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Haverfordwest: Road to be closed this month for bridge replacement

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RESIDENTS in Haverfordwest are being reminded by Network Rail that essential work to replace Pembroke Road railway bridge will be completed later this month.

As part of the £4.25m upgrade project, Network Rail engineers will demolish the existing railway bridge deck – which carries the South Wales Main Line – and install a new, more resilient structure as part its Railway Upgrade Plan to improve the reliability of the railway. The 80-year-old bridge deck requires replacing as it is nearing the end of its lifespan.

To ensure the core work is carried out as efficiently and as safely as possible, part of Pembroke Road will require a short, temporary closure between the railway bridge and Merlins Bridge Welfare Hall.

The road will be closed to through traffic and pedestrians from 8pm on Friday, January 18 until 6pm on Monday, January 21. Clay Lane will also be temporarily closed to all through traffic during this time.

The official diversion route will be fully signposted for Pembroke Road, and motorists are advised to allow additional time for their journeys. A courtesy shuttle bus service will be in operation for pedestrians and cyclists during the essential work.

A bus replacement service will be in operation between Whitland and Milford Haven for rail passengers on January 19-20 and passengers are advised to check with their train operator before they travel.

The essential replacement of Milford Road railway bridge will take place next month. The A4076 at Milford Road railway bridge will be closed from 7pm on Friday, February 15 until 6am on Monday, February 18.

Residents and local businesses wishing to find out more about the work to the bridges are invited to attend ‘drop-in’ events on January 10 and 31 from 3pm to 6pm at the Merlins Bridge Welfare Hall, Pembroke Road, SA61 1JW. No appointment is necessary and representatives from Network Rail’s project team will be on hand to provide information and answer any questions.

Rhys Howells, scheme project manager for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “We understand that closing the roads for any length of time is inconvenient and we thank the local community and road users for bearing with us whilst we complete these essential upgrade works to replace Pembroke Road railway bridge.

“We have been working closely with Pembrokeshire County Council and other partners to minimise disruption, and to develop the diversionary routes. I would encourage anyone wishing to find out more to attend one of the ‘drop-in’ events, where we will be happy to answer your questions.”

Preparatory work is now underway on Pembroke road railway bridge and a single lane traffic management system will be in operation on Pembroke Road, at the railway bridge from 10pm on Saturday, January 12 to 10am on Sunday, January 13.

To ensure Network Rail teams can complete finishing work safely, a single lane traffic management system will also be in operation at the bridge, from 10pm on Saturday 26 to 10am on Sunday 27 January and from 10pm on Saturday 2 to 10am on Sunday February 3.

For more information visit www.networkrail.co.uk/merlins-bridge

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Listen in for top tips to improve health and wellbeing

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PEMBROKESHIRE Leisure has formed an exciting partnership with PLANED to bring Pembrokeshire people a new podcast that promotes wellbeing in our communities.

With the pandemic and the challenges it has created at the forefront of everyone’s minds, a series of conversations have been recorded with people who have taken different approaches to make their way through this last year.

With those conversations, The Pembrokeshire Wellbeing podcast was born.

The primary aim is to support communities in their wellbeing goals. Pembrokeshire Leisure’s facilities have had to be closed for much of the last year and the service has tried to identify different ways to support residents’ wellbeing.

The service is committed playing a prominent role in the national recovery by supporting communities to become resilient and healthy through social and physical activity provision.

The podcast is a small way of showing how some of the members of our communities have chosen to keep active both mentally and physically. People have been unable to use the service’s Leisure Centres, so they have been resourceful.

Grab a cuppa and take half an hour for yourself, you won’t regret it.

Find the podcast (The Pembrokeshire Wellbeing) in all the usual places, such as Apple Podcasts for iOS devices and Google Podcasts for Android. Please remember to subscribe.

Available from Monday, March 1.

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Cllr Dowson asks police to stop UN-backed anti-racism day protests

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THE UNITED NATIONS’ Anti-Racism Day has upset a Pembrokeshire County Councillor, and he has written to the police in an attempt to stop demonstrations locally.

March 20 2021 is UN Anti-Racism Day – but Pembroke Dock Councillor Paul Dowson thinks events should not go ahead as planned in Penally, Pembroke Dock and Haverfordwest.

The controversial UKIP councillor has been defending himself against accusations of racism of late. He also has had to defend the actions of a fellow UKIP member who has had his YouTube channel, in which he participated, blocked after a BBC and S4C investigation concluded that there was racist content.

The UN event he is opposing is being supported all over the world, will be marked, according to its organisers, with an online national rally with speakers representing the broad alliance of communities and organisations that make up the anti-racist movement.

“We will come together united against racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and fascism. We will stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants”, a spokesperson said.

A ‘national day of action’ in support of the UN’s efforts is being championed by the workers’ union Unison in the UK.

The plan for Pembrokeshire is laid out on social media. According to the Facebook group ‘Stand up to racism Pembrokeshire’ is a series of ‘socially distanced events’ starting at 11am on the day in Penally, which the group calls ‘Solidarity with refugees’.

That is to be followed by the online rally at 1pm organised by Stand Up To Racism. Then at 2.30pm there will be an event in Pembroke Dock described as ‘an event light the town in purple and declare it racism free’

The International UN Antiracism Day online rally starts at 5pm.

Similar demos have taken place before locally (Pic Herald photographer)

The Facebook page then goes on to say that at 5.29pm at Haverfordwest Picton Fields demonstrators will ‘Take the Knee with Louisa Calderon’ at the same time as Swansea and Cardiff footballers before their game – in solidarity with BLM

“We will be all compliant with Covid regulations… Please wear a mask and socially distance” it says.

In this letter to the police Cllr Dowson wrote: “As County Councillor for The Pembroke Dock Central ward, I am concerned about the fact that a public protest has been scheduled to take place.. in breaching tier 4 lockdown regulations.

“I am reliably informed that there are people attending from outside the county and outside Wales.

“The posters advertising these events also state the same.

“Like all other towns in the country, we have a section of the community who are more vulnerable to Coronavirus than others and it is the duty of all of us to ensure that we do not place these people at risk by adhering to the COVID-19 lockdown legislation.

“These planned social gatherings are wilfully and deliberately intended to ignore legislation. If I were to do the same I’m certain I would be reported for the offence. The people attending this planned gathering on the 20th March have no justifiable excuse for placing local people’s lives in danger.

“I would appreciate your reassurance that this mass gathering will be dealt with according to Welsh Government legislation on tier four lockdown.

“I’d also be grateful for your confirmation that any person travelling from outside the permitted area will be reported for the offence and sent back home.

“As a County Councillor people are looking to me for reassurance… that [the demos] will be prevented from taking place and penalties will be issued accordingly.

An organiser told The Herald: “The growth of the Black Lives Matter movement has shone a fresh spotlight on the horrific levels of racism around the world. With the Coronavirus crisis intensifying, structural racism & health inequalities mean the epidemic is continuing to disproportionately impact Black communities.

“On March 20 2021 we will come together united against racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and fascism. We will stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants.”

Last month Cllr Dowson hit out at the BBC – calling the broadcasting company a ‘shambolic mess’. His remarks followed a news report in which fellow UKIP members were accused of racism on a YouTube channel.

The controversial who represents the Pembroke Dock Central Ward has also taken aim at what he calls online ‘bullies’ who have set up Facebook groups with the sole intention of harassing him, simply because he doesn’t agree with their views.

The county councillor has come out in defence of the Voice of Wales hosts Dan Morgan and Stan Robinson after the BBC and S4C broadcast a news item last week where accusations were made by senior politicians from the Senedd that ‘unacceptable’ language and hate speech had been used by the YouTubers and guests on their channel.

In 2020 the controversial councillor denied he shared images on social media that were racist, hateful to women and people of different religions.

Dowson said the images, alleged by the union Unison to have come from his Facebook account, were “manufactured” by political opponents.

Speaking at the time he told a reporter from BBC Wales: “Give me 24 hours and I could come up with the same screenshots in your name.”

Mr Dowson “categorically” denied sharing the allegedly offensive posts. He also denied he was racist.

Getting in by a very narrow majority, he was elected by just four votes to represent the Pembroke Dock Central ward in 2017.

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Fr. Liam Bradley to become Lead Chaplain for Dyfed-Powys Police

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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in Haverfordwest will see some changes over the coming weeks as Father Liam Bradley, who has been the parish priest for seven years is to move from his post to become the Lead Chaplain for Dyfed-Powys Police.

From Cardiff, Archbishop George Stack said in a statement: “Fr. Liam Bradley has given outstanding service as volunteer chaplain to the police in Haverfordwest over recent years.

“So much so, that he has been seconded by the Diocese of Menevia to become Lead Chaplain for Dyfed-Powys Police with responsibility for a team of volunteer chaplains. He will be engaged in this work of spiritual care and pastoral support of police officers and civilian workers for a period of three days each week. He will be based at Dyfed-Powys Police Headquarters in Carmarthen.

“Whilst this means that Fr. Liam will have to stand down as parish priest of Haverfordwest, I am pleased to say that he will continue to have responsibility as chaplain to the staff and patients at Withybush Hospital for two days each week. In addition to this, he will also offer his services to the Cistercian community at Holy Cross Abbey, Whitland.

“I am grateful to Canon Pius Valummelmalayil for his invitation that Fr. Liam should take up residence at St. Mary’s Presbytery, Carmarthen.

“I have asked Fr. Matthew Roche-Saunders to assume pastoral responsibility for the parish of St. David and St. Patrick, Haverfordwest and the Immaculate Conception, Narberth, for the foreseeable future. These changes will take place after Easter.

Writing of this appointment, Fr. Liam said on the parish’s social media page: “Whilst I am sorry to stand down from the role of parish priest at Haverfordwest and Narberth, I give thanks for serving the community for the last seven years. The huge need for spiritual and pastoral support of those who work at the front line in serving our communities and keeping us safe lies behind this appointment. My voluntary work with the police has taught me how much they value such support.

“I offer it on behalf of the Catholic Church to those of all faiths and none”.

Fr. Matthew added: “I wish Fr. Liam every blessing in his new role of bringing the service of the Church to the wider world. His gifts for such outreach have been recognised in this appointment. I am pleased that he will continue to remain in contact with parishioners in Haverfordwest through his work as hospital chaplain.

“I am grateful for the mutual support and friendship we have enjoyed over the last two and a half years and look forward to it continuing”.

“Please do keep me and Fr Matt in your prayers. Pray also for each other, and treasure in each other the may gifts that each brings to our community of faith.

“This is the closing of one chapter, but beginning of something new and exciting too.

“In all things let us give glory to God who guides us by his divine providence, and supplies what we need to complete his work.”

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