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Council reforms latest: Are we looking at a return to Dyfed?

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mapWALES moved a step closer to a massive Local Government reform today, following an announcement by Leighton Andrews.

Mr Andrews was responding to the results of the consultation on the Reforming Local Government White Paper published in February.  Over 700 responses were received, while more than 3,000 people took part in the opinion poll.

The major announcement concerned the shift from 22 local authorities down to eight or nine – two potential maps have been put forward.  Under both of the proposed maps, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire would amalgamate in a reformation of Dyfed.  

As a result of these changes, the existing cap of 75 elected members per local authority would be replaced by a higher cap, to avoid elected members serving an unfeasibly large number of people.  It has not been stated what the future cap would be.

9 Local Authorities

  • Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd
  • Conwy and Denbighshire
  • Flintshire and Wrexham
  • Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire
  • Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
  • Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil
  • Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Newport
  • Powys

8 Local Authorities

  • Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy
  • Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham
  • Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire
  • Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
  • Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil
  • Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Newport
  • Powys

Proposals made by the White Paper which received strong support in the consultation process included giving a general power of competence to Local Authorities, and the establishment of a Public Services Staff Commission.

However, the idea of limiting the period of time that elected officers can serve for, and allowing officers to stand for election in their own authorities both attracted a strong negative response, as did the proposal that community councils should pass a competency test by demonstrating a turnover of at least £200,000, thus creating a two-tier system.  As a result, Mr Andrews announced that he would be scrapping these proposals.

Mr Andrews emphasized that this was not a final decision, but the next phase in discussions.  A draft Mergers and Reform Bill will be published in the autumn, which will include further formal consultation on the proposals for Local Authority mergers, as well as a Regulatory Impact Assessment.

Pembrokeshire County Council Leader, Jamie Adams, said: “Seeing the maps for the first time this morning it is difficult to comment without some explanation of the rationale behind it. My position has always been: will the change improve the services we deliver to the public while at the same time reducing costs?

“If it doesn’t tick those two boxes, I think it is right to question the validity of this exercise.

“Apart from the obvious loss of local decision-making and accountability, I also have concerns about the real damage reorganisation could do to a very successful brand.

“I am referring to the Pembrokeshire name which is instantly recognisable to those living far outside our County and even beyond Wales.

“A large number of local businesses in tourism, agriculture, food and energy depend on, and identify strongly, with brand Pembrokeshire for their livelihood.

“I fear they will inevitably suffer if amalgamation goes ahead and in these trying times I believe it would be foolish to gamble with the health of our local economy.

“However I do welcome some of the measures that the Minister is apparently not pursuing having taken onboard the views of local government.

Preseli Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Paul Davies has criticised the Welsh Labour Government’s plans for local government in Wales, which could see the number of Welsh councils cut from twenty two to single figures. The plans also include a return to the old Dyfed model for people living in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Mr Davies said, “Bigger is not always better and the proposals brought forward by the Welsh Labour Government do not show any evidence that this new map would result in an improvement in the delivery of public services in Pembrokeshire. Any change in the structure of local government in Wales must be locally-led and representing the will of their local communities.”

He added, “There are huge concerns that communities across west Wales could lose their local identities. The Pembrokeshire brand is synonymous across the globe with tourism and food produce and we need to do everything we can to protect that, as it will be lost under these merger plans. Many people fought long and hard against the old Dyfed model and so we must not lose Pembrokeshire in the Welsh Government’s drive to centralisation across Wales. There is no evidence to show that these plans are wanted by the people of Pembrokeshire and I want to make it absolutely clear that I will continue fighting to protect our Pembrokeshire brand.”

More details will be published in this Friday’s Herald.

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News

Count down is on for the opening of new venue HANGAR in Milford Haven

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MILFORD HAVEN’S entertainment scene has been taken to new heights with the highly anticipated opening of HANGAR! This extraordinary venue promises an unparalleled experience for all attendees, setting a new standard for event spaces in the area.

Located at Thornton Industrial Estate, HANGAR boasts an impressive 5000 square feet of space. Inside, visitors will find a fully stocked bar, catering to their beverage needs, and a remarkable 6-meter by 3-meter LED screen that is guaranteed to leave them mesmerised. The sheer scale and technology of this LED screen make it a one-of-a-kind attraction in Pembrokeshire, setting HANGAR apart from any other venue, but the little things haven’t been forgotten with plenty of heating and seating across the venue.

“Milford Haven is undoubtedly experiencing an upward trajectory, and HANGAR is far more than just an ordinary event space,” said Steve Bartram, Project Co-ordinator and popular local musician. 

“We have really kept the local community in mind, the venue’s location has been meticulously selected to guarantee minimal disruption for residents of the town while ensuring easy accessibility for all visitors to HANGAR from Milford, Neyland, Pembroke and beyond” said Steve

Organisers have expressed to not wait too long to experience this limited-time gem! HANGAR will only host a handful of exclusive events this year, making securing tickets a priority before they disappear!

GRAND OPENING: The Big All-Day FanZone Area + Oktoberfest Extravaganza – Saturday, 7th October

As the Rugby World Cup action continues to heat up, the party at HANGAR keeps going strong! The Fan Zone area will be alive with the vibrant sounds of 

Throughout the day, visitors can catch THREE thrilling home nations rugby games on HANGAR’s spectacular 6 by 3-meter LED video wall, complete with comfortable seating for the ultimate viewing pleasure. Live music performances during half-time breaks will keep the spirit alive and kicking.

Hungry attendees can indulge in authentic German street food served by specialised traders, perfectly complemented by a selection of traditional German beers to enhance the atmosphere.

But the excitement doesn’t stop there! After the rugby matches, Oompah Cymru, Wales’ finest Oompah band will take to the stage promising an unforgettable Oktoberfest experience for all attendees leading lively dancing and crowd participation, creating an atmosphere that Milford Haven won’t forget.

🎟️ Don’t miss out on this event! Secure your tickets now at: https://tinyurl.com/mu348sys or you can pay on the door.

UP & COMING SHOWS:

QUEEN TRIBUTE NIGHT – 2nd December

FLAMINGO BINGO – 16th December

————————————————–

HANGAR FACEBOOK: https://tinyurl.com/ud4z2sjb

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Health

Baby loss remembrance service resumes at Withybush Hospital

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THE ANNUAL baby loss remembrance service will return on Thursday 12 October 2023 at St Luke’s Chapel in Withybush hospital in Haverfordwest at 7pm.

The ‘Forget Me Not’ service coincides with Baby Loss Awareness week (9-15 October) and is arranged by Midwifery and Bereavement teams and led by the Spiritual Care Department (Chaplaincy).

The service has long been a source of comfort for parents and families and provides an opportunity for people to reflect and to come together to pay respects and write a message in a safe space.

Euryl Howells, Senior Chaplain at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “This service of remembrance is an important moment for parents and families who have been affected by the very sad experience of babies who have passed away.

“Infant and pregnancy loss is a very lonely grief. This space is a time to gather and remember precious little ones whether the loss was recent or in the more distant past.”

In recognition of Baby Loss Awareness week, Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen and Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth will have pink and blue lights in the Chapel/Quiet Room. The week culminates in a ‘Wave of Light’ on 15 October, which is recognised across the world.

A candle (battery operated) will be lit at 7pm by the Senior Chaplain in memory of all the babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.

If you are unable to attend the service and wish to commemorate your loved one, please send a message to [email protected] by Tuesday 10 October 2023

Should you require further information please contact Euryl Howells by telephone or email 01267 227563 or [email protected]

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News

Councillors elected to Haverfordwest Town Council

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The declaration of results for by-elections to two Haverfordwest Town Council Wards
are available on the Pembrokeshire County Council website.

The elections to the Priory and Portfield Wards took place on September 19 th , 2023.

Cllr Peter Lewis and Cllr Tasha Jones were elected to the Priory Ward and Cllr Roy
Thomas to the Portfield Ward.

Returning Officer Will Bramble made the declaration of results at the Picton Centre,
Haverfordwest, following the closure of polls and counting.

The full declarations are available on the election results page of the Council’s
website.

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