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Port Authority ‘very keen’ for vets to stay

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Part of the plan: All Pets Vets

Part of the plan: All Pets Vets

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Milford Haven Port Authority has said that he is ‘very keen’ for the All Pets Vet Care store to stay in the Milford Haven port family. On Monday Alec Don spoke to members of Milford Haven Town Council to give them an update on the Milford Docks masterplan. He also talked about how the plans will affect the town and buildings such as the Torch Theatre.

He said: “We want to create an overall environment that is attractive, combining both the old and the new. What the consultation told us was that the centre of the site should actually be much more up around the top end of the dock between Havens Head and the station and the centre of the town, Charles Street with routes of walking in and out through the various locations to make the site work for open access and drawing people in and making it a pleasant place to visit.

There was quite a lot of thinking in the consultation that went in to where these different bits essentially go. The point about the whole development is Milford Dock presents an opportunity to create something that’s really got some heavy degree of critical mass. The construction of these buildings won’t be sustained unless they are successful in attracting lots of people to Milford Haven to do their shopping.” The Port Authority’s Estate Director, Jeff Teague, then spoke about the Heritage study they had done and supporting the fishing industry. He said: “Inevitably, sadly, there is going to be a compromise.

We have been asked to provide an improved access into the Docks to cater for the new development and we went through nine or ten different alternatives and the only acceptable alternative to the highways people was one that involved moving the old Docks office, the Vets practice. We are certainly not proud of this and we’re doing everything we can to work with the vet at moment to find alternative premises. The plan is to move that building approximately 50 meters south towards the Quayside and replicate it so we retain all the existing features and put it into another building that will have another use. We need to find reasons why people want to come to Milford Haven, that’s the most important thing.

Most of the surveys we have undertaken so far say the reason why people don’t visit Milford Haven is the lack of offer. We are not going to create something that competes with anything else here in Milford. We don’t want to compete with Haverfordwest. We want to create something different.” He added: “It is optimistic, it’s challenging but without the support of you people it would be nigh-on impossible so our message to you today is please support this project”. Alec Don added: “This scheme will not work without having some revised entrance arrangements and it’s not something just invented by Milford Haven Port. To mitigate the impact we have basically said to the Vets practice: we will help to build, they have aspirations including more training facilities. I recognise they have poured their own money and their heart and soul into it and it seems like a complete tragedy to do anything with it but our mission is to put them into a building that meets their future aspirations.” Alec Don then spoke about the Torch Theatre saying: “Milford Haven has a presence in the world of performing arts. We are a huge supporter of it and we want it to continue to thrive and flourish.

We said to them that cinemas and performing arts are going to be part of what attracts people to Milford Haven and the question for you is not whether there is going to be another cinema in Milford Haven or not in addition to the Torch but whether there is going to be an additional cinema complex in Pembrokeshire. I think the Torch has an incredibly important role to play in terms of doing for Milford Haven what the Haywood festival does for Hay-on- Wye. Every part of Milford Dock is something that really plays to attract people to Milford Haven from further afield. You can see we have aspirations for Milford Dock to deliver something really good for Milford Haven and we very much hope you would support us.”

When questioned by Cllr Rhys Sinnett about the Torch Theatre Alec Don said: “We will be writing to the council to say we do not intend to do anything with the core standings of the Torch. We are a supporter of the Torch but it is a little bit early to come to a conclusion about what the leisure use should be. If the Torch does not want to play ball then we will respect that but that dialogue has got to continue. What we want is as Milford Haven Port is something which draws the Torch’s expertise into projecting Milford Haven way beyond the boundary of Swansea.” Cllr Rickard then asked about the timescale period and public transport facilities.

Jeff Teague responded saying: “A project like this could easily take five years to complete. We’ve looked at all transport links; one of the important things is to bring a new bus route all the way through the Docks and out again adding to the existing services.” Cllr Byrne said: “One of the things I don’t want this to do is take away from Charles Street and I wish you can get together with Charles Street and work something out.” We also asked about the highways issue and Jeff Teague responded: “We had certain requirements placed upon us to create an access with sufficient capacity in terms of the volume of cars travelling per day. This is the only one that actually satisfied the requirements of the highways officer – we’re desperately disappointed by it.” With regards to Charles Street Jeff Teague said: “Charles Street has a problem like other high street in the UK where there has been a migration of retail but inevitably old buildings get left behind and my view is that a lot of new brands won’t go into old premises.

We are trying to add to the retail offer in Milford Haven and not compete with it.” Cllr Joseph asked about All Pets Vet Care said to which Alec Don replied: “There is some interest in looking at the plans to see if they can get more of what they want. It’s a fantastic facility inside, it’s clean, and it’s attracting serious people who are committed to the ownership of their animals. It’s exactly the sort of business we want populating Milford Haven so we are very, very keen for the vets to stay in the Milford Haven Port family.” Cllr Eden said: “In relation to the Docks offices – this is a listed building and a part of the town’s heritage. We’ve lost a number of buildings and I can honestly say I don’t agree 100% with the improvements.” Alec Don replied: “That building is the one, the potential entrance is what they have said has to be delivered so I really can’t change that. The building is going to be moved and rebuilt 50 yards across the road and it will have a use as a core part of the marine operation.” He concluded by saying: “It is really important that the scheme does have the support of Milford Haven Town Council.”

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Carers Rights day goes online

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CARERS RIGHTS DAY is taking place across the UK on Thursday, November 26 and in Pembrokeshire the event will be celebrated with a programme of activities and information sessions for unpaid carers of all ages.

Across Pembrokeshire, there are about 15,000 people who provide unpaid care and support to family and friends.

Many people don’t recognise themselves as carers, but the role they play in society is invaluable and it is estimated that across Wales carers provide care worth around £8.1 billion to the Welsh economy every year.

Under normal circumstances events for Carers Rights Day are planned around the county for carers to attend.

However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, this cannot happen this year.

So, a group of organisations supporting unpaid carers in Pembrokeshire, including the Pembrokeshire Carers Information and Support Service (PCISS) run by Hafal Crossroads, Action for Children, PAVS, Alzheimer’s Society and Pembrokeshire County Council, with support from Hywel Dda University Health Board, have put together a timetable of events for unpaid carers to access on and around Carers Rights Day.

These activities are free and will provide an opportunity for carers to access advice, support and a chat with other carers too.

Events include wellbeing workshops, quizzes and information sessions and more information can be found on the Connect Pembrokeshire website: https://connectpembrokeshire.org.uk/campaign/carers-rights-day

If you aren’t online or would like some support to build your confidence about using a laptop or tablet, so that you can join carers groups and activities over the winter, then the Community Hub can help.

Call the Community Hub on 01437 776301 for assistance to get connected.

Cllr Mike James, the Elected Member Carers’ Champion said: “Carers Rights Day may look and feel a bit different this year but it remains an important event to celebrate the hard work of carers in Pembrokeshire and provide information and support where required.

“The theme of this year’s event is ‘know your rights’. Whether you are a new carer or have been caring for someone for a while, it’s important that you understand your rights. It is critical that you are able to access the support that is available to you, as soon as you need it.

“Please get involved and have a look at the different events and support information being offered.”

If you look after a family member or friend, there is lots of information and support available in Pembrokeshire to help you look after yourself as well as the person you care for:

Pembrokeshire Carers Information and Support Service is available on 01437 611002 or by emailing: pciss@hafal.org 

Pembrokeshire Young Carers Service can be contacted on 01437 761330.

 

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Bluestone National Park Resort achieves international environmental award

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S Bluestone National Park Resort has achieved the international Green Key award in recognition of its excellent environmental standards.

With awarded establishments in 65 countries, Green Key is the fastest-growing eco-label for the tourism industry. In Wales, Green Key is operated by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, who also manage the iconic Blue Flag programme.

Bluestone has joined an exclusive group of prominent hospitality industry leaders in Wales who have been awarded Green Key accreditation, where the award clearly demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the high environmental standards being implemented.

Marten Lewis, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Bluestone National Park Resort said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the prestigious Green Key eco award. Our team have worked so hard to achieve this and we are so proud to be accredited.

“At Bluestone, we take sustainability – and protecting and supporting our environment – very seriously. Free Range Future is our sustainability movement. We thank Green Key, our guests and our teams for all their fantastic efforts and great support as we all work towards a more sustainable, and Free Range Future.”

Bluestone has committed to sustainability since the resort first opened in 2008, but dedicated improvements have been made across the site over the past year to meet Green Key standards.

These have included a staff engagement programme, halving the amount of general waste produced and using a local anaerobic digestion facility to turn all food waste into biofuel and fertiliser. Bluestone is also investing in new infrastructure to help reduce shower and tap water usage by more than half.

Lesley Jones, Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy said: “It’s fantastic to see one of Wales’s leading holiday resorts taking action to help protect and enhance our environment. We’d like to congratulate the Bluestone team on their success and welcome them to the Green Key family.

“After a difficult period for the tourism industry, Green Key provides an opportunity to put Wales on the map as a 21 st century, sustainable destination. By opting to visit a Green Key establishment, you can be sure that you are visiting somewhere with the highest possible environmental standards.”

For more information or to apply for Green Key visit the Green Key website www.greenkey.cymru

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Camp security boss threatened unpaid staff

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  • Guards walked out last week over wage dispute, police on stand-by

SECURITY staff guarding the Asylum Seekers Accommodation Centre in Penally have told The Pembrokeshire Herald they have not been paid regularly or on-time.

They claim their managers have been putting profit before safety.

One shocking revelation is that those tasked with ensuring the safety of asylum seekers have been told to ‘toss any weapons found, such as knives over the fence’.

The company in charge, AK security, does not want any complications which could jeopardise its contract with the Home Office, it seems.

One security guard provided The Herald with a recording of what he says is a telephone conversation between the managing director of AK Security and himself.

In the phone call, the security guard is apparently threatened after asking for £1,000 in unpaid wages.

AK Security managing director Ali Mohammed Khan is heard in the recording of a mobile telephone conversation.

Mr Khan says: “If you show up again, I promise you I am going to do something.

“And trust me you don’t want me to do it. I do not like threatening people, but I am not a kid my friend. You’re a boy, listen to me innit – you don’t want me to do it.”

In the phone call with AK Security’s MD, the security worker is heard politely asking for his pay to which Khan replies: “Do you understand English? Are you thick in your head? Do you have a brain? Do you know how the bank system works? I am a company.

“When companies do transfers it isn’t done within minutes. It’s coming from the company account…. It takes three working days for your payment to come through. I told you yesterday that within three working days the money will be in your account.”
A previous payment had been made instantly. The worker consequently questioned the 3-day transfer – normally reserved for substantial companies who pay using the now-outdated BACS system.

The guard questions Khan again saying: “How is it you paid me alright on Sunday, but it is taking forever now?”

Kahn answers: “The last payment was done differently – why are you asking so many questions. The payment has been done. I am not a guy who is going to run away with someone else’s money – I am bigger than that!”

Other security guards told this newspaper they were instructed to throw any weapons they found at the camp ‘over the wall’ and not to report the weapons’ presence at the Camp.

The reason given for this was to prevent AK Security from losing their contract with the Home Office to guard the asylum seekers in Penally.

Police were put on standby on Tuesday night (Nov 17), after reports security staff had walked out in protest over non-payment of wages.

The Tenby Observer reported: “[Because] they had not received any wages from their employers at the firm ‘AK Security’, the staff ‘downed tools’ and refused to work, standing outside the gates for a period of time on Tuesday night, with one eye-witness stating that police officers were also on hand to monitor the situation.’

Since the Home Office repurposed Penally Camp almost two months ago, the facility has been dogged by controversy and unrest. The facility currently houses around 170 asylum seekers, with scope for that to increase to 234.

This week’s incident is the latest in a string of controversial events surrounding AK Security.

The firm, whose base is in London, has been contacted by The Pembrokeshire Herald to respond to this article’s content.

The Herald also contacted the Home Office regarding the serious allegations.

As we went to press, neither the Home Office nor AK Security had responded to our invitation.

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