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Blackpool Mill plans supported

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Transformation: Blackpool Mill will be converted into a tourist attraction

SUPPORT has been given by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park  to the transformation of Blackpool Mill at a meeting yesterday (Mar 22).

The Park’s Development Management Committee discussed the application which will now go back to CADW for their approval.

Restoration of the 19th century Mill is expected to cost around £2.5m and will see the building transformed into a heritage tourist facility.

Works will be carried out to the interior and exterior of the building while café and railway line around the site would also be built.

The application was for a listed building consent and it will now be considered by CADW for their approval.

Bluestone founder William McNamara said: “Thirteen years ago I stood in front of the planning committee with a vision to create Bluestone. I promised to provide significant jobs and year round quality tourism. Bluestone was a big ask and it has been a long tough journey but your judgement to approve then was not miss-placed.

“We have delivered and more on our original promise and we now employ in excess of 700 full time people year round. We have a massive local supply chain and we operate at 97% occupancy year round.

“Bluestone is a success story for the county and I wish to do the same for Blackpool Mill. The Mill is an important building, one of the finest examples of a mill in the UK.

“However, without an appropriate financially sustainable use it is destined only to receive essential maintenance, no public access, ongoing vandalism, a real waste and a sad prognosis for such an important landmark.

“We have spent two years preparing this planning application and we’ve considered many options.

“We also calculated early on that the Mill as a standalone attraction would not be viable. Viability is key to its long term future and it must have a greater appeal and generate enough revenue to undergo the necessary investment in the Mill.

“With this approval we will spend in excess of £600,000 on fabric of the Mill alone. This application is the first of three. The remaining two we are hopeful will be considered at the next meeting in May.

“The narrow gauge light railway, all-weather events barn, the presentation and interpretation of the wetland and woodland are all vital to this project, as is the land link to the main Bluestone resort.

“Without the three elements the project cannot proceed. It is a good scheme, sensitively designed and appropriate to the Mill and its setting. It will provide the people of Pembrokeshire and tourists with a year round, all-weather and unique and quality attraction complementing and not displacing the existing operators. There is overwhelming local support.

“This proposal will cost Bluestone more than £3m overall and inject an additional £650,000 into the local economy and create 80 full time jobs. I sincerely hope you will put your trust into us once again.”

Cllr Bob Kilmister said: “This is a massive project and the building itself is quite superb, the setting is wonderful and we’re just dealing with the listed building consent and I have no hesitation in recommending approval.

“I have seen a future for the building and one that requires that level of investment and its worthy of that. It could become a jewel in the crown and a building of this importance should receive our support.”

Committee member Ted Sangster said this application was grounded in demonstrable success and that it would provide significant economic benefit to the area.

The application was fully supported with twelve members voting in favour and two abstained.

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway

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DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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