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Being homeless in Pembrokeshire

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By Tess Delaney

I HAD reason recently to get in touch with the homeless unit at Pembrokeshire County Council.
I spoke to a nice lady, and they can help me.
As I’m responsible for my son, we can be accommodated at the hostel in Pembroke. The thing is, I used to work at the Prince’s Trust, with kids that lived at the hostel, and there is no way on earth I’m taking my kid there.
Not happening.
And Pembroke? A forty-five-minute drive from my land, which I have to visit twice each day to tend my livestock. Given that one of the reasons for a Council officer’s refusal of my OPD planning permission was it involved too much driving, that’s a solution to a problem created by the Council which seems absurd, to say the least.
So now what?
Luckily, having procured a gig here at your favourite local newspaper, I’ve got a few more resources available.
So, let’s have a look, shall we?
Looking around at the prices of properties available to rent can leave one feeling pretty bereft.
What I want to know, is how does anyone afford these rents?
The cheapest two-bedroom I can find close to my land is in Clunderwen.
It looks fabulous in the pictures, but I know it’s rough because someone I know used to live there.
It’s a pretty little place, with a good amount of space, but the garden is shared – which isn’t mentioned in the particulars of course – and there are usually snails in the front room.
The fridge has to live in a cupboard under the stairs because the kitchen isn’t big enough, and there’s a washing machine, but it doesn’t work.
My point is, anything close to affordable is slightly sketchy.
It’s weird when you’re renting, and you lie there in bed, looking up at someone else’s peeling paint on the ceiling, unable to do anything about it because they don’t want you to, and you’re not really inclined to, being that your contract is at most a year long.
And who in Pembs is in a position to buy? Really? Are there any first-time buyers left? And what do they buy? There’s not much on the market locally for under 100k. How do people raise mortgages?
Some people have to rely on parents or suchlike, but some don’t have that kind of help. And there are no council houses because they all got sold.
I remember my grandad refusing to buy his council house. “They’re social houses for people in need” he used to say. The next people to live there bought it. Now, it’s a private let, with rent as high as any other three bed in that particular town.
I’ve put my name down on the council house register because the council are basically not giving me a lot of choice.
It’s daft.
I own and work on land that I have to leave at night times. I’m there all day. What’s the big deal about where you actually sleep? Why does that constitute home? What is home?
I can’t be homeless when I’ve got more of a potential home than someone who is actually proper homeless, but they’re telling me I’m homeless.
Define homelessness.
When I bought my land I tried to rent a house nearby.
Even though there are loads of empty and dilapidated properties, none are available for use. I put a shout out on the local Facebook page and got not one reply.
A week or so later, someone put a post on the same page, asking for a holiday let for their family to use at Christmas. About thirty people replied, with photos of lovely little houses that looked small enough to be affordable to a local family to rent. But they’re all holiday homes.
Every single one.
It’s no secret that many villages in our county are made up almost entirely of holiday lets and second homes.
Our prices are inflating all the time, especially when bright sparks at the Daily Mail publish articles on how you can get a house in Pembs for half the price of Cornwall, so why not move to Pembs, and buy up all the housing stock?
It wouldn’t be so bad if the housing stock got replaced, but every time someone puts a planning application in for affordable homes, or even any homes, the vigilantes come out, insisting on keeping as big a radius as possible around them, even though they’re usually people that moved here to retire, and all they’re really worried about is their property prices and the feeling that any new builds will spoil their postcard.
It’s an endless circular mess, and to be honest, who of you, reading this, would rather take your kid to the hostel than move onto your land illegally and face court? If that’s the choice, I know what I’ll be doing.
I’m lucky in that my son’s dad is letting me, as well as the kid, crash at his place while I look for somewhere, or get planning at appeal, whichever comes first.
So, ultimately, if you don’t have an ex that’s a brilliant dad and not only takes responsibility for the kid, but for me too, and steps in to help in this way, what do you do?
If you don’t have friends offering you places to stay, like I’ve had, you have the hostel as an option, and that’s it.
How can there be, as reported recently, so many homeless people wandering around Tenby that the Tenby Chippy is giving out free meals? How did that happen? When did that happen?
There was no homelessness back in my school days in Tenby. If there was one homeless person they were almost a curio, like that guy who used to wander around Whitland and tragically, and almost unnoticeably, died in that fire.
Now we have so many homeless that they’re noticeably cold and alone in a place like “Fair and Fashionable” Tenby, relying on the kindness of the chip shop?
According to the council’s reasoning, I’m eligible for free chips. Perhaps I’ll gather up everyone down there and let them live on the field.
It’s always an option…

News

Pembroke: Leave teenage girls alone, sex offender told

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A SEX OFFENDER from Ashdale Lane, Pembroke has been jailed for repeatedly ignoring court orders which were put in place to protect young girls.
Gareth Thomas James Flynn, aged 41, frightened a 14-year-old girl who refused to get off a bus in case he managed to find out where she lived.
41-year-old Gareth Thomas James Flynn scared a 14-year-old girl because she refused to get of a bus, frightened he would learn her address.
He admitted breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was jailed today for a year.
Sitting at Swansea Crown Court, Judge Geraint Walters berated the defendant.  His Honour said that Flynn had shown a complete disregard for the original SHPO.
The judge said: “Leave teenage girls alone. They are scared of you”
He told Flynn he would be on licence for 12 months after his release from prison, and he reminded him that the SHPO remained in place.

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Narberth: ‘My mum’s camper was stolen and found burned out down the road’

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A CAMPER VAN stolen on Thursday night in Narberth was found burned a short distance from where it was parked, the owner’s son has said.

Zachary Bunce posted an appeal on Facebook on Friday morning saying: “Can every single one of my friends please share this my mother’s Ford transit campervan was stolen last night in the Narberth area can people please be on the lookout for this van as my mother is completely heartbroken.”

But three hours later he updated the post to say: “Thank you everyone who shared, sadly my mums van was driven 1.3 miles down the road and driven into a ditch and burnt it out.

Mr Bunce has said on that the incident has been captured on CCTV, and took place at 2.10am in the morning (Jan 24).
Anyone with any information should contact the police on 101.

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Hook: Police and school confirm death of boy, 13

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POLICE are investigating the sudden death of a 13-year-old boy from Hook on Wednesday (Jan 22)

A police spokesman told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 13-year-old boy, from the Hook area of Pembrokeshire.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time. Next of kin have been advised and are being supported.”

A letter was sent out to parents and carers by Haverfordwest High VC School headteacher Jane Harries following the death. The letter reads: “It is with great sadness that I have to inform you about the sudden death of a year nine pupil at our school.

“The children in Year nine were told this morning by myself and other pupils were told by their teachers during their lesson this afternoon. The full detail surrounding the death are not known at this stage – but children have been reassured that this is something that does not happen very often. Your child may or may not want to talk bout it, but it is likely that he/she will need your special care, attention and reassurance at this difficult time.

“We are deeply affected by the death, but we are trying, for the children’s sake, to keep the school as normal as possible over the coming days, whilst allowing the children opportunities to talk about the pupil if they wish to. Trained support staff and counsellors are helping to support us through this difficult time. If you feel that your child needs extra support, please let us know.

“Our thoughts are with the pupil’s family at this difficult time, and the whole school community sends them our sincerest sympathy and support. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s achievement leader, or Miss Thomas, pastoral support manager. Paul Lucas, chairman of the governing body at Haverfordwest High VC School, said: “The governors are shocked at the tragic loss of this young student. The family are in our thoughts at this very sad time.”

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