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Haverfordwest: Car park cost public £858k

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Cllr Tom Tudor: Leads call for action over unused car parks

Cllr Tom Tudor: Leads call for action over unused car parks

A CAR PARK costing over £858,000 to construct has been ‘lying idle since construction was completed in January 2011’. The future of the car park was raised at the latest Cabinet meeting by Pembrokeshire County Council yesterday (Oct 3), with Cllr Tom Tudor calling for a compulsory purchase order of the land.

In his supporting statement, Cllr Tudor said: “I call on Pembrokeshire County Council to compulsory purchase the unused car park adjacent to Foley House which was constructed and completed in January 2011 with tax payers funding.”

Having received considerable investment from Pembrokeshire County Council (£335k), along with grant aid from Heritage Lottery Fund (£230k), Welsh Assembly Government (£191k), and Cadw (£100k), the original purpose of the project was to provide car parking spaces to those who own properties on the left of High Street, Haverfordwest – which back onto the car park.

Built on derelict land owned by various property owners on High Street and Market Street, ownership of the 43-bay car park was left to these businesses in the form of a trust. The plan, to allow the trust to allocate parking bays amongst them in an ‘amicable and professional manner’, failed to materialise and, as a result, the car park remains entirely unused.

Cllr Tudor added: “It’s also important to note there has been no effort to maintain the links between the properties on High Street and the car park itself.”

Cllr Tudor also made reference to previous motions he had raised regarding the car park in June 2014 and in 2012.
Responding to Cllr Tudor, Cllr Keith Lewis admitted that the future of the car park had ‘been allowed to drift’, although admitted there would be a ‘significant amount of money involved’ in a compulsory purchase order.

Cllr Lewis continued: “I’m not entirely convinced that in owning the land we will meet the criteria of the monies involved.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr James Llewellyn Adams, added: “There is no budget to consider this matter… The council has already invested £336k in this scheme.”

Complicating matters further is the adjacent property of Foley House. Described by Cllr Simon Hancock as ‘one of the jewels of Haverfordwest’, Foley House is currently owned and for sale by Pembrokeshire County Council.

Immediately behind the historic listed building is a piece of land forming the gardens and car park of the property; however, to access to this means travelling over a small section of the newly built car park entrance.

As Cllr Hancock pointed out, this shared access along with ongoing issues with the new car park could be a factor in why no one has purchased Foley House in the past.

Cllr Hancock said: “It is part of the wider issue of the future of Foley House itself.”

The gardens and car park of Foley House have also been unused since the property was put on the market in 2003 which led onto Cllr Tudor’s second motion; to allow local residents to park in the property’s grounds.

In his second supporting statement, he said: “To date, Foley House has not been purchased, as such I call on Pembrokeshire County Council to reopen the car park and allow the local residents of Goat Street, Hermons Hill and Hill Lane to utilise the car park, operating the council’s residents parking permit policy.”

The car park had been open to local residents prior to Foley House being advertised for sale.

While Foley House has fallen into considerable disrepair, the council remains eager to sell the property, meaning Cllr Tudor’s second motion to allow resident permit parking was denied. A project is also underway to examine the costs affiliated with restoring Foley House in an effort to entice potential buyers.

Meanwhile the future of the newly built car park was subjected to further legal advice regarding a potential compulsory purchase, the deadline for which was set as November 30.

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Castell Howell Foods highlights sector concerns over Covid recovery

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THE HOSPITALITY sector may be opening up, but transport and supply issues are hampering the industry’s recovery – according to Castell Howell Foods.

One of the UK’s largest independent food wholesalers, Castell Howell, has taken the step of contacting customers to highlight the significant challenges faced by the sector as it recovers from the pandemic.

While there is relief at easing lockdown and optimism for a busy summer with bookings for UK ‘staycations’ and leisure activities, pressing issues remain.

Shortages of key staff and problems faced by some suppliers have resulted in the Welsh wholesaler being forced to make some “uncomfortable” decisions and changes to its operation, including having to pass on some supply chain price increases.

In particular, a shortage of qualified delivery drivers has meant the Cross Hands based business has had to be resourceful to maintain its delivery frequency to its customers. To help bridge the gap in the short term, other Castell Howell staff who hold an HGV licence have been temporarily redeployed to the transport department. Among them are area sales managers.

Castell Howell Sales Director, Kathryn Jones, said “Unfortunately, due to the drastic reduction in sales in 2020, our workforce decreased by over 100 colleagues. Whilst we now need most to return to the workplace, many have found alternative employment; this is a common theme across the supply chain.

“We have been actively advertising and recruiting for several months. However, as highlighted in the press, there are over 75,000 vacancies across the UK for HGV drivers alone.

“We too are currently short of drivers, especially Class 2 HGV. Driving a multi-drop vehicle for Castell Howell is a very different proposition to driving a limited drop schedule. Consequently, as you can imagine, it has been challenging to fill these vacancies.”
Stock availability is also an issue, as some suppliers struggle to manufacture under new social distancing rules. Delivery to Castell Howell from suppliers is also being affected by the UK-wide shortage of haulage drivers.

Kathryn Jones said, “To build up buffer stocks, we are increasing our volume of orders, especially for commodity lines. We aim to mitigate future stock shortages the best we can. We are constantly seeking substitute products from manufacturers who have the capacity to deliver. However, this is becoming increasingly more difficult.”

Castell Howell has made changes to its ordering process to improve its own deliveries, with earlier cut-off times.

“These changes go against the grain and were extremely difficult decisions to take. However, it is imperative to implement these in order to continue operating under these difficult circumstances whilst still maintaining a high level of service. We are very grateful to our customers for their support, patience and understanding.”

For Castell Howell, the difficulties arising from the pandemic were exacerbated by the loss of business with SA Brain & Co. This loss occurred following the Welsh company’s deal with brewery giant Marston’s to operate SA Brains pubs from January 2021.

Before that date, Castell Howell had been the sole supplier to SA Brain since 2008, including supplying 80 of the Welsh brewery’s managed public houses.

Kathryn Jones said, “However, despite the challenges in the supply chain and deliveries, we remain optimistic that the sector in the UK will work together to navigate through these unprecedented times and have a successful summer.”

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Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’

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THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here: https://www.herald.wales/west-wales/pembrokeshire/major-marine-project-causes-concern-about-visual-impact-and-heritage-loss/

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

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Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head

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ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

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