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Narberth retailers continue to fight

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narberth1PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL (PCC)are under fire from a local Narberth pressure group who intend to carry on their fight to prevent a major new development. Herald readers will remember that just before Christmas, a campaign had started to prevent the Old Primary School building from being converted into a brand new retail structure that would potentially house a new Sainsbury’s store. On Monday of this week (Jan 12), a consultation meeting took place at County Hall, hosted by Narberth Councillor Wynne Evans.

In the closed meeting, and in attendance, were three representatives of the developers, Abbeymore Estates, the architect of the proposed structure, a PCC officer, as well as eight people representing the Narberth Future Forum (NFF), whose principle interest is, they claim, the prosperity of the town, in particular its independent traders, and its welfare.

Speaking with the Herald, Simon Montgomery of NFF, said: “We queried why there had been no public consultation. “We were then told about the developer having booked the Plas Hyfryd to conduct a full public consultation. It took some pushing to find out why that meeting had been cancelled; apparently a banner had appeared in town encouraging people to support their independent shops because we didn’t want chain stores in Narberth. “Wynne Evans stated that he had felt that the meeting should be cancelled because there might be aggressive opposition. Wynne Evans is a county councillor. He is not in a position to make such a judgement.”

Mr Montgomery went on to say: “Some aspects of the application, we understand, have now been altered; there is to be no day nursery or betting shop. “The meeting set up to discuss the future of the town with regard to the development proposed at the site of the Old Primary School is the biggest change to the profile of the town in a generation. If it is confirmed that this is to be the only form of public consultation that is to take place, then Narberth Future Forum and the town will now make a consideration in the matter.

“There has been no public consultation – none at all. An injunction to stop Pembrokeshire County Council from further consideration of the application could now be made by Narberth Future Forum if it decides that this is the right course of action for the town. “This is the most important development project that the town has seen for as long as people can remember. The project will radically change the profile of the town. “There is a good argument to be made that the application cannot now be considered. Utter farce, incompetence and stupidity may today have seen the end of the application to develop the site at the Old Primary School in Narberth in its current form.

“The fundamental inability, not just of the developers, but also of Pembrokeshire County Council to understand their obligations and duties is breath taking. The town, silent until now about the utter shambles that has characterised this development process, is unlikely to remain silent much longer”. He went on by suggesting a possible course of legal action to prevent the development, saying: “How long would it take a QC to argue the case that there has been no public consultation of any description with regard to the development? Quite possibly much less time than the hour allocated by Pembrokeshire County Council to offer this presentation to the eight invited people today from one organisation.”

He finished by stating: “We have moved from an utter shambles to farce today. Narberth is a proud town. It has a community sense that is unshakeable. If the developers cannot take the town seriously and begin to engage with the community, over what is a crucial issue for the future of Narberth, then they will only have themeless to blame if this project grinds to a halt before it has begun”.

In response, a spokesperson for Pembrokeshire County Council told The Herald: “The Council’s preferred bidder for the former Narberth school site is a development partnership between Abbeymore Estates and Knox and Wells Ltd, although it is the latter with whom the legal contract will be signed. “Prior to being chosen as the preferred development partnership, both developers were comprehensively assessed and shown to have strong track records in retail development. Furthermore, the development partners have been open and transparent in stating that they have a contract with Sainsbury’s as the anchor retailer for this scheme.

This is standard practice for developers”. The spokesperson went on to address the NFF, saying: “In response to Simon Montgomery’s comments, we would point out that the site has been derelict since the school became vacant. “Following Cabinet’s agreement to dispose of the property, a development brief was prepared and shared with representative organisations within Narberth. The development brief clearly outlines an opportunity for a retail-led mixed use development and the site was marketed on that basis for some time.

“In 2010-11, the consultation process for the Local Development Plan (LDP) commenced and there was significant consultation with the local community. The LDP consultation featured the need for additional retail development within Narberth, hence the site being designated for such a scheme within the LDP. “Developers are entitled to undertake whatever level of consultation they feel appropriate although there is no statutory requirement for this. The planning application was advertised in the press and a range of representations have been received, including Narberth Future Forum; Chamber of Trade; Town Council and various individuals. All such representations are taken into account as part of the statutory planning process”.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

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TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been scrambled from MOD St Athen.

It is understood that a search for a missing person or persons is underway.

Paged this morning: Angle Lifeboat is currently involved in the search south of Tenby

The alarm was raised before 10am this morning (June 18).

Tenby’s Y-boat is also involved in the operation, The Herald understands.

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Rescue underway: Coastguard chopper position at 1030HRS on Friday, Jun 18 (Pic MarineTraffic)
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