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New bill will improve access to housing in Wales

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new billTHE HOUSING (Wales) Bill, published by the Welsh Government, has been welcomed by the WLGA as a real opportunity to improve people’s access to good quality housing in Wales. Commenting on the new bill, Cllr Dyfed Edwards, WLGA Spokesperson for Housing said:

“The WLGA supports the ambition set out within this new legislation, which is wide in scope and focuses on a number of fundamental issues affecting people’s lives in Wales.

“Local government is now committed to working with Welsh Government and other partners to deliver the changes outlined in the new legislation, many of which will reinforce and support the work which is on-going within local councils across Wales. Councils specifically welcome the increased emphasis on preventing homelessness which is at the heart of this new bill, as well as the reform of the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy System which offers councils a clear opportunity to increase the financial resources that they have available to improve housing stock and potentially build new homes.

“While some of the changes proposed by the new legislation can clearly be introduced without requiring additional resources, some aspects of the legislation will undoubtedly be challenging for local authorities to deliver within the current financial climate. The WLGA will now test ‘deliverability’ of the new legislation with local authorities, and continue to work closely with Welsh Government to increase access to good quality housing in Wales.”

Cllr Aaron Shotton, WLGA Spokesperson for Finance added:

“Many households are already struggling as a result of the poor economic climate, and there is a real fear that welfare reforms such as the ‘bedroom tax’ will add to this misery, and increase the number of families facing homelessness in Wales. Against this backdrop, it is vital that Welsh Government, local authorities and their wider partners do more to prevent homelessness, and to take early action to limit the hugely negative impacts that being made homeless can have, particularly on children.

“The additional funding that has been identified in the Welsh Government’s budget for 2015-16 will enable an increased focus on preventative services and must be welcomed, and we look forward to continued discussions with the Minister to ensure that local councils have the resources required to deliver the ambition of this new bill.”

Cllr Lynda Thorne, WLGA Deputy Spokesperson for Housing said:

“Building more affordable homes is very important, but we also need to make the best use of existing housing, including housing within the private rented sector. This legislation will help us to work more closely with landlords to improve the private rented sector, which is becoming an increasingly important part of the housing market. We welcome the proposal to introduce a registration and accreditation scheme for all landlords and letting and management agents in Wales as one means of improving standards. Cardiff Council has been running a voluntary registration scheme for landlords for a number of years and we believe it has proven effective in developing better relationships with landlords, and helped to improve housing conditions in the city.”

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Residents invited to a Pembroke Tunnel drop-in event

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NETWORK RAIL is inviting residents to a drop-in event to find out more about essential maintenance work at Pembroke Tunnel, west Wales, which will improve the resilience and reliability of the railway for passengers.
The work includes essential vegetation management and rock netting in the area with work taking place for a week in December before the main work takes place in January and February.
Ahead of the work residents are invited to a drop-in event on Monday 18 November from 3pm to 6.30pm at the Dutton Suite, Pembroke Leisure Centre, Bush, Pembroke, SA71 4RJ.
No appointments are necessary and members of the project team will be on hand to answer any questions.
Then between Saturday 14 and Friday 20 December Network Rail will carry out drilling work overnight to install rock anchors at the top of the railway cutting as Network Rail prepare for the main phase of the works.
That will then take place between Sunday 19 January 2020 and Saturday 8 February 2020 where engineers will work day and night to install rock anchors and bolts before installing the rock netting across the railway cutting using road rail vehicles and specialist machinery.
Michael Pinkerton, scheme project manager for Wales and Borders, said:
“We would like to thank residents in advance for their patience and understanding as we carry out this work at Pembroke Tunnel.
“All this planned essential work forms part of our commitment to maintain a safe and reliable railway that is fit for use now and in the future. We are working closely with our partners to keep disruption to the local community to a minimum and encourage anyone wishing to find out more about this work to come along to our drop-in event later.”

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“We have a duty to win” says Crabb at campaign launch

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STEPHEN CRABB has launched his 2019 General Election campaign, highlighting the ‘duty and responsibility’ the Party has to win.
The Welsh Conservative candidate is hoping to be re-elected on December 12, having served as MP for the last 14 years.
At the launch at Martha’s Vineyard on Milford Marina, Stephen addressed a crowd of supporters with a promise to continue being a strong voice for Preseli Pembrokeshire in Westminster.
Stephen Crabb has consistently been one of the hardest working Welsh MPs with a strong track record of standing up for the local community.
Speaking at the campaign launch, Stephen said: “This General Election will be the most important for many years.
“We face a choice between the Conservatives who have a clear plan to unblock Brexit and improve Britain – or a coalition of opposition parties under Jeremy Corbyn, who want more years of delay and division.
“That is not in our national interest nor is it in the best interests of Pembrokeshire. The Conservative Party has a serious duty and responsibility to go out and win this election.
“Over the last 14 years I have fought tirelessly for local people and local businesses and if re-elected, I will continue to work hard to give Pembrokeshire a strong voice in Parliament.”
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Christmas shopping misery for west Wales rail users

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RAIL USERS in west Wales face festive misery due to engineering works which will close the Carmarthen to Milford Haven link for almost a month.

The line will be closed from this Sunday, until the Sunday before Christmas, at a time when many take the train to Swansea and Cardiff shopping for gifts for friends and family.

Signs have already been posted at railway stations confirming the delays.

Trains will be replaced by buses; rail officials have said.

A spokesman from Network Rail said: “Due to essential maintenance work, rail replacement bus services will run between Carmarthen and Milford Haven from Monday, November 18 until Sunday, December 22.

“Pembroke dock and Fishguard services are also affected on Sunday November 24.

“On all other days of operation, the train services will continue to stop at Whitland, Clynderwen and Clarbeston Road, Fishguard and Goodwick, Fishguard Harbour and stations to Pembroke Dock.

“We apologise for any inconvenience.”

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