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Application for Cleddau Bridge Hotel to become care home approved

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THE FORMER Cleddau Bridge Hotel in Pembroke Dock will become a care home after an application was approved by the Planning Committee today (May 22).

The Cleddau Bridge Hotel closed in January and its staff were left without jobs and were not paid.

Since then the application to change it to a care home has come about and it has been the subject of much debate and a public meeting has also been held.

The ownership of the building has also been called into question with three different changes in the last couple of years.

Pembroke Dock Town Councillor George Manning had hoped to question the previous ownership of the building but was stopped twice as he was warned by the Chairman, Cllr David Howlett, that those issues were not planning matters.

Cllr Manning said: “When this came before Pembroke Dock Town Council we decided to put this open to the public and we had a public meeting about it.

“The consensus of opinion is that there is no great objection to the use of this building as a care home. But, what is most concerning, to not only the Town Council but to the general public is that this property and the management of it will still be in the ownership of the Kular family.

“Over the past five years, the hotel itself has changed hands within the Kular family at least three times.

“Although there is no strong reason for refusal on planning issues, I think there are strong reasons to ensure that whoever takes over that this applicant has the credibility to undertake and run a care home.

“I would urge, before you make a decision on this application, that it would not be unreasonable for this committee to seek further evidence of the ability for this company and Mr John Smith to run a care home, it is important to everybody.”

The agent for the application, Mr Richard Bowen said: “The application before you today has been thoroughly examined, resulting in a positive recommendation from your officers.

“The applicant is aware that there are some concerns and whilst the officers report has sought to address these matters, I take this opportunity to reinforce the fact that this application accords with the spirit of local and national planning policy.

“In terms of fit and proper people to run nursing home, you’ll be aware this will need a license from yourselves as the local licensing authority and that matter can be dealt with appropriately at that time.

“The former Cleddau Bridge hotel comprised a 54-bed hotel and despite its success in early years, following the closure of key clients, the occupancy rates fell and dropped significantly below a level which enabled a successful and viable operation to continue and therefore closed in January 2018 resulting in the regrettable loss of 40 jobs.

“Once it is operational, it will result in the creation of 40 full-time employees, allowing for shift patterns it could be a far higher number of people employed at the facility.”

Cllr Tony Wilcox said: “It is worrying for the people of Pembroke Dock that this hotel has changed hands frequently over the last couple of years and as soon as it wasn’t viable it was closed virtually overnight.

“What’s to stop that happening again if it’s not viable and closed overnight and you’ve got incredibly vulnerable people there literally homeless.”

Cllr Brian Hall said: “If we go down the lines of refusing this today, along the lines of the Town Council, as has already been mentioned, they are not viable planning reasons.

“I can understand the concern of the staff but you’ve got to be realistic, we’ve been told by the agent they are going to employ 40, 50, 60 people, there is a distinct possibility that some of them will apply for another job and they would be delighted to get another job, albeit it’s a different use.”

Cllr Hall then moved the application for approval and that was seconded by Cllr Peter Morgan.

Cllr David Pugh added he would rather see a building in use rather than be empty and deteriorating and also indicated his support.

The application was approved by a majority with Cllr Tony Wilcox abstaining from the vote.

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County Councillor Dai Boswell guilty

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THE FORMER Pembroke mayor, Cllr Dai Boswell, has been convicted of indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl by a jury at Swansea Crown Court today (Jun 18).

In relation to three other allegations of indecent assault, Boswell was cleared.

The jury has not yet returned a verdict in relation to an allegation of rape and three further charges of indecent assault.

The judge will accept majority verdicts on those.

The offences are said to have taken place between 1991 and 1994 and relate to two children who were under 13 at the time.

Boswell served in the Army for more than 12 years and was well known locally as district parade marshal for the Royal British Legion.

The Pembrokeshire County Councillor was immediately remanded into custody

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One thousand march to save Withybush Hospital A&E services

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Over 1,000 people marched in Haverfordwest today (June 16) to show their support for the A&E department at Withybush General Hospital.

The protesters marched from Haverfordwest football club, leaving  at 11.30am and made their way via Bridge Street to Castle Square, and then around to the Riverside Shopping Centre, and back to the field behind the football club where a family fun day had been organised.

There were rumours that there would be inclement weather for the protest, but just on cue, the sun came out as the first walkers left the field for what many were describing as a “now or never” attempt to retain services at Withybush.

Conservative politicians joined the march including local MP’s Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb as well as Paul Davies AM. County Councillors and representatives from the Labour party were also at the protest, amongst others.

Stephen Crabb MP told The Herald that all of the University Health Board’s proposals for Withybush Hospital included a “downgrade”, and that this was not acceptable for the people of Pembrokeshire. In a passionate interview with Herald TV he said that today was the day that “local people fight for the services that they deserve.”

Mr Crabb said that he knew that recruitment of staff was a “challenge across the whole of the UK” but the Health Board need to be told they need to do more for Pembrokeshire.

Just before the protest, the admin of the Save Withybush Group on Facebok posted: “Over 22,000 have joined this group and almost 23,000 have signed the petition so we know there is massive support among the people of Pembrokeshire to save our hospital. Now we just need everyone to turn out this Saturday and show Hywel Dda Health Board that we mean business and that they will not get away with closing our A&E or any of the vital services at Withybush.”

Drivers of vehicles honked their horns as they drove past the protest which was led by musicians from the Saint City Jazz Band from St Davids.

Many people told Herald reporters that they felt that the hospital had been “deliberately undermined” ans that uncertainty created by the Health Board themselves in relation to hospital services was having a negative effect on the recruitment of staff.

This large march and fun day is described by organisers as the first stage in a summer of action to fight for services at Withybush Hospital.

Those who have not already done so are urged to fill in the consultation document published by Hywel Dda University Health Board.

  • Photography by Mike Hillen and Aad Oostermeijer.
  • Additional reporting by Matthew Roberts

 

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Pembroke Dock: Dog in black bag found dead in water

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A SHOCKING image of a dead dog which was found in the water at Pembroke Port, wrapped in a black bag, has been sent to The Herald.

The image was sent to us by a local man who pulled the bag out of the water.

Once on the dry land, he realised that tragically the remains of a dog was inside.

The shocking uncensored image is below.

WARNING: Upsetting imagery follows.

A witness at the scene told the Herald that police were called to the scene following the discovery.

The man who made the discovery told us: “The bag was down floating by the tugs, Pembroke Port, it looked like a tent bag at first.

“We pulled it up and took it on the walkway to cut it open – we didn’t know what it was.

“Once it was opened, we could see there were stones inside, and then as we opened it more it was obvious the dog was inside.

“To be honest, it looked like it had been in there a while.”

The man then told us that as he left the scene, a member of the tugboats called the police.

“It’s not nice, horrible to see, not nice at all. It didn’t look like a young dog but you don’t have any idea really with it in that state,” he added.

The Herald has contacted Dyfed-Powys Police for more information.

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