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Car park charging trials refused

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County Hall

County Hall

A NOTICE of motion calling for the council to consider introducing trials on a number of car parking charges in Pembrokeshire has been refused.

The matter was discussed at a meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet on Monday, February 22.

Cllr Bob Kilmister had called for the introduction of a parking passport, trialling 10p parking charges and short stay parking areas.

However, he was told that there was already work being done and that free Pop and Shop bays had already been implemented in some areas.

Cllr Kilmister had submitted his proposals on the back of evidence in Cwmbran and Ceredigion where free parking had increased the trade within those areas.

Cllr Bob Kilmister said: “This Notice of motion is designed to help this council achieve a balance between its income from car parks and the clear evidence that our traditional town centres are struggling while many out of town retail parks thrive.

“If this council benefitted directly from business rates I put it to you that this council would view this subject very differently.

“Empty retail businesses do not have a direct impact on this council’s revenue. They do, however,  have a huge impact on the economy and employment. This explains why this council has done so little since its inception to support its town centres. It’s just about the money.

“The evidence presented in respect of the Cwmbran and Cardigan experiences is completely one-eyed.

“A letter from The British Parking Association is provided as evidence but they’re simply a vested interest whose business is car parking and there letter is simply an expression of them wanting a justification for their business.

“The experience of what happened in Cwmbran as a direct result of them doing something different has not been investigated in any shape or form. Nobody actually reviewed what happened in either town.

“I put forward suggestions for possible trials this council could take. It seems to me that if members of the public brought parking tickets in advance they are much more likely to use our car parks and it would boost trade.

“This report suggests that you carry on regardless. You could be innovative but that might be too much of a risk for you.

“This notice of motion suggests that you do an in-depth study and look at trials and the fact that that idea is being rejected is entirely the wrong approach.”

Council Leader Jamie Adams said that the Cwmbran centre was owned by the land owner and also added that the High Street in Ceredigion was clogged up when CPE’s were not undertaking.

He added: “Parking charges in Ceredigion are considerably higher. Highlighting the issue of vandalised machines in cardigan as a sign of progress is something we should not be considering.”

Cllr Rob Lewis disagreed that the Council had a ‘one-eyed approach’ and said: “You are not looking at the wider traffic management matters. When we introduced the last raft of charges on new car parks we, as part of that process, have asked the officers to look at the impacts and this is something that is ongoing and is something that is already happening.”

Head of Highways and Transportation, Darren Thomas said: “With regard to the free spaces, the most recent example of this is the introduction of the pop and shop bays but it is very early to comment but at the moment it is having a positive impact.

“There is no doubt that the charging regime does have an impact.”

Cllr Huw George said: “We’ve mentioned Narberth, what is important about Narberth is the offer.

“The offer in Narberth is very good and perhaps we need to be concentrating on this to make sure that the offer in our town centres is drawing people to them so they get what they want.”

Cllr Sue Perkins said that the car parking charges in Pembroke Dock hadn’t made any difference to the town.

Cllr Myles Pepper added that retailers needed to be ‘more clever’ in how they present their offers.

Responding to the comments, Cllr Bob Kilmister said: “Cwmbran used to charge and the centre wasn’t thriving so they decided to change their process and it became completely different.

“I understand we need car parking revenue and I am not saying that we take away charges.

“I am not suggesting that anyone should go out and vandalise a machine but the experience there was somewhat dramatic. You have two places in Wales where something has happened but we have chosen not to take account of that.

“Short stay parking as a retailer can be complicated because you are not able to stay there long enough to do all the shopping you need.

“The offer is absolutely critical in any retail environment and that is the problem we have at the moment.”

The recommendation to refuse the notice of motion was accepted by Cabinet members.

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Funding secured for volunteering support at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home

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PAUL SARTORI Hospice at Home, a Pembrokeshire-based charity, is delighted to announce that they were recently awarded £29,814.00 by the Pembrokeshire County Council Enhancing Pembrokeshire Scheme. The charity has been awarded a grant to develop the “We Care: Volunteering Support” project, which will improve the volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community.

The project will combat issues around Second Home ownership by increasing community engagement and opportunities to connect people through training, open days, new social events and wider community outreach and communication. The first phase of the project has been completed with the successful recruitment of Eleanor Evans, the We Care: Project Officer. Eleanor joins this part of the charity, on a secondment basis, and brings a wealth of
experience, not only within the charity but also working with volunteers throughout the county.

The charity has experienced challenges over the last 12 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new project will enhance the existing volunteer structure within the charity, develop incentives to increase volunteer engagement; support volunteers by providing increased training opportunities and develop a new social culture to decrease loneliness and isolation. Recognising that the pandemic has been a difficult time for many, improving and increasing community communication will also be a key aim.

Furthermore, the Sartori Stores throughout Pembrokeshire, have been through a difficult year, closing, opening and closing again. Most volunteers have gracefully assisted the charity, often at the drop of a hat, to open the stores.

Unfortunately, the charity has witnessed a decrease in the number of available volunteers to help, due to the pandemic. So therefore, another key objective will be to recruit and train more volunteers to assist in generating vital income and supporting areas within the clinical services.

“I am very excited to join this area of the charity and am looking forward to this new role. Having worked within the retail sector previously, I know how a lack of volunteers within a store can have a detrimental effect on the opening days and times. This will be where I will be concentrating my recruitment efforts on initially,” stated Eleanor Evans, We: Care Project Officer.

“Here at Paul Sartori we work hard to deliver a rewarding volunteer experience – we
ensure that adequate training is given to all volunteers. Our managers provide training and invest time with our volunteers to ensure they have the skills to work in many areas across the charity. Our stores can be a very busy, fast-paced environment, which offers a great opportunity for the environmentally conscious individual who wishes to help out a local charity selling pre-loved goods,” added Eleanor.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said the Council were pleased to support Paul Sartori deliver their We Care: Volunteering Support project.

“This project will add to the wide range of essential services Paul Sartori already provide to people in Pembrokeshire, improve their volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community,” he said.

“This is such a difficult time for charities and local organisations to maintain their services and volunteer activities and it is important to support them to strengthen their volunteer base, especially at this time when Covid is increasing the incidence of isolation and loneliness.”

The Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, using funds raised via the Second Homes Tax is available to provide funding for new projects that help address the negative impact of second homes and in doing so adds value to our communities.

“This grant has come at a good time for the charity. Assisting our valued volunteers; recruiting more active volunteers and investing more in our existing training programme will ensure that the charity is financially sustained for many years to come,” said Judith Williams, Grants Coordinator at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home provides a range of services to Pembrokeshire people living in the final stages of a life-limiting illness, including home nursing care, equipment loan, complementary therapy, bereavement and counselling support, under 18’s anticipatory grief and bereavement support, physiotherapy, advance care planning and training.

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 and are 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 www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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Police at scene of RTC – officers seeking witnesses

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POLICE in Milford Haven are making door to door enquiries in the Great North Road area following an accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle.

It is understood that CCTV in the area was not pointing in the right direction so police are appealing for help with the case.

There is still a large police presence in the area as of 11.20am this morning (Feb 26).

MORE TO FOLLOW…

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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