tourist attraction within mid and North Pembrokeshire.”

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Public engagement exercise over new hospital between St Clears and Narberth



HYWEL DDA is asking the people of Pembrokeshire to help it further shape and deliver future services by taking part in a six-week engagement exercise.

Since the publication of its strategy, A Healthier Mid and West Wales: Our Future Generations Living Well in 2018, the health board has worked with partners to provide care and develop services. However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on health and care services. As a result, the health board now wants to learn from the public about how the pandemic has affected their health and care, and access to it.

This week, Hywel Dda UHB has been distributing a discussion document for the public to consider, along with a questionnaire for completion.

Hywel Dda UHB is also asking for the public’s feedback in relation to its long-term strategy to develop and build a new hospital in the south of the Hywel Dda area, somewhere between and including St Clears, in Carmarthenshire, and Narberth, in Pembrokeshire.

This location is the most central for most of the population in the south of the Hywel Dda area, and it was determined through the public consultation held in 2018.

The public is also being asked to nominate sites for a new hospital based four criteria:

The nominated site must be within the zone between and including St Clears in Carmarthenshire and Narberth in Pembrokeshire. This location is the most central to most of the population in the south of the Hywel Dda area.

The nominated site should be a minimum of 35 acres of reasonably developable land.

The nominated site should have realistic prospects of obtaining planning permission for a new hospital.

There should be appropriate transport infrastructure for a major hospital site.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The global pandemic has had a major impact on all areas of our lives so it’s crucial that the health board considers, reflects and learns from this extraordinary period. This engagement exercise will allow the public to tell us in their own words how COVID-19 has affected their health and care, and access to it.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to participate because the feedback we receive will play a major role in helping shape future services. This in turn will allow us to deliver on our long-term commitment for a healthier mid and west Wales.

“I would also stress that this engagement exercise is part of an ongoing process. Over the coming months and years, we plan to engage with the public, stakeholders and partners on a wide variety of issues, such as service models. Everyone will have their chance to give their views and opinions because we are committed to continuous engagement with the public to ensure we provide the best possible care.”

The engagement exercise will run until Monday June 21.

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Paul Sartori taking action to support climate with National Lottery grant of nearly £14,000



LOCAL hospice at home charity, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, is taking action to support the climate with the installation of solar panels at its main head office in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

The charity which delivers end of life care services across Pembrokeshire, has been awarded a grant to fund the purchase and installation of solar panels at Paul Sartori House, Winch Lane. This investment is part of an ongoing commitment to address the climate emergency and the charity joins many others who are taking action. Paul Sartori was one of 35 community groups, who were selected to take part in the Climate Action Boost scheme, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Working alongside Renew Wales, a partner in the initiative, the group explored methods to help tackle the causes and consequences of climate change, and to operate more sustainably. A number of options were discussed to reduce their impact on the environment and Renew Wales helped the charity to develop an environmental action plan, which is to be implemented over the coming months. The scheme available to cover a variety of environmental reduction activities, including renewable energy, reducing consumption, local food and reduced or less impactful travel.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home wouldn’t normally be associated with environmental activity. Through regular consultation over many months, the charity has been really encouraged by what they have learnt.

“We have invested a lot of time in developing the plan; discussed a number of alternatives along the way, but feel that the solar panel installation will have the biggest impact for the charity in the long term”, said Sandra Dade, Charity Manager. “The National Lottery Climate Action Boost has really inspired our charity to minimise our impacton the environment and we will continue this journey,” added Sandra.

Jemma Nurse, Funding Manager at The National Lottery Community Fund said, “The climate emergency is everyone’s business, which is why The National Lottery Community Fund is acting to support and inspire communities to minimise their own impact on the environment. We are proud to be a significant funder of environmental projects and Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, along with the other groups participating in Climate Action Boost, will play a valuable part in building our knowledge so we can share our learning with other funders across Wales and the UK.”

The services provided by the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home enable people in the later stages of any life-limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear, if that is their wish.

All of the services are free of charge, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generosity of the Pembrokeshire Community. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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