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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.”

Education

Delight as foundation phase learners return to class

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PEMBROKESHIRE Headteachers have reported very positive returns to school for Foundation Phase Learners.

All Foundation Phase Learners returned to schools on Monday, March 1st and attendance has been reported at almost 90% since.

The Council’s Director for Education, Steven Richards-Downes, said: “A wide range of council services have worked together to ensure that Foundation Phase pupils have been able to return
safely to school.

“I am particularly grateful to all school staff and families for ensure that learning is now available for our youngest learners face to face.”

Headteachers remarked how schools have filled with smiles and laughter following the safe and phased return of Foundation Phase learners.

Cora O’Brien, Headteacher at Waldo Williams School in Haverfordwest emphasised how quickly learners have settled back in to a routine.

“It has been an absolute joy to hear their laughter in the playground and to observe their love of learning face to face once again. I thank everybody in the Waldo Williams School
community for working so hard to ensure that the transition went smoothly.”

Vicky Hart-Griffiths, Headteacher of Ysgol Hafan y Mor in Tenby, said: “It has been wonderful to welcome all our Foundation Phase learners back to school. They are thriving, being amongst
friends and back to a school routine.  

“All the pupils have spoken about how happy they are to have returned and it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome them back and we can’t wait until we have all our pupils back in school.

“The school feels alive again and there’s a positive buzz and laughter once again echoing throughout the school.”

Gareth Lewis, Headteacher at Broad Haven CP School said children had returned “with real enthusiasm, and have been very keen to meet up with their friends.”

Mr Lewis added: “Our parents have been very supportive and positive about the return, and those with older children are very much looking forward to a wider return to schooling.”

Mr Richards-Downes said plans were now turning to more learners returning to schools in the near future.

“We are looking to the next phases of the re-opening of schools on the 15th of March as long as the government guidelines allow.”

Further details will be released in due course.

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Pembrokeshire County Council: This week’s Leader’s coronavirus update

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Friday, 5th March as follows:

‘Welcome everyone to my weekly update.

“It is with rather a heavy heart that I tell you that it’s almost 12 months since my first statement on the coronavirus pandemic.

“On 9th March 2020, I addressed our Cabinet meeting with the following words:

“Further to the news yesterday that two people in Pembrokeshire had tested as positive for the Covid 19 virus, I am sure you will join me in wishing them both a speedy and full recovery.

“I can reassure you that our services will continue as usual, and all our employees can continue to attend to their work, appointments, schools and services as they normally would.

“We should all help protect ourselves and our communities by following Public Health Wales advice, particularly around washing hands and using a tissue for symptoms associated with cold and flu and then safely disposing of it.

“I am grateful to the co-operation and hard work of all of our staff and we will provide further updates and information when we have them.

“In the meantime I can confirm that detailed planning arrangements, both internally, with partner agencies and through the Dyfed Powys Local Resilience Forum, are well underway to ensure that the Council and Pembrokeshire are as well placed as possible for whatever challenges we may face. Thank you.”

“I am sure you will join me while I take a moment now to remember all those people in Pembrokeshire and further afield, who, very sadly, passed away since I made that announcement.

“I continue to be incredibly grateful, as I’m sure you are, to everyone who is helping to beat this pandemic, working so very hard now for over a year.

“We are fortunate now to be in a position where the vaccine programme is protecting older members of our community and starting to roll out among one of the biggest groups – the over 65s and those with underlying health conditions.

“This time next week (12th March) the Welsh Government will have notified us of their plans for the next three weeks.

“In the meantime, we remain in Alert Level 4 and the stay at home message continues to be more important than ever as we reach the threshold of better times.

“I wish you all a good weekend and thank you once again to the vast majority of wonderful Pembrokeshire residents who are doing the right thing and waiting patiently at home for restrictions to lift.

“We do really appreciate your efforts and determination to help bring this pandemic to an end.”

 

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Sergeant Hillier ‘died doing the job he loved’, says his heartbroken father

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THE ARMY SERGEANT who died after being injured in a live firing exercise, has been named locally.

The incident occurred at Castlemartin Training Area, and led to the death of Sgt Gavin Hillier, who was in the Welsh Guards.

In a post on social media, his father wrote: “Absolutely devastated to be writing this post, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

“At 3.45am this morning I received a phone call that will forever change my life. My eldest son Gavin Mark Hillier was in a fatal accident yesterday in the army (the job he loved).

“Sleep tight & rest in peace son. I’m so proud of you. Goodnight and god bless, love your heartbroken dad.”

An Army spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on March 4.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

It is understood that Sergeant Hillier, who served as part of the Welsh Guards’ motor transport platoon, was due to be deployed to Iraq and had previously been awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct medal by Prince Charles, the regiment’s Colonel in Chief, in 2019.

The tragic incident is the latest in a number of accidents at Castlemartin.

In 2017, The Herald reported that two soldiers died in a tank explosion, which a coroner ruled was due to a design flaw.

The following year, an Army captain was jailed in July 2018 after a 21-year-old soldier was killed by a stray bullet during an exercise at the range in 2012.

An investigation has been launched into the death of a soldier at Castlemartin RAC Range following a military exercise.

Police were called to the site at just before 10.45pm on March 4.

Sadly, a man was pronounced dead shortly after. Our thoughts are with his family, who have been informed of the incident and are being supported by specialist officers.

An investigation is underway led by Dyfed-Powys Police. Officers are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and MoD.

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