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Milford Haven: Port Authority denies Lower Priory flood liability

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A REPORT by civil engineering consultants Atkins concluded that obstruction of trash screens leading from Lower Priory did not materially contribute to the extreme flooding which took place both there and at Haven Head last November.
Over three days of torrential rainfall, fourteen properties were flooded at Lower Priory and there was significant flooding at Haven Head.
The Port Authority continues to deny any liability for damage caused by the flooding.
However, Hakin Councillor Mike Stoddart pointed out that Atkins’ assessment was based on evidence produced by Milford Haven Port Authority.
Councillor Stoddart alleged that Atkins’ finding could not necessarily be relied upon. He noted that the Port Authority had an obvious interest in saying the trash screens were not obstructed in order to support its claim it was not liable for the damage caused by the flood.
Defending the Port Authority’s position, both Andy Jones and Tim Bownes, said the report found that the major factor in the flooding was the large increase in levels of silt in the lakes at Haven Head and Lower Priory combined with high tides and unprecedentedly levels of rainfall.

Emotional moment: Ian Bannister from Lower Priory clearly upset by the damage caused (Pic: Herald)

Under further questioning from Mike Stoddart, Mr Bownes conceded that the electronic flood warning system had been a casualty of the flooding and had stopped recording the water volumes at Lower Priory well before the peak of the inundation.
When one resident produced photographs of a truck tyre in front of a trash screen taken in February which remained in place six months later, he was tersely told that the presence of the tyre did not count as an obstruction of the trash screen.
The resident shook his head in disbelief, while several councillors wondered what did constitute an ‘obstruction’.
Notwithstanding councillors accepting that silt build up contributed to the flooding, a number of members of the Services Overview Committee nevertheless probed the Port Authority’s actions in relation to the lakes.
Cllr Stephen Joseph observed that a large amount of infill had taken place at the lakes. He suggested that this, combined with the development of Haven Head over a former tidal plain contributed to the flooding.
This was a point made by a local resident addressing the Committee earlier in the day. She observed that were it not for the development at Haven Head, no flooding would have taken place.
Cllr Joseph further pressed on the culverting of water towards Haven Head. When he asked what inspections were carried out of the culvert when it was extended to take account of the increased infill of the lakes, he was told by Tim Bownes from the Port Authority that his point could not be addressed. Mr Bownes said, however, he supposed the relevant checks had been done at the time through the normal planning process.
When probed about the level of water drainage into the system, which included run off from the Johnston bypass, Mr Bownes said he believed that Atkins had taken into account the new housing developments and bypass drainage when preparing the report on last November’s flooding.
Cllr Viv Stoddart cited a legal precedent which she said indicated that, whether or not the extent of flooding risk was foreseen or not, a landowner diverting a watercourse or otherwise changing its characteristics was responsible for damage caused by subsequent flooding. She was asked to provide a copy of the precedent to the Port Authority so it could be considered by its lawyers.

Stephen Crabb MP visits flooded resident (Pic: Herald)

When Cllr Tony Wilcox asked about records of the amount of infill that had taken place and whether there was any record of volumes infilled at the lakes since 1991, he was told that the four-year statutory limit for planning for operational reasons had expired and no enforcement action could be taken by the local authority.
One issue arising from the report was the recommendation that the culverts should be increased in size to cope with increased volumes of water run-off. Several councillors asked why, if the current culverts were adequate and fit for purpose, was a recommendation made that the culverts should be increased to handle three times the volume of water they dealt with currently.
The Committee members were told that it was because the design assessment said that the system needed to handle a one in a one-hundred-years storm event.
Cllr Brian Hall noted the recommendations of the report, specifically the one relating the Council seeking its own advice on the issues raised by last November’s catastrophic flooding. He formally moved the recommendations should be adopted by the Committee so that rapid progress could be made to address residents’ concerns.
The Committee agreed that a working group should be established to streamline the reporting process and that the matter should return to the Committee for further scrutiny.

 

 

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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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