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St Davids: Controversial Premier Inn remains on development plan

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DEVELOPMENT plans for St Davids have been revised – and still feature a controversial 63-bedroom Premier Inn, which residents have been opposed to.

The site,  to the west of Glasfryn Road, will consist of 70 new homes, 38 of which will be affordable properties, in addition to the hotel.

The plans are proposed by four Applicants including Pembrokeshire Housing Association (PHA), Mill Bay Homes, Swangate Developments and Whitbread, the parent company of Premier Inn. If approved, the development will make an important contribution to meeting the need for affordable homes in St Davids and the Pembrokeshire Peninsular.

“Working with the Applicants, we are able to deliver a significant number of new homes in an area that desperately needs them” said Nigel Sinnett, Group Property Services Director at Pembrokeshire Housing Association.

“More than 50% of the homes proposed at Glasfryn Road are affordable homes, double the target for the site, which we will be able to deliver quickly should the application be approved.”

Through the involvement of Mill Bay Homes, the ‘for sale’ properties will also contribute indirectly to providing affordable homes as the surplus from the sale of these properties will be covenanted to Pembrokeshire Housing Association to fund affordable homes elsewhere.

Latest figures from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority states a need for 370 affordable homes in the National Park.

“An important objective of the development is to ensure local people benefit”, commented Matthew Owens, Operations Manager at Mill Bay Homes.

“A number of the ‘for sale’ properties will be offered as shared ownership homes, helping to make them more affordable to buyers. We also propose to explore the possibility of offering local residents or individuals with a connection to the local area, the first opportunity to buy the for-sale properties when the development is marketed.”

The plans to redevelop the allocated site were initially launched in May 2017.

“The plans have generated a lot of interest”, said Kevin Murray, Head of Property Acquisitions (North) who is leading Whitbread’s involvement in the Glasfryn Road site.

“We are convinced the new Premier Inn hotel will benefit St Davids. By contributing towards the planning application costs, we are also helping to facilitate the delivery of the new affordable homes in an area that desperately needs them.”

Planning policy in Wales encourages development on sites that can be freed from planning, physical and ownership constraints in order to create sustainable communities where people want to live. Increased ‘serviced’ hotel accommodation, such as that provided by Premier Inn, is also supported by national and regional planning policy.

“Our customers are very loyal to our brand”, continued Kevin.

“We are very good at marketing our hotels to our customer base. As well as diversifying the range of accommodation on offer in the Peninsular, a new Premier Inn hotel in St Davids will attract additional visitors to the city throughout the year, supporting the local economy. This has certainly been our experience at other seaside and traditional leisure destinations where we have opened.”

An independent economic assessment undertaken as part of the planning application estimates 40,000 guests will stay at the St Davids Premier Inn throughout the year.

These guests are anticipated to spend an additional £1.5 million per year in the local economy as they go out to eat and drink and enjoy the attractions and experiences in St Davids and the wider Peninsular.

Approximately 20 permanent year-round jobs will also be created at the hotel on opening.

The Applicants intend to submit a planning application to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority for determination in early 2018. Before doing so, the Joint Applicants will undertake a statutory consultation on the proposals starting on December 1. The consultation will run until Monday, January 8, 2018.

During this statutory consultation, the planning application documents will be available to view on the www.glasfrynroadplans.co.uk website. Comments on the application can also be submitted directly to the Applicants and will be reported within the final planning application documents.

Following the submission of the planning application, the National Park Authority will also consult St Davids’ residents on the development proposals. A decision on the proposed development is expected in spring / summer 2018.

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Police call for vigilance to report illegal raves

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is asking farmers and local landowners to be on the alert over the next few months for warning signs of any illegal gatherings planned for their land over the summer.

Gatherings – such as illegal raves – can cause considerable anxiety to the community and if they are not dealt with swiftly, they are difficult to stop or otherwise control, due often to the sheer numbers of persons involved and the safety aspects surrounding breaking up such an event.

Superintendent Robyn Mason said: “There is little doubt that these type of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land which has been targeted previously as a suitable venue.

“Farmers, landowners and local communities are encouraged to report any suspicious activity immediately to the Police; this may be an unusual numbers of vehicles, especially camper vans, vans or trucks in the locality, illegal trespassers who may be doing ‘recce’ of sites in advance of the event.

“I can assure local communities that Police will take the appropriate action to deter illegal gatherings and deal robustly with any criminal offences discovered or disclosed.”

Members of the public are also urged to be vigilant of persons who approach landowners or enquiring for land, in the guise of hiring for apparently acceptable activities such as gymkhanas and scouts/guides events.

Please contact Police on 101 with reports on any suspicious activity.

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Discover Coast and Cleddau boat trips launched at Milford Waterfront

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A NEW way to appreciate the spectacular Pembrokeshire coast has been officially launched at Milford Waterfront.

Discover Coast and Cleddau offers two exciting boat trips; ‘Discover Coast’ takes passengers on a guided tour around Skomer Island to see the array of wildlife while ‘Discover Cleddau’ explores the more tranquil waters around Benton, Cosheston Woodlands and Lawrenny.

Both trips celebrate the rich history of the Waterway. Suited to all ages from five upwards, what makes these trips unique is that all passengers are seated comfortably inside a heated cabin.

Director of Property and Tourism at the Port of Milford Haven which owns and operates the vessel, Clare Stowell, said “There is so much to see within the Milford Haven Waterway and out towards the islands that we’re confident both trips will be really popular. The trips form part of our wider strategy to transform Milford Waterfront into a vibrant destination where visitors will enjoy a memorable leisure experience.”

As well as the regular boat trips, a number of special tours will be publicised throughout the summer such as photography expeditions.

Excursions can be booked by calling the Skipper Gareth Light on 01646 696370; tickets are £25.00 per person with the boat departing from Mackerel Quay at Milford Marina.

For the latest information on Discover Coast and Discover Cleddau please follow Milford Waterfront on social media.

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Man who gets ‘a sexual buzz’ from touching bottoms avoids prison

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A HAVERFORDWEST man who cannot stop grabbing women’s bottoms has today (Jun 22) received a suspended prison sentence.

John Robert Hancox told police he could not understand where the urge had come from at the age of 66.

Hancox, of Hanover Court, was arrested on May 15 for touching the bottoms of two women in the town. Police cautioned him and released him.

Helen Randall, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that just eight days later Hancox said hello to a 23-year-old woman walking along Milford Road and then grabbed her bottom.

The following day he approached a 16-year-old girl who was clearly wearing a school uniform in the car park at Tesco, Haverfordwest and did the same to her.

Miss Randall said her friends spotted a police van and alerted the officers, who happened to be looking for Hancox for the offence the previous day.

Hancox admitted sexually assaulting two females.

During police interviews he said he got ‘a sexual buzz’ out of touching his victims and felt embarrassed.

His barrister, Carina Hughes, told the court: “These urges are recent in his life and he is crying out for help.”

The judge Mr Recorder Peter Griffiths told Hancox he presented a problem to the court as the public needed protecting but he needed help.

Hancox was jailed for two months, suspended for two years, and placed under supervision for two years coupled with an order to complete up to 30 days of a rehabilitation activity designed by the probation service.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order under which he must not approach girls aged under 18.

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