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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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School staff video spreads positive message to students

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A VIDEO featuring hundreds of Pembrokeshire educators, teachers and support staff is spreading a positive message to their students and around the world.
The video, set to the Madness hit ‘It Must Be Love’, features all staff from the education world in Pembrokeshire from hub schools to staff in their own homes, writing uplifting and supporting messages to their students.

It has been a difficult time for teachers, staff and students, with schools closed for the vast majority of pupils due to the coronavirus outbreak.
And the video underlines that the education world, including teachers, is thinking of their students and urging them to remain upbeat.
Positive messages include ‘keep moving forward’, ‘keep calm, stay safe, look after each other’, ‘keep smiling’ and ‘we will get through this’.
There are also messages of support for key workers and NHS staff.
And the final video – which went from idea to release in just two days – has been a hit on social media, reaching more than 33,000 people in less than a week.
It has attracted supportive comments from Canada to Australia.
Educators rallied to the call to get involved in the Together Educate project which was the idea of Kelly Monroe, Schools Curriculum Manager with Really Pro who provide innovative alternative education services to secondary schools across the county.
Kelly, along with teachers from HHVC school Kate Hudson-Brown, Mollie Hughes, Rhian Owens, and videographer Dean Harries from We The Dee set about getting all educational staff involved in the project.
As well as filming at hubs which have remained open to cater for children of key workers, such as Milford Haven and Haverfordwest High School, an essential ingredient was to get school staff who are currently are at home to join via video link.
And when the time came, the response from the educational world was incredible.
“We didn’t really know what the response would be,” Kelly explained.
“But when we turned on we were absolutely blown away.
“We had to get extra screens just to try to fit everyone in. We had about 300 people wanting to get involved.
“The whole idea was about bringing people together and what shone through is the way that teachers and school staff are missing their students, missing the buzz and the noise of school life and missing what they are fantastic at – educating and teaching.”
The messages that have flooded in following the video have been full of support.
One from a NHS worker said they had suffered a bad day but the video had greatly lifted their spirits.
Kelly added: “The response has been overwhelming. It was a balancing act to bring some joy without being flippant at the situation.
“It was eerie filming in some of the empty classrooms and corridors.
At times I felt quite tearful and overwhelmed because when you love this profession seeing an empty classroom is actually hard to absorb especially when you know what’s going on outside in the world, and you care about the kids.
“But the video’s aim was not to focus on the situation but be full of positivity and the message is that those classrooms and corridors will be full of life again.
“We may not know exactly when but they will and when they are all the amazing educators, support staff and teachers will be there ready to greet our pupils with energy and gratitude”
Together Educate Facebook page has also re-released a video entitled ‘The Gift of Kindness’ filmed in Milford Haven School with Really Pro and the staff and pupils from the school which was originally shared on social media in December 2019.
The video has taken on extra meaning in the current circumstances.

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Pembrokeshire suspends car parking charges for NHS, health and social care workers

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is to waive charges in its car parks for NHS, health and social care workers from Thursday, April 2.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licencing and Major Events, Cllr Phil Baker, said: “We are very aware that the car parks provide our NHS, health and social care workers with access to essential services such as food and medical supplies.

“The Council will, from today, waive car park fees for this group of workers and this will remain in place during the current lockdown.

“These critical workers will be encouraged to display supporting evidence in their windscreen, such as photocopies of their work pass – with any sensitive information removed – or a letter of evidence from their employer as their parking permit.”

Councillor Baker said the decision would be reviewed in line with Welsh and UK Government guidelines.

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Public bus services change in Pembrokeshire

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Due to the current situation there are a number of changes required
to public bus services in Pembrokeshire.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing
and Major Events, Councillor Phil Baker, said: “Changes are required
in order to respond to the Coronavirus situation, and to continue to
maintain services to key locations such as hospitals, GP surgeries,
pharmacies and certain food stores.

“The timetable information on the Council’s website will be kept up-to-
date but unfortunately it is not possible to update the information
displayed at all bus stops.

“These arrangements may be subject to further change at short
notice, and I would ask that anyone wanting to use public transport
services to please visit our website or ring 01437 764551 for the latest
up to date information.”

The one-day-a-week timetable for Coastal Buses (387/8, 400, 404
and 405) will remain until further notice.

Both Community Transport and the Bus Buddies service are

A full list of all public bus services in Pembrokeshire and the current
service provision is listed below. A number of services will be
operated on a dial-a-ride basis.

suspended until further notice.

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