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Council Tax premium on empty homes due shortly

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A COUNCIL Tax premium on long-term empty properties in Pembrokeshire is to be introduced from 1 April.

The move comes two years after the County Council began levying a 50 per cent Council Tax premium on the County’s 4,000 second homes.

Pembrokeshire County Council believes the introduction of the two premiums will help increase the supply of housing.

The Authority decided in 2017 that a recommendation from a working party to levy a 25 per cent premium – in addition to the normal Council Tax rate – on properties unoccupied and unfurnished since 1 April, 2016, would come into force this year.

In succeeding years the premium will rise as the time the property has been empty increases so that by April, 2021, it will be 100 percent on properties empty for five years or more.

The Council estimates there are over 1,000 long-term empty properties in the County, some of which have remained empty for up to 10 years. Of these, 670 have been empty for between one and three years.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Bob Kilmister, said that property owners had been allowed a reasonable amount of time between the Council’s decision and its implementation in order to allow for the refurbishment of empty properties prior to occupation or to let or sell.

“Although the new premium will bring in extra revenue, this is not the overriding objective” Councillor Kilmister stressed.

“Indeed the monies will be ring-fenced for affordable housing and the Enhancing Pembrokeshire grant scheme which funds community projects.

“The aim is to revitalise communities by increasing the supply of housing.”

He went on: “We want to encourage owners to either sell or rent their properties and it is not designed to increase our revenues.

“Many of the properties concerned are empty residential units above retail premises.

“Increasing the number of residents living in town centres improves the chances of regeneration too but above all we want to increase the number of residential properties available for those in housing need.”

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Welsh Deputy Minister visits New Farm Shop

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Pictured : Julie Morgan AM

A new farm and produce shop on the Scolton Manor estate outside Haverfordwest has been visited by a Welsh Government Minister.

Julie Morgan AM – Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care – called at the shop to see the Welsh Government’s Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) in action.

The shop provides work experience, training and supported employment opportunities in retail and customer service for people with learning disabilities, disabilities and autism.

It is an addition to Pembrokeshire County Council’s existing supported employment offer through Norman Industries, the Authority’s sheltered employment factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest.

The shop is the result of partnership working involving Workways+ and Experience for Industry – both funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government – Norman Industries and the management and staff at the Council-run Scolton Manor attraction.

The shop, which opened just a few weeks ago, will be supplying the public with fresh produce from the walled gardens at Scolton Manor, local meats, produce, tea and coffee.

It also provides a retail outlet for some of the arts, crafts and products made at Norman Industries.

Over the coming months the shop will also be supplying chutneys made by participants and employees at the supported employment café in Milford leisure centre ‘Caffi Man Cwrdd’.

The Deputy Minister was welcomed by County Councillor Tessa Hodgson, the Authority’s Cabinet Member for Social Services.

The farm shop has been partially resourced and staffed through some of the £400,000 ICF money allocated to expand supported employment opportunities regionally.

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Haverfordwest: Police promise extra patrols for GCSE results night

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THERE will be an increased police presence in Haverfordwest tonight, in response to an anticipated influx of young people who will be celebrating their GCSE results.

Parents are being asked to go over their child’s plan for the evening, before they head out. Sergeant Haydon Mathias is overseeing the operation.

He said: “It’s a big day for teenagers, and we understand they want to celebrate after all of their hard work.

“We’ll be there to make sure they do that safely, and without disrupting others.

“This is usually a busy night for us, and historically we have seen crime and anti-social behaviour rise. You’ll notice my team out and about from early this evening to stop that happening. They’ll be seizing alcohol from anyone they suspect is under the age of 18, and dealing with any other issues that arise.

“We’re asking parents to take the reins and discuss plans before your child goes out. Make sure you know where they’re celebrating, who they’re with, and how they’re getting home. It’s useful to make sure your child’s phone is fully charged, in case of an emergency.

“I encourage anyone with concerns to come and speak to an officer or Police Community Support Officer around the town, or contact Dyfed-Powys Police.”

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Llangwm Church Donation Box Stolen

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St Jerome’s Church: Second theft in a year!

 

A DONATION box has been stolen from a village church, the second theft from the historic building in a year.

The donation box at St Jerome’s Church, Llangwm, is believed to have been taken in the last few weeks.

The box is usually kept next to the Talking Tapestry of Langum, a project which tells the story of the village’s origin with the invasion of the Flemish in the 12th century and its later history.

Pamela Hunt of Heritage Llangwm said: “This theft is the second from St. Jerome’s in a year.

“If anyone has seen or knows anything, then please let the police know.

“If they feel unable to do that, but would like to contact us at St Jerome’s Church, then email info@heritagellangwm.org.uk

“We will treat your contact in the strictest confidence.”

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