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Councillors excluded from clinic ceremony

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MHAssura Group officially opened its £4.8 million state of the art health centre in Milford Haven today, amongst murmurings from local Councillors that some dignitaries had been snubbed from the launch. Chris Martin, The Chairman and Trevor Purt, Chief Executive of the Local Health Board were there with the Health Minister, Prof. Mark Drakeford and local AM’s Joyce Watson and Paul Davies.

There were also representatives from the Community Health Council and a couple of reporters but the lack of an appearance from the Mayor or County Councillors who represent the 20,000 patients at the new 22,000 sq ft centre was an obvious to anyone who has ever attended a grand opening ceremony.

Town Councillors Stan Hudson and Jon Cole had not been invited either but turned up outside the clinic to voice their concerns to Assembly Members and the LHB about the car parking problem at the new centre.

Speaking from the pavement, Cllr Stand Hudson said “Why weren’t the mayor and Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council invited, or any local Councillors. How many other big health centres have opened like this in the last ten years? None.”

“I’m not willing to make any comment to why I think we were not invited” he added.

Cllr John Cole said “Landowners Assura has promised Milford Haven Town Council, and their Managing Director of Property, Andrew Darke has indicated, that they have no intention to build homes on the fenced of area of the car park and they are willing to lease the spaces to the Local Health Authority. I have passed this information onto our local Assembly Members and to Chris Martin, Chairman of the Local Health Authority.

“The District Valuer has said that only 38 spaces are needed. Experience has shown us that this, plus only four disabled spaces, is wholly inadequate. Patients are having to park on double yellow lines” he added.

Ian Tuddenham from LSP Developments, who developed the centre in conjunction with Assura, said: “The fenced off area of the car park is private land and is therefore not insured for use by clinic patients. We want to avoid insurance claims and claims of ‘posessionary’ title against our land.”

Assembly Member Joyce Watson told The Herald yesterday: “I have had an email from Milford Haven Town Council about the possibility of acquiring additional spaces, but this would obviously come at a cost to the Local Health Board.”

When asked about the fence Joyce Watson said “The fence is dangerous. When you put children into the mix I think we need to start thinking about safety.”

Ian Tuddenham then told The Herald: “It’s difficult when the fence keeps getting vandalised. We had to pay for the fence to be re-erected this morning after it had been knocked down, and driven over by vehicles”

“We know what our land is worth, I’m not going to mention figures now, but if the Council or Health Board wants to approach us then we are open to offers. As a developer we don’t want to be in the situation where we have to keep maintaining fences, it would be easier if we sold the land” he added.

When pressed as to why local Councillors or the Mayor had not been invited to yesterdays official opening of the 22,000 sq ft facility, Beverley Gardener from the Local Health Board said: “As you can see this is a busy working practice. We have to think about patients at the end of the day.”

“Its not about upsetting anybody, but how man people we can fit, especially when showing everyone around” she added.

 

Milford Haven Central representative Cllr Stephen Joseph was asked by text message by The Herald if he had heard of or been invited to the opening, he quickly replied “Not a word about it.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Health Minister, Prof. Mark Drakeford said: “Firstly a whole series of different players in primary care are here together in this building, all under one roof. I know that physical proximity really matters to people. Everything is here, no more need for phone calls or travelling across the county. Secondly, we know the future of the health service is in primary care. As much as possible this needs to be close to where people live, and what people have in this building is a different world what they had before.”

 

“Here in Milford Haven people can access a wide range of services and see the future of the NHS. Thirdly and finally, we use our primary care facilities to tackle health inequalities. We at the Welsh Assembly want there to be local services for people who really need them. Tackling health inequality through primary care is one of our key priorities” he concluded.

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Simon’s Hart to Hart with Pembroke constituent

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SIMON HART has got into a heated doorstep discussion with a Pembroke pensioner whilst canvasing for next week’s general election.

Michael Hart, 70, who is no relation to Simon Hart, contacted The Herald at lunchtime today (5 December) to say that he had been in a heated discussion with the Tory incumbent, who was out door-knocking on his street.

The argument was sparked by the swastika saga – as exclusively reported in last week’s Herald – in which Simon Hart REFUSES to account for the appearance of offensive Nazi graffiti on one of his election placards, two years after it was taken down from public display.

Simon Hart photographed the placard in question in 2017 – at which point the only evidence of graffiti it bore was written text. But he posted a new photograph of the same placard to kickstart his re-election campaign last month, in which two swastikas are visible where none appeared before.

The MP is still refusing to give any public explanation, and has threatened legal action against those speculating over what he says is “demonstrably untrue.”
Since being reported by his favourite local weekly, Michael Hart tells us that he noticed how Simon Hart was still keeping quiet on the swastikas’ appearance – despite being approached by journalists reporting on the matter for the Independent, Daily Mirror, iNews and Western Mail titles.

Earlier this week WalesOnline reported that, when approached, Simon Hart failed to offer “an explanation as to how the swastika signs ended up on the election board, or who might be responsible”, but he told them: “Any suggestion that I had anything to do with this is malicious, false and defamatory and lawyers have been instructed”.

Michael Hart tells the Herald that he became aware Simon Hart was out campaigning on Kingsbridge Drive at lunchtime, when the candidate’s poster landed on his doormat.

The retiree says that the swastika issue led to the disagreement – in which words were exchanged and threats of legal action were inferred made towards him by the government minister.

Michael Hart, a retired teacher and mechanical engineer, said that he tackled Simon Hart to explain how the swastikas came about. He says his prodding produced what he calls a “tentative explanation” from the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire incumbent, which he finds “hard to believe”.

“I opened my door and went out to the drive, and politely said I did not want the poster. A few moments later, Simon Hart came up the road and onto my drive.

“I complained to him about two things – the Conservatives’ illegal proroguing of Parliament, and all that I’ve read about his publishing of the photo on his Facebook page of his defaced election board with the swastikas on.

“When I asked him about the signs, he got agitated, angry, and threatened me with legal action, and said he would pursue anybody who made out that he had anything to do with it”.

“On pushing him further, he told me how he thinks they got there. He says when his signs were in storage in a shed, that the shed was broken into, and a large number of placards including the swastika placard were ‘damaged or defaced’ for a second time!

“It really is quite some theory – and if it is true now, then it was true last week when the issue was first exposed. So why didn’t he mention this before now, when the Herald and other papers started asking him questions, or why didn’t he contact the police?

“Why was it when he put the poster on Facebook did he not then explain how the swastikas got there?

“I’m not sure why but he was recording our conversation on his phone. At the end of the visit no one from Mr Hart’s party would accept the poster back – so I threw it in the road and then it was picked up.”

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Jeremy Corbyn 100% confirmed to visit Pembrokeshire this weekend

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LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn will be visiting Pembrokeshire this weekend to shore up support for Labour candidates in the area.

Although the exact itinerary has not yet been confirmed, Labour HQ in Cardiff has confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald that Mr Corbyn will definitely be in attendance.

Mr Corbyn will be keen to rally votes for Philippa Thompson, who is standing in the Preseli Pembrokeshire seat – the second most marginal in the UK.

At the 2017 election she lost to Stephen Crabb by just 314 votes.

An email sent out to Labour members states: “Jeremy Corbyn will be in Haverfordwest to talk about how we win a better society, and we hope you can join him.

“This election is a once in a generation chance for us. Together we can reverse a decade of austerity. Take power from the billionaires, the bad bosses and the big polluters and give it to workers, young people, communities and everyone the Tories have failed for so long.

“We’re coming together to make our voices heard in Haverfordwest this weekend. This is about getting together, being inspired, and making a difference in the final week.”

The exact location will be sent out to those who register to attend, the email ads. The indoor rally is expected to start at 5.30pm.

Corbyn’s supporters said they hope that their leader will also attend an outdoor rally taking place in Haverfordwest town centre, at a location to be confirmed, the same afternoon.

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Haverfordwest boy caught taking drugs by officers thirty miles away

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A TEENAGE boy was arrested in Haverfordwest last week, after he was caught smoking cannabis on CCTV cameras which are monitored in Carmarthen (on Nov 28).

As part of the ongoing effort to crack down on anti-social behaviour in the town centre, known as Operation Spitfire, Haverfordwest Inspector, Reuben Palin, was at police headquarters, where the cameras are monitored, when he spotted the boy on-screen.

He saw a group of teenagers known to police, and the camera operator was able to zoom in for a closer look at their activities. After a call to local officers, they quickly arrived at the scene. The group was searched and one of the youths was arrested for possessing the class B drug.

Insp. Palin said: “We’re doing all we can to address community concerns about anti-social behaviour in Haverfordwest, and this includes putting the town’s new CCTV system to best use.

“Seeing the capability of the cameras in live-time has shown that CCTV is not just useful when an incident has occurred, but can also help us monitor what’s happening in town, and will hopefully deter bad behaviour.

“Obviously this can’t replace good old fashioned foot patrols, and we have a plan that sees CCTV complementing a visible police presence.”

The teenage boy arrested on suspicion of possessing the small amount of cannabis admitted the offence, and will be dealt with by the Youth Offending Team to ensure he gets support for his drug use.

He continued: “We are also working with other agencies, in particular the council, which has recently opened a drop-in centre for young people at No 2 Old Bridge, with the aim of offering a wide range of activities and opportunities that reflect their interests.

“While we have a strategy to minimise anti-social behaviour in this area, we would like to remind parents that the actions of their children are not the responsibility of the police. We urge you to be aware of what your children are doing, and where they are spending their time.

“No one should have to put up with anti-social behaviour and I would encourage the community to contact Haverfordwest Police to report any issues or concerns.”

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