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Milford Haven: Outline plans for Docks Master Plan approved

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docksMEMBERS of Pembrokeshire Council’s Planning and Rights of Way committee meeting have given outline planning consent for the Milford Docks Master Plan.

The application before Tuesday’s Committee meeting surrounded the potential uses as part of the developments including commercial, retail and fishing uses.

The plans also included a new proposal to rebuild the old docks office in full and move it to a new location to account for the new access into the site.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans which are subject to a number of planning conditions.

These include a further three applications which have been delegated to the director of development. These are for the extension of the existing Dock Wall and erection of a Marina Services Building, demolition of the former Docks office and the demolition of the Burnyeates building.

Speaking on the one change to the application, agent Rob Peters said: “The new safe access into the site will be accompanied by a full rebuild of the listed building in response to consideration by the committee in December.

“It will be rebuilt in whole in close proximity to the existing listed buildings to create a group value that exists already.

“The development will create 600 new jobs across its lifetime. It will provide new retail apartments which will provide a modernised offer within Milford and bring significant economic benefits to both parts of the town centre.

“It will provide 16 affordable houses which will benefit local people. It will improve pedestrian, cycling and public transport links as well as vehicle movements into the site.

“Investment will also be made in the fishing industry, creating 56 new jobs. There will also be new public areas, gardens, seated places, local areas for playing.

“The Torch Theatre has objected on the basis of a cinema being included but as the officer confirmed, what’s being applied for is a class D2 leisure use which can accommodate a range of uses and not a cinema necessarily.

“The regeneration benefits are substantial. It represents a multi-million pound investment for Milford. It will enhance the town and it will create a destination for local people and tourists and this will be good for the Torch Theatre as well as for Milford”.

Objecting to the plans, Alison Hardy said: “I can’t understand how one of our historic buildings is going to face demolition, even if it is being rebuilt in a new place. The office is part of my heritage; it is an integral part of the heritage of the town. It’s a much loved grade two listed building that should not be demolished.

“There was also a majority vote against the demolition at Milford Haven Town Council last night. If a grade two listed building is demolished and rebuilt it will not then be the old Docks company office. The history will be gone from the landscape and confined to the memories of the older people of the town.”

Cllr Brian Hall moved the recommendation for approval and added: “This is the most important planning application in relation to Milford Dock. It is essential to the town of Milford in a time of recession.

“The Port Authority is one of the major sponsors for the Torch Theatre so the last thing they want to do is cause them a problem.

“This will bring an additional spend of £45million to the town. This is a £90million development which is absolutely fantastic”.

Cllr Peter Stock added: “Recession is one of the reasons put forward for the demise of our town centres. It is vital for the redevelopment of our towns and each town must play to its strengths. In Milford that is the docks area and the waterways, this is so important. It is a tremendous amount of money that is there to be spent in this county”.

Cllr Gwilym Price said: “It is a fantastic sum of money; this is so good for the area. One of my concerns is with the Torch Theatre and I believe more consultation could resolve this matter and I would hope that they can come to an agreement”.

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “It is a shame that the docks office is going to be moved. It is an optimistic project but there aren’t really any objections to it. I do share the concerns of the Torch Theatre but we are here today to discuss the use as part of the development”.

Speaking after the meeting, Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven, Alec Don, said that it was a significant milestone in a long-term strategy. “Our investment in Milford Dock, and indeed Pembroke Port, is part of a wider Port strategy that seeks to diversify the business by strengthening trade in areas not connected to oil and gas. We want to maximise the contribution these two assets make to the business and to the local economy.

Alec concluded, “This is a massive new opportunity for the town and we look forward to working with others to make this vision a reality”.

Jeff Teague, Estates Director for the Port of Milford Haven has been leading the master planning process and was delighted with the decision. He said: “Now that Outline Planning has been approved we can move forward with marketing this exciting development opportunity. We are already talking to a number of development agents who are interested in working with us. They will carry out extensive market testing and it is at this stage that detailed plans will begin to define and shape the specific parts of the development.

“In the meantime, work is progressing in other key areas of the destination. New buildings are emerging that will house modern, food grade units for the local fishing industry and create new opportunities for them to expand and diversify. On the marina side, the new £6m lock gates are in commissioning and final testing phase, soon to be launched in readiness for this year’s boating season. We won’t stand still. This investment is much needed in Milford Haven and we are committed to making it a success”.

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Community

Angle RNLI tasked to two simultaneous incidents

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AT 4:27PM on Friday (Jun 21) the All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch following a VHF call from a 28ft vessel with a fouled propeller in the Longoar Bay/Butts Bay Area.

There were other vessels in the area safety boating a sailing race but due to the weather conditions they were unable to assist.

The lifeboat launched shortly after and began making best speed to the vessel but only minutes later the crew were requested to divert to another incident. The Coastguard had received a 999 call reporting a person cut off by the tide and possibly despondent near the old mining depot and the entrance to Castle Pill. With this, Tenby All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to assist with the initial incident and Milford Haven Port Authority patrol vessel Dynevor was also proceeding.

A local fishing vessel had made the call and was on scene attempting to communicate with the person. Soon after, the first informant lost sight of the person. Soon after, the lifeboat arrived on scene and after a brief discussion with the fisherman a search was commenced. The Y boat was deployed to head into Castle Pill to attempt to get a visual of the person if they had rejoined the path back to the main road.

At this point, Dale Coastguard Rescue team and the police were tasked to assist. Shortly after, the fisherman reported catching sight of the casualty through a gap in the hedge, making his was back up the road towards Black Bridge. Following this information, and with the first informant confident that this was the person he saw earlier the lifeboat was stood down to return to the previous incident.

After recovering the Y boat the lifeboat began making best speed back down towards Longoar Bay. Arriving on scene, and following a quick assessment it became clear that the casualty vessels anchor was potentially dragging. A tow was swiftly passed to the vessel and their anchor recovered.

With the tow set, the crew began towing the vessel back to Milford Marina.

Arriving off the entrance to the Milford Docks channel, the tow was dropped and the vessel transferred into an alongside tow and taken into the marina. After safely securing the vessel on the fuel pontoon, the lifeboat and her crew were stood down to return to station where she was readied for further service shortly after.

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Community

Tragic death of eight-month-old girl leaves family in mourning

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THE HEARTBROKEN grandfather of Mabli Cariad Hall, the eight-month-old girl who tragically died after her pram was struck by a car, has spoken of the enduring pain his family faces. Mabli was hit by a white BMW outside the entrance to Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest on 21 June 2023. She succumbed to severe traumatic brain injury at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children four days later.

Speaking to the BBC this week, Paul Sambrook, Mabli’s grandfather, expressed the family’s profound grief, stating it would take years before things felt “even half right”. Speaking outside Withybush Hospital, he said, “We’re a large family, we’re a close family, and to see everyone in the family go through the same pain is a very difficult thing to bear.”

He continued, “As a grandfather, the older member of the family, you mourn several times over. You mourn for the loss of your granddaughter but then you mourn for the loss of happiness that everyone else had.”

Describing Mabli as “full of fun” with “a lovely laugh” and a “light in her eyes,” Mr Sambrook lamented the loss of her future. “She would’ve been a character, without a doubt. She was a character. I think that’s the awful tragedy. The loss of a life is one thing, the loss of the lifetime is the thing that hurts more.”

He shared fond memories of Mabli, recalling how she would distract him while he worked from home. “Very often she’d come and sit on my knee, while I was trying to work, and help me type various things. We’d end up watching some nursery rhymes or some dancing fruit. In the end, I’d give up trying to work. We used to have a lot of fun.”

In the wake of the tragedy, a purple heart has become a motif for the family, symbolising their love and loss. Mr Sambrook expressed gratitude for the support they have received, saying, “It’s been an inspiration despite the sadness.”

Mabli’s parents, Gwen and Rob Hall from Neath, laid tributes near the spot where their daughter was fatally injured. Supported by friends and family, they placed flowers, teddy bears, lights, and cards in her memory at a tree near the hospital entrance. The family also attended a private memorial service at the hospital.

At the opening of the inquest into her death, the family released a statement describing their pain and grief as “indescribable”. They said, “During this terribly painful time, we still have no answer to the central question we inevitably ask regarding the tragic loss of our beautiful baby girl.”

The driver of the BMW, along with their passenger and a pedestrian who was also hit, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospital. Dyfed-Powys Police have stated that the investigation is ongoing and that specialist officers continue to support the family. No arrests have been made.

Hywel Dda Health Board’s Chief Executive, Prof Philip Kloer, extended his condolences, saying, “Our thoughts and sympathies are with Mabli’s family at this time, she will always be remembered by us.”

As the family grapples with their grief, they find solace in the memories of Mabli’s short yet joyful life, while the community continues to offer its support during this heartbreaking time.

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Business

West Wales firm fined £75,000 after man killed by escaped cow

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A WEST WALES company has been fined £75,000 following the death of a 75-year-old man, Huw Evans, who was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market. The incident occurred on November 19, 2022, at Whitland Livestock Market in Carmarthenshire, operated by J.J. Morris Limited.

Father-of-two Mr Evans was crossing the junction at North Road and West Street in Whitland when the cow, which was being auctioned, escaped from the market pen. The animal attacked Mr Evans, knocking him down and trampling him. He suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, where he succumbed to his injuries six days later.

A worker from J.J. Morris Limited was also injured during an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the cow. The cow eventually made its way towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being subdued and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and found that J.J. Morris Limited had failed to implement essential physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping. The HSE concluded that the company’s risk assessment was inadequate, referencing control measures that were not in place at the market.

J.J. Morris Limited, based in Haverfordwest, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs by Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 20.

In court, Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, expressed his grief, saying: “Dad was my best friend, and I miss him terribly. He was taken from us too soon. Losing dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother. Because of this incident, dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally, and he will not see them grow up.”

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Rhys Hughes remarked, “This tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable. The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

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