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Stena and Conygar withdraw from Fishguard development

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CONYGAR, the development company, is to end its involvement in the Goodwick and Fishguard Marina scheme.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange made at 10am on Thursday​ (Jan 25), the company announced that it was writing off its £2m investment in the Marina, effectively bringing an end to its involvement in the town.

The Herald understands that at a meeting with Conygar CEO Robert Ware on Thursday, Cabinet member for Economic Development Paul Miller was informed that ferry operator Stena had withdrawn from participation in the scheme.

Outline planning permission for the development was granted in April 2012, subject to the signing of a S106 Agreement by both Conygar and Stena, the Fishguard harbour operator. The planning consent gave Conygar permission to construct 253 residential apartments, a publicly-accessible promenade, a public slipway and a visitor centre and Stena to build a substantial platform that would facilitate the potential expansion of the existing port.

Conygar has been informed by Stena that they do not wish to have any further involvement in the proposed marina development and do not wish to proceed with the reclamation works of the harbour.

Stena state that they are concerned that the marina development will interfere with the operation of the harbour and their ferry operations. They will also not support the promotion of the Harbour Revision Order, which is necessary to progress the development.

Stena’s withdrawal means that the project cannot proceed.

Robert Ware, Chief Executive of Conygar, commented: “We are disappointed that after nearly seven years of working in partnership with Stena, they have decided to withdraw their support for the Fishguard Waterfront Development, making it impossible for us to proceed with the plans.

“We firmly believe that the development would have been of significant benefit to the local community and to businesses in and around Fishguard and Goodwick.”

The Marina development has been a divisive issue within the north Pembrokeshire town, with some locals expressing considerable fears that it would harm the marine environment and expressing serious doubts about the economic benefits claimed for the project.

Questions are bound to be asked about the extent of the Council’s involvement in and financial exposure to the development, which has been winding on for thirty years since it was first proposed.

Oliver Blakiston​,​ owner of The Royal Oak in Fishguard,​ told The Herald: “I think the development would have meant there being national bars and restaurant chains, such as Pizza Express and Frankie and Bennys, in the new development.

“This would have had an impact on my trade, as well as many other local businesses in the area.

“However, any effect on the ferry services would be very worrying.”

County Councillor Sam Kurtz said: “If this is true, this is hugely disappointing news for Fishguard and Goodwick, where a marina has been talked about for over 25 years. Although not without its flaws, the marina could have brought real development and economic benefit to the area.”

Conygar has a significant track record in Pembrokeshire and the rest of west Wales of submitting ambitious planning applications and then either withdrawing from them or scaling them back. Planned Sainsburys’ stores in Cross Hands and Haverfordwest did not materialise and the company withdrew from involvement in the Pembroke Dock Marina plan which had been knocking around for over a decade.

The withdrawal of Conygar from the scheme means that a large slice of prime development land near the Port now has extensive planning permission but no developer to take it on.

The economic regeneration rationale behind the marina development – including the need for such an extensive housing build – would now appear to be up in the air.

Any new scheme would need to produce much the same economic benefits as those projected for the Conygar project.

Pembrokeshire Council is obviously disappointed at the news that the Fishguard and Goodwick Marina development will not now be progressing as planned.

Council officers have invested a lot of time with both Conygar and Stena in support of their aspirations for Fishguard and Goodwick and it is particularly disappointing that after all the time and effort expended by all parties, Stena has chosen to unilaterally withdraw from the scheme.

Councillor Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Development said: “From my perspective this is disappointing news both for Fishguard and Goodwick and North Pembrokeshire as a whole.

“Having met with the Conygar Chief Executive, Robert Ware, in London this morning (Thursday, 25th January) it would appear that in the last few days Stena – the ferry operator which holds the land interest surrounding the port – has unilaterally withdrawn from participation in the scheme.

“This makes it impossible for Conygar to proceed with the development envisaged.

“It is clear we need to radically rethink our approach to economic development in Pembrokeshire and a short formal review process will commence immediately.

“A summary of the findings of that review will be made public in due course.”

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Buckingham palace announces Prince Philip’s funeral arrangements

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PRINCE PHILIP’S royal ceremonial funeral will take place April 17 at Windsor Castle — a slimmed-down service amid the COVID-19 pandemic that will be entirely closed to the public.

Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, took part in planning his funeral and its focus on family was in accordance with his wishes. The 99-year-old duke, who died Friday, also took part in designing the modified Land Rover that will carry his coffin.

“Although the ceremonial arrangements are reduced, the occasion will still celebrate and recognize the duke’s life and his more than 70 years of service to the Queen, the UK and the Commonwealth,” a palace spokesman said Saturday while speaking on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

Prince Harry, Philip’s grandson who stepped away from royal duties last year and now lives in California, will attend the service along with other members of the royal family. His wife, the Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant, has been advised by her doctor not to attend.

Palace officials said the ceremony would be conducted strictly in line with the British government’s COVID-19 guidelines, which restrict the number of people attending funerals to 30. They declined to say whether the royal family would be required to wear masks.

The palace appealed to the public not to gather in Windsor, and for those who wished to pay their respects to Philips to stay at home instead.

“While there is sadness that the public will not be able to physically be part of events to commemorate the life of the duke, the royal family asks that anyone wishing to express their condolences do so in the safest way possible and not by visiting Windsor or any other royal palaces to pay their respects,″ the palace spokesman said. “The family’s wish is very much that people continue to follow the guidelines to keep themselves and others safe.”

The announcement comes after military teams across the U.K. and on ships at sea fired 41-gun salutes Saturday to mark the death of Philip, honouring the former naval officer and husband of Queen Elizabeth II whom they considered one of their own.

Batteries in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast — the capitals of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom — as well as other cities around the U.K. and the Mediterranean outpost of Gibraltar fired the volleys at one-minute intervals beginning at midday. Ships including the HMS Montrose, a frigate patrolling the Persian Gulf, offered their own salutes.

“The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remained devoted to the Royal Navy and the Armed Forces as a whole,” Gen. Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff, said in a statement. “A life well-lived. His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty.”

Members of the Commonwealth, a group of 54 countries headed by the monarch, were also invited to honour Philip. The Australian Defence Force began its salute at 5 p.m. local time outside Parliament House in Canberra, and New Zealand planned to offer its own tribute on Sunday.

Philip joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1939 and once had a promising military career. In 1941, he was honoured for his service during the battle of Cape Mattapan off the coast of Greece, when his control of searchlights aboard the HMS Valiant allowed the battleship to pinpoint enemy vessels in the dark. Philip rose to the rank of commander before he retired from active duty.

Two years after the war ended, Philip married Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey when she was 21 and he was 26. Philip’s naval career came to an abrupt end when King George VI died in 1952 and his wife became queen.

At the queen’s coronation in 1953, Philip swore to be his wife’s “liege man of life and limb” and settled into a life supporting the monarch. The couple had four children — Charles, the heir to the throne, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

Before he retired from official duties in 2017, the prince carried out more than 22,000 solo public engagements and supported over 780 organizations, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for young people.

Members of the public continued to honour Philip’s life of service on Saturday, leaving flowers outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle despite appeals from authorities and the royal family to refrain from gathering.

“I think everyone would like to pay their respects,” Maureen Field, 67, said outside Windsor Castle. “Because of the virus, a lot of people have to stay away. He didn’t want a big funeral. He wanted a very private time with his family to say their goodbyes. So, we’ve all got to respect that.”

Mike Williams, 50, travelled from his home in Surrey, southwest of London, to Buckingham Palace to honour the prince.

“He’s a massive loss to the country and to the world, I think, so we wanted to come and pay respects,” Williams said. “I don’t know what it achieves, but it just felt like the right thing to do.”

(Associated Press, London – by James Brooks and Tom Rayner)

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Police: RNLI ‘most likely saved man’s life’ following tombstoning incident

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POLICE have issued an urgent warning following a tombstoning incident Tenby on Saturday evening (Apr 10).

A multi-agency operation was launched just after 6pm following reports of a man in difficulty after jumping from cliffs into the sea.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys police told The Herald: “We were called to the beach opposite St Catherine’s Island at around 6.15pm today, where a man had got into difficulty after jumping off the cliff into the water.

“On the arrival of officers, RNLI were at the scene and were administering CPR to the 23-year-old who was unconscious and not breathing.

“Fortunately, he regained consciousness shortly after and was taken to hospital for assessment.

Inspector Gavin Howells added: “This incident highlights the serious danger posed by tombstoning or cliff jumping, and the potentially life-threatening consequences.

“We urge people not to take part in this sort of activity anywhere along our coastline, and not to put themselves or the emergency services at risk for a thrill.

“We would like to thank our colleagues at the RNLI for their swift response to this incident, and for their actions which most likely saved this man’s life.”

RNLI Tenby posted on Facebook the following: “The Georgina Taylor was launched after person seen in difficulty in water

“Tenby’s RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched at around 6.25pm on Saturday, following a report of somebody in difficulty in the sea off Castle Beach.

“The volunteer crew were quickly on scene and immediately saw the casualty, who had been pulled from the water and was on the rocks.

“The casualty was taken from the rocks and into the lifeboat, where Casualty Care was administered whilst the helmsman made best speed to the harbour.

“As the lifeboat was entering the harbour, an ambulance was arriving at the slipway.

“The crew then assisted the ambulance personnel in getting the casualty onto the stretcher and into the ambulance, before re-housing the lifeboat.

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Health

Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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