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AM seeks reassurances over super-fast broadband roll-out

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FOLLOWING concerns raised with her by constituents, Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales has sought assurances from the Deputy Minister for Skills, Ken Skates, that Pembrokeshire will not be left behind in the roll-out of superfast broadband.

 Superfast Cymru is a partnership between the Welsh Government and BT. It is the largest of its kind in the UK. Superfast Cymru is working to achieve, when combined with commercial roll-outs, the Welsh Government’s aim of providing 96% of premises in Wales with access to fast fibre broadband by the end of Spring 2016. In a letter to Mrs Evans, the Deputy Minister for Skills, Ken Skates, said: “We were pleased to announce on 17 April that the Haverfordwest exchange was the first to go live in Pembrokeshire with no previous commercial deployment in the Local Authority. “Up to 4% of premises in Wales are not currently expected to be served directly by either the Superfast- Cymru project or commercial rollout. Those premises not covered by either Superfast Cymru or commercial roll-out will be scattered across all parts of Wales; not necessarily in rural areas, where the local situation presents engineering challenges. This may include the local geography, planning issues, and engineering challenges such as blocked or full ducts to the existing infrastructure or the availability of space to site an additional roadside cabinet. “Currently, we have published rollout information up to and including March 2015. More information about the roll-out between March and June 2015 is planned for the end of June.” Mrs Evans said: “The Welsh Government has ambitious plans for super-fast broadband in Wales. The benefits for business are clear, and superfast broadband can also allow people to do more from home – such as access entertainment, do research for school, college or university, pay bills, and so on. “I would encourage anyone with an interest in this subject to register to receive up to date information about the roll-out on the Superfast Cymru website: www.superfast-cymru.com.”

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Business

Tesco grant boost for Milford Haven children

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AN ORGANISATION working with children in Milford Haven has received a £3,425 grant from a special costal voting round of Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme.
The grant for Clybiau Plant Cymru will go towards delivering workshops and out-of-school childcare clubs that encourage children to play outdoors and connect with nature in coastal areas.

Alex Fudge, the Regional Manager for Clybiau Plant Cymru said the funding will help combat issues of childhood obesity in Wales, giving children the opportunity to play freely and get active away from distractions such as social media.

“We’re truly grateful to Tesco for its support and funding through the Bags of Help scheme,” she said. “We aim to promote health, wellbeing and environmental awareness through fun, outdoor activities, so every donation has a huge impact on kids’ lives.

“The clubs provide valuable play and learning opportunities outside of the school day, enabling parents to work and train, which in turn drives economic growth, tackles poverty and reduces inequalities.”

“Through the funding we are delivering 20 workshops within clubs in the Milford Haven area to children and our staff,” she added. “It will engage up to 340 individuals, as well as providing skills and knowledge which staff can apply on an ongoing basis to provide quality childcare for years to come.”
Tesco shoppers in Milford Haven cast their votes using blue tokens handed out at checkouts as part of the special voting round supporting groups in 42 coastal communities across the UK. More than 100 projects working to improve Britain’s coastline shared the combined funding pot worth £300,000.
Bags of Help, run in partnership with the charity Groundwork, sees funding awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. To date £80m has been awarded through the scheme, with more than £5m awarded to projects in Wales.

Claire de Silva, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help has been a huge success since we introduced the scheme and we are glad to be able to support great projects, including this coastal scheme in Milford Haven.

“We saw a fantastic mix of projects shortlisted and I’d like to thank customers for casting their votes and supporting these important initiatives in their community.”

The scheme is ran in partnership with community charity Groundwork. Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve their local spaces and the places that matter to them. We’re pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to groups enjoying, protecting and improving Britain’s coastlines.”

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£14.9m investment to upgrade west Wales gas network

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WALES & West Utilities is planning to invest over £14.9 million during 2020 to keep the gas flowing to heat homes and power businesses so that people are safe and warm for generations to come.

The news comes after the company invested £10.6 million in 2019, upgrading 53 kilometres of gas pipes across the West Wales area.

Rob Long, Wales & West Utilities Director of Operations, said:

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across West Wales.

“Whether it’s for heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We’ve pledged to deliver a Net Zero ready gas network by 2035, so this work will not only keep the gas flowing safely and reliably today, it will also make sure the gas network is fit for the future and is ready to transport green gases like hydrogen and biomethane.

“We’ll be in communities right across Wales and we really appreciate the support and patience of local people while we work. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on our plans.”

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night.

The company also has a multi-million pound, 30-year gas pipe investment programme which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being upgraded to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable gas supply now and in the future.

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Port unveils Quay Stores and hotel plans

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SIGNIFICANT plans have been revealed by the Port of Milford Haven for the build of a hotel and separate conference and events venue at Milford Waterfront in Milford Haven, ahead of formal planning applications to Pembrokeshire County Council this week (Dec 18).
The two planning applications come shortly after the Port received approval of outline planning for its multi-million-pound Milford Waterfront development last month. Together, they will make a major contribution to the economic prosperity of the area with around fifty jobs created, including several apprenticeship opportunities.

The 40,000 sq. ft 100-bedroom hotel will be located towards the entrance to Milford Waterfront on the site of the disused Burnyeats building; which will be demolished. The hotel will feature a mix of standard and family rooms spread over five floors with postcard views across Milford Marina as well as a restaurant and bar with a private dining area, some meeting rooms and a small gym for guests to use during their stay.

Opposite the entrance to Milford Waterfront, the Quay Stores building which was originally constructed in around 1885 and is grade II listed, is in line for a major face-lift. Stunning designs that make use of the building’s many original features depict a multi-purpose conference and events venue capable of accommodating over 300 people at a formal banquet. The facility will be able to host a variety of events including conferences, exhibitions, concerts and weddings.

If approved, both projects will follow similar development timescales with work due to commence in late spring 2020 and be completed by summer 2021.

Commenting on the planning applications, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven Andy Jones, said: “This year has been a significant one for Milford Waterfront – new shops have opened, others have expanded; luxury Floatel Cabins have arrived; boat trips have been operating and thousands of visitors have enjoyed a plethora of fun events. Milford Waterfront is already a great place to live, work and play and is recognised internationally as one of the leading investment opportunities in Wales.

“And now we are ready to move forward with the next two exciting developments which are significant investments but ones which we know will be huge assets for the town and the wider region, creating more opportunities for people to enjoy living and working in Milford Haven and drawing in greater numbers of people to stay and enjoy what’s on offer.

“We look forward to hearing Pembrokeshire County Council’s decision in the spring.”

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