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Narberth traders worry over Sainsbury’s plans

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sainsburys-5795657DESPITE an announcement last week from Sainsbury’s that some new store developments, nationally, will not go ahead, it seems a supermarket still wants a convenience store in Narberth. Sainsbury’s proposition has left many Narberth traders both worried and shocked.They believe it could spell the end of their town as a tourist destination and specialist retail area. The application for development has been made by Abbeymore Estates, and Knox and Wells Limited.

It proposes demolition of the old school which would be replaced by a new two-story development. The plan then proposes the two acre site has non-food retail units, a betting shop, a cafe and takeaway, a day nursery and residential apartments. Narberth Chamber of Trade secretary, Gordon Barry, told The Herald: “It saddens the Chamber that there has been no contact with the developer to explore the thought and design with them, since it was fi rst announced in April of this year.” Our reporter went to Narberth and spoke with some of the traders that would be affected by a Sainsbury’s store moving into the area.

Jenny Thomas, who is the owner of “6 The High Street”, expressed her concerns: “All the shops in Narberth are independent and there are no big names or chain stores here. I’ve seen it grow for the last 30 years, and our customers come to Narberth to shop because it is an area with independent shops. You have to bear in mind the population here is only 2000 people. If it’s a superstore coming, then surely they sell what we all sell, and we struggle in January, February and March as it is. We rely on tourists to come here.

The uniqueness will go with this development and there has been no offer of a discount of rates. Narberth is the same size as a village; to split the trade we already have is a disastrous proposition”. On the subject as to getting information from the County Council with regards to any proposed plans for the local traders she continued, saying: “It’s diffi cult. You are here all the time (as an owner) and can’t get to these meetings. It’s grim as it comes through our Chamber of Trade, and that’s all we learn.” From the store “No 47” Richard Swingler said: “It’s a shame the old school wasn’t used as a community service project. If people had got together perhaps we could have provided a community area (a library or boxing club), then maybe incorporate a retail section with it.

The number of units are far too many for Narberth to sustain, but the biggest complaint has to be the lack of car parking; the car parking is to be reduced! Surely, you need more for more units, it doesn’t make sense and it will no doubt have an adverse effect on the town”. Co – Director of Wisebuys, Anthony Ryan, expressed his grave concerns as to what the effect on Narberth’s traders would be: “It’s a bit of a shock. I always thought Narberth was a ‘jewel in the crown’ for Pembrokeshire. I would have thought it would have been a good idea to preserve Narberth as it is, rather than kill it like they (Pembrokeshire County Council) have with every other town in Pembrokeshire, due to out-of-town developments.

Surely they should learn a lesson by looking at what Carmarthen have done, and join it on to the town. Narberth is a specialised country town and people come here for those specialist shops – we are known all over the country for this. Why spoil it? There aren’t enough customers in Narberth to warrant this and it will reduce the foot fall in Narberth. Look at CK’s, the other chain store development, with a free car park? They pay half the rates and then take our customers! It should be the other way round. We are struggling and just about surviving and any more pressure and we will close.

It’s what I am expecting in Narberth; Spa and Cost- Cutter wont survive – which will reduce footfall again”. Asked what the Council should do at this point, he said: “Stop it. Don’t let them go ahead with it – sell it to someone else – make it a useful building for the community; but they won’t because it will cost them money and they are too tight to spend it on sensible things, they’d rather throw it away on pointless things like cycle lanes etc. The Council spout on about Narberth being fantastic, yet they slit our throats.

Narberth is doing ok, not brilliantly, but our takings have gone down 20% in the last 5 years and I know of hundreds of customers who don’t come here anymore because they can’t park anywhere”. Tom Trenchard, Head of Convenience Acquisitions South at Sainsbury’s, told The Herald: “We are currently fi nalising negotiations to open a store as part of a development at the site of the former school. If we were to open at the development, our store will create between 20-25 new jobs for local people.

We would aim to complement, rather than compete with existing local traders, and contribute to help people keep shopping locally, while bringing additional footfall to the town, benefi tting all”. On the subject of concerns over parking space, a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s sated: “We would be a tenant as part of the wider development, so probably best to address those wider concerns to the developer himself, whose planning application it is. Clearly we can only talk about our proposal”.

Cllr Wyn Evans, spoke with The Herald: “The school has been empty for fi ve and a half years now and is becoming an eyesore, subjected to vandalism. This development is welcome indeed. I am in consultation with the Chamber of Trade, discussing the parking situation and I’m forming a working group at County Hall on January 19, where organisations from the community are invited to sit along with council offi cers.

We are aware of parking issues and we need a strategic plan to go forward that may involve reconfi guration of existing spaces and readjustment of current waiting times. It is important we have consultation with the community and I look forward to continued dialogue. There is also an urgent need for accommodation for people in Narberth, and people may now have opportunities to move to these fl ats freeing up larger properties for larger families.”

 

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Permit applications open for Tenby pedestrianisation scheme

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is now accepting applications for vehicle access during this year’s Pedestrianisation of Tenby.

The scheme, which is due to start on Monday, July 5 and conclude on Friday, September 10, will again see the walled town divided into three ‘zones’, each having varying degrees of vehicle access.

Whilst all necessary plans are being put in place for it to start and finish on the above dates, the scheme will remain under constant review in light of Government guidance relating to Covid-19, and the Council will provide any updates as necessary.

Possession of an ‘access permit’ does not provide any exemption from Government restrictions, and any regulations relating to travel and the occupation of holiday accommodation or second homes must be observed at all times.

Following the success of last year, the permit application process will continue online, with paper application forms and guidance notes no longer being delivered to residents and businesses.

The application form and guidance notes are available from pembrokeshire.gov.uk/tenby-pedestrianisation

Residents and business within Tenby are encouraged to complete the application process as soon as possible, to ensure that there is sufficient time for the application to be processed.

Permits will be issued approximately 7-10 days prior to the start of the scheme.

For enquiries, e-mail tenby.pedestrian@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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Join the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel as an independent member

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THE Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is looking for two members to join them in their work to support and challenge the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Panel is made of up of members nominated by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys county councils along with at least two independent members.

Opportunities have now arisen for two independent members to join the Panel and carry out key statutory roles that will support the Commissioner exercise his role effectively.

Members will be expected to attend and take part in regular meetings and take part in decision making, creating reports and making recommendations to the Commissioner.

They will review the Commissioner’s annual draft Police and Crime Plan and annual draft budget, review and scrutinise his decisions and actions, and if necessary review the proposed appointment or removal of the Chief Constable and other senior police force appointments.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they can take a balanced and objective approach in supporting the Panel and the Commissioner, make strategic and well-informed decisions, and interpret and question financial, statistical and performance related information.

They will also need to be able to act as a ‘critical friend’, challenging views or proposals for change constructively.

Applications close on May 31, and appointments to the Panel will be made until October 31, 2024. 

For further information, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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Successful Fire Service and Health Board partnership to enhance COVID-19 vaccine roll out comes to end

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TUESDAY 11 May 2021 marked the end of a hugely successful partnership between Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Hywel Dda University Health Board, initiated to enhance the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to the communities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Since February, Community Safety Staff from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have transported 125 passengers over 9450 miles to ensure they were able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Recognising the configuration of our Service, the areas we cover and indeed the people we employee, this seemed an ideal opportunity for us to widen our response to the pandemic and support our partners in safeguarding our communities.

“Whilst we already collaborate with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, this opportunity enabled us to expand our assistance further within the health arena. This partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board was the first of its kind for Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and paved the way for a number of similar partnerships for us and the other Fire and Rescue Services in Wales.

“I am extremely proud of our staff who have participated in this collaboration and have made a huge difference to the lives of so many people. Their contribution has without doubt had a positive impact on our response to this global pandemic”.

Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, coordinated the Service’s response to this call for assistance.

“Our communities are at the heart of our core business. Knowing we were in a position to make an impact, we put in place a robust solution in record time, to not only ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, but to also safeguard those who were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, but may have had barriers preventing them from attending their appointments.

“Using this partnership as template within which we could expand, we have since been able to offer our assistance to other Health Boards across the Service area. Indeed, a group of 10 vaccine heroes from our Service have joined Powys Teaching Health Board’s vaccination team, playing their part in distributing vaccines at mass vaccination sites in Newtown and Builth Wells. This is another fantastic example of how working together has been vital in our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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