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Milford Haven: Port denies responsibility for flooded homes

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THE PORT OF MILFORD HAVEN has hit back at claims from the flooded residents of Lower Priory and Havens Head that a blocked culvert was to blame.

Several people have come forward to say that something must be wrong with the drainage under the Havens Head Business Park, owned by the Port, for the flooding to have got so deep, and so quickly.

One of those people is Colin Laugharne from Milford Haven – a former employee of Milford Haven Docks Company until 15 years ago – he told The Herald that he used to be involved with maintaining the culvert over several years.

Mr Laugharne is certain that a blockage caused the flooding and that the Port was to blame. He said: “Millions of pounds worth of damage have probably been caused by this flooding. If you go to the dock wall you can see that the water is just dribbling out. How can that be the case if it is working properly. If you look at the road in front of the library you will see water coming up and out of the drains, rather than going in. That is because the water can get as far as that point and then it has no other place to go.

“The blockage is therefore between the library and The Docks itself.”

He added: “We used to constantly keep that clear when I was working there, and we also used to even grease the drain door so it would open and close easily. I doubt that has been done since I was there.”

Mr Laugharne said: “I used to live in Havens Head – then I sold the house to my son. He was due to complete a sale of the property today but it has been cancelled due to the flooding – all because of a lack of  maintenance to the culvert. Its got to be kept clear at all times.”

The impact on families and businesses is serious. Glenda German, the landlady of The Priory spent an emotional ten minutes on the telephone with our reporter. She is staying with friends after the water level at the pub was threatening to rise to the first floor last night (Nov 8) where she lives with her pet dog, Bertie.

The Priory Inn, Lower Priory, Milford Haven on November 9 (Pic: Herald)

She told The Herald: “I do not think that I have been treated well. I have not seen anybody. I was rescued by  Michael (Barrett) and Swanny (Nigel Swann) in a yellow inflatable dinghy.

With obvious emotion in her voice she said: “My life has been turned upside down and inside out – I am gutted – Its my home, my whole life.”

Glenda explained that before the Havens Head development was constructed there was never any real problems with flooding at the pub.

But the Port said that water continues to flow freely through the culverts.

A press officer told The Herald on the telephone today that the claim of a blockage was completely false.

A statement from the Interim Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven quickly followed.

Andy Jones said: “Firstly, our thoughts are with our neighbouring residents and businesses today as they deal with the devastating effects of significant flooding following the sustained bouts of extraordinary rainfall coupled with high tides. 

“Since yesterday, our staff have been working collaboratively with multiple agencies, including the emergency services, to do everything possible to minimise the flooding impact.

“Our staff have been onsite throughout and we can confirm that the water continues to flow freely through the culverts which carry water from Hubberston and Goose Pills into Milford Docks. This is a system which we monitor and maintain on a regular basis.  

“With regards to water levels in the dock itself, we are rapidly sluicing water out as soon as the tide allows.  Additionally, the emergency services have installed pumps to take water directly from flooded areas into the dock.  

“It is important to note that lock gates are not able to resist the force of the incoming tide. We have no choice but to let the water flow into the dock as the tide comes in and close the lock gates at high tide.

“We will continue to work in collaboration with the emergency services as the situation develops. Further weather and flooding updates can be found on Pembrokeshire County Council’s website and social media channels.”

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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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