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Mixed experiences for local Persimmon buyers

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Troubled play area: Persimmon and Pembrokeshire County Council are 'in discussion' about ownership

LAST WEEK, we reported on an unhappy new build owner who claims to have over 80 issues with their Persimmon property.

We asked homeowners on Martello Park if they were happy with their build and if they had experienced any issues which were similar to Mr Harris’.

We had many responses from homeowners who have bought a Persimmon property.

MIXED EXPERIENCES AT MARTELLO PARK

Many of those who contacted us said they were happy with their purchase.

Leanne Panton said: “We live in one of the firsts ones built; so about 4 years old now and we’ve had no problems at all. Absolutely fine.”

Barry Minshull also said he was happy with his purchase on the estate: “Very happy with our house any issues we may have had have been sorted within an acceptable time frame so we are very happy with our new build.”

Bridie Harrison also agreed: “We are very happy with our house in martello park. We have had no problems and nothing is too much if you ask someone to come give you a hand with something, and we have had the same people doing hobbles for us as well which have also been good work.”

However, one resident, who did not wish to be named, said Mr Harris’ experience was similar to hers.

The resident said: “They ignore emails and when you call. You leave messages but don’t get responses for weeks or months. I moved in December 2016 had over twenty faults.

“We had a leak in the bathroom that came through living room which ruined flooring. A carpenter put a nail through pipework when put on skirting boards. There was a faulty weld on pipes and fittings missing from the back of toilet which led to water coming all over bathroom floors gradually.

“Patio doors were not fixed correctly you could see outside through gaps. Drains were at 45 degree angles in the garden and above ground level. Wobbly slabs placed on exterior front and back. Cracks down walls to name the worst.

“I know neighbours in the same row have had many more issues too. For example, live electric cables dangling behind walls and not connected to sockets. Leaking showers etc.

“We have been in nearly two years and not all issues have been sorted. The site manager signed off the snagging list as complete even though it isn’t complete and we are not first he’s done this to.

“Persimmon customer care won’t answer emails or calls so have had to fork out money to sort issues ourselves or just live with the way it is.

“You have to look at the number of houses for sale on the estate that are not even three-years-old to know people are not happy. It’s disgraceful.

“I have heard of professional builders walking off-site as they are told they are too good at their work. They want speed not accuracy… complete shambles.”

PROBLEMS AT CLOVERFIELDS, MILFORD HAVEN

Persimmon has also come under scrutiny at their Cloverfields development in Milford Haven, where residents are disappointed by the lack of completion on the site.

An anonymous homeowner has told The Herald that the main road leading into the estate is still left unfinished despite living there for nearly five months.

Speaking to us, they said: “We were one of the last residents on the estate, purchasing our property back in June 2018, and yet the main road still remains unfinished.

“Five months later, the estate still resembles a building site, with building materials and metal fences still visible throughout the development yet there is no building work taking place.

“We were promised off-road parking, but we can’t use this as it is still blocked. Cars are parking anywhere they can which is causing massive issues and blocking some parts of the estate.”

Our source added that several attempts have been made to get a completion date for the outstanding work, however calls, emails and voicemails to the customer service team have not been answered.

When we presented these complaints to Persimmon Homes, a spokesperson said: “There has been a delay with finishing the roads and drainage at our Cloverfields development, which was in respect of ensuring the drainage works were passed by Welsh Water ahead of any surfacing works. We apologise for any inconvenience.

“We are pleased to report that a programme of works has been established with our groundworks contractor. Work is due to start at the end of November and finished by the Christmas break.”

Another controversy on the estate surrounds a play park, which has recently been boarded up.

Locals have been told that the park is inaccessible because of vandalism, but our source tells us that the ‘supposed vandalism’ is in fact just a broken swing.

They added: “There are rumours around the estate that the park has been boarded up in an attempt to remove it and take it to the However, Persimmon site in Pembroke to help them sell those houses.”

Persimmon said that they were in talks with Pembrokeshire County Council in regards to the play park in a statement to the Herald: “The play area at Cloverfields has been secured following a couple of instances of vandalism.

“There is currently a reluctance by Pembrokeshire County Council to adopt the play area. We are in discussions with the council about this and, when this happens, the park will be reopened and maintenance will fall within their remit.”

In response, Pembrokeshire County Council told us: “This play area is situated on a private housing estate.

“It is, therefore, the responsibility of the developer of the estate – not the local authority- to maintain the play area.”

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Former headteacher of Llandysul Primary School jailed for child sex offences

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A FORMER headteacher of primary schools in west Wales who was awarded the MBE for services to education has been jailed for child sex offences.

David Watkin Bundock, aged 74, admitted six offences–one of them committed after he had been arrested and granted bail.

Judge Keith Thomas, sitting at Swansea crown court, told Bundock he had achieved a great deal during his professional career but had then gone on to behave in a way that was the exact opposite to the moral values he had once championed.

Bundock, once the head of Llandysul Primary School, admitted four offences of possessing indecent images of children.

He also admitted attempting to communicate with a child aged under 16 for sexual reasons and, on January 27, 2019, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Bundock was jailed for two years and three months. He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and banned from ever working with children and must register with the police as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Jim Davis, prosecuting, said Bundock came to be of interest to the police after his telephone number was found on the mobile of a man arrested for indecent images offences.

But after being granted bail he was then snared by paedophile hunters who created an Internet account of a fictional 15 year old boy.

Bundock swapped indecent messages with the “boy” and travelled to a park in Carmarthen hoping to meet him.

But when he arrived he was confronted by members of the group and arrested later that day for a second time.

Bundock’s barrister, India Cox, said his offending was completely out of character and difficult to explain.

Judge Thomas described the offences as appalling.

The offences took place in Carmarthenshire and at his home at Valetta House, Cardiff.

Bundock went on to become a senior adviser with Ceredigion County Council’s education department. In 2004 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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Performing Arts students hit the road with the ‘Crime of Your Life’

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PEMBROKESHIRE College year one Performing Arts students have recently been performing The Crime of Your Life at secondary schools across the county as part of a two-week crime prevention campaign with Dyfed Powys Police.

The Crime of Your Life production is a gritty tale that follows Sebrina Spencer, a moody, stubborn teen who goes down the wrong path and ends up in a life of crime. From petty theft to arson, she takes on the law, all whilst losing the most important things in her life. Her continuous downward spiral results in her winning the world’s worst game show, “The Crime of Your Life.”

Students were tasked with the responsibility of organising the performance and production aspects of the show. With the cast and production teams working together, rig lighting was installed, the set was assembled and props were in place ready to perform in front of year seven year groups.

Holly Mayhew, who primarily plays a Police Officer in the production, explained how much she has valued the experience of being on the road with her peers over the last two weeks; “The past couple of weeks have really tested my skills both as a performer and production team member. A lot of hard work goes into the set up and successful execution of the show. Our aim has not only been to just entertain the learners but also educate them into making a difference as well as get them thinking about the consequences negative actions and words can have on others and themselves.”

Simon Haslam, Performing Arts lecturer at the college commented on how proud he was of the students; “This production is valuable to the various agencies involved, however the experience that the students gain from touring to nine different school venues over a two-week period is invaluable. Most actors will start their careers touring out of the back of a transit van. This tour gives our students a valuable head start and opens their eyes to the problems of touring. It also forces them to come up with bespoke on the spot solutions in each venue. Most importantly the students performed very well and it was a pleasure to witness them collaborate and support one another when facing any challenges along the way.”

The cast and production team closed their tour by performing a back to back production in the Merlin Theatre which was open to the general public.

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Oakwood announces brand new rides and season pass

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WALES’ largest theme park Oakwood has announced two new rides for this year, as part of wider future investment plans.

The Pembrokeshire attraction is set to unveil a new family ride ‘Dizzy Disk’ for Easter, as well as bring back popular thrill ride Bounce, after a £400,000 refurbishment.

Joining Oakwood’s eclectic collection of 27 rides and experiences, Dizzy Disk will see riders face outwards as they glide back and forth while simultaneously spinning in circles. Aimed at families, it will offer fun for everyone.

A firm visitor favourite, Bounce originally closed in 2016 but will reopen its doors this summer
following a full restoration, becoming Oakwood’s fifth large thrill ride.

As well as new rides, 2019 will see the launch of the Oakwood season passes, in addition to the park’s already popular annual tickets. Costing fractionally more than a regular day pass, the new ticket will allow holders entry into the park for the entire season, running from 15 April to 3 November, representing great value for Pembrokeshire residents and regular visitors.

Parent company Aspro has invested more than £8.5m into the park in the last five years

The changes come on the back of a number of multi-million-pound investments in the park over recent years by parent company Aspro since it acquired Oakwood in 2008.

In the last five years alone, Aspro has spent millions of pounds upgrading the park including £4.5m developing new Peter Pan themed children’s area ‘Neverland’ in 2013, complete with seven rides and play areas including a kid’s coaster and water slide, as well as £1.5m in 2018 to create ‘Spooky Street’– a major new family zone featuring new rides, attractions and catering facilities.

Employing over 300 people a year, including 20 full time year-round employees, in addition to hundreds of seasonal staff, Oakwood is one of the largest employers in Pembrokeshire and plans to create further jobs through future investments.

Park Director, Phil Verbinnen at Oakwood Theme Park said: “We are excited to welcome our new ride ‘Dizzy Disk’ and reinstate Bounce to Oakwood, adding to our repertoire of fun, family friendly attractions at the park.

“We have invested significantly into the park in recent years, creating exciting new thrills for the family market, along with new catering and retail facilities which will add to the visitor experience.

“This new destination marks the start of our ambitious plans for further investment in the coming years, designed in response to visitor feedback. We especially want to give our local customers added value so our season pass is a great way of making sure they get great bang for their buck!”

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