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Pub owner fined for food hygiene offences

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owner finedTHE owner of a Saundersfoot pub has been fined a total of £12,500 by Haverfordwest Magistrates this week after admitting to five food hygiene offences.

Ian Griffiths, of The Royal Oak Inn, Wogan Terrace, was also ordered to pay £2778.37 costs to Pembrokeshire County Council at the hearing on Monday.

The Council brought the case following breaches found at the pub during a routine inspection in October, 2012, by officers from the Authority’s Public Protection Division. As well as revealing the lack of an adequate food safety management system, officers found evidence of food not being protected against contamination; unclean structures and equipment; a lack of training of staff and various out-of-date foods and inadequately labelled foodstuffs such that effective stock rotation could not be safely carried out.

The business agreed to voluntarily close until immediate cleaning and disinfection and stock checks had been carried out.

Afterwards the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental and Regulatory Services, Councillor Huw George, stressed that the Authority would not hesitate to take action where serious contraventions of the legislation were discovered by authorised officers.

He went on: “The level of the fine demonstrates the serious nature of the breaches and spells a clear message to all businesses for the need for an effective food safety management system.

“In addition this system needs to be properly communicated to, understood and implemented by, food handlers at all levels.

“In premises such as this, the safe, hygienic handling and storage of raw meats and other foods is essential to prevent against food poisoning risks, especially that of E-coli 0157 cross-contamination.

“While we could not excuse the serious nature of breaches identified at the premises, the business deserves credit for fully co-operating with the Council in dealing promptly with the highlighted risks.

“I am also pleased to report that at the last programmed inspection, standards were being maintained and the premises was awarded a score of four, which equates to “Good” under the food hygiene rating scheme.”Ian Griffiths was also ordered by Magistrates to pay a victim surcharge of £120.

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Planning approved for change of use in Tenby’s ‘drinking quarter’

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THE RESTROSPECTIVE planning applications made by Mike Evans were granted approval by national park planners.

A former national park member who changed of use of historic buildings without permission was unrepentant about making a retrospective application.

Since last July, former stables in Tenby’s Sergeant’s Lane have been rented out to be used as a seating area for the nearby Harbwr Brewery.

A planning application seeking retrospective change of use of the Grade II listed buildings and previously derelict and overgrown stable yard for the serving of food and drink, made by by Harbwr Brewery owner Mike Evans, was approved by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority planners on Wednesday, 1 February.

The application – recommended for conditional approval – was brought to the National Park’s Development Management Committee as Mr Evans was a recent member of the national park authority.

Also approved were works to the listed building roof.

At the meeting, members expressed concern about the retrospective native of the application, made by a former member of the planning committee.

Ted Lewis of nearby Rock Terrace raised concerns about potential waste and officers’ support for the retrospective application, claiming Mr Evans had shown “a complete failure” to abide by conditions imposed on a previous application.

He also referred to recent references to Sergeant Lane as being Tenby’s “drinking quarter,” adding: “I was horrified at that, if it becomes a ‘drinking quarter’ it will drive out local residents.”

Former county councillor Mr Evans, unrepentant at the retrospective nature of the application, said the area had been transformed from one of “pigeons, rats and dog [mess],” to one with five thriving businesses.

He said the development was providing “good, exciting and well-paid jobs,” adding: “At the core of everything we do is sustainability, we do nothing to harm the area and community we live in. At our own expense we clean and maintain the lane regularly.”

He described retrospective planning applications were “a legitimate route for planning,” adding it was the usage of the buildings that “has evolved,” rather than structural changes.

Tenby Civic Society has previously raised concerns about potential noise nuisance to nearby residential properties.

Until the late 1990s, many of the buildings on Sergeants Lane were used as warehousing and stores for Hermann Thomas and Co Plumbers.

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MP’s call for better County rail links to boost tourism

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has called on the Welsh Economy Minister Vaughan Gething to improve rail services into Pembrokeshire as a vital step in boosting the number of overseas visitors to the County.

Mr Crabb claimed that too many West Wales services do not carry on beyond Carmarthen, while other services are cancelled or delayed. The MP has previously written to the Train operators about the quality and reliability of rail services to and from Pembrokeshire.

During the meeting of the Welsh Affairs Committee, which he chairs, Mr Crabb said Pembrokeshire is “Wales’s outstanding tourist destination”.

During this final evidence session of the Committee’s inquiry into Wales as a global tourist destination, Welsh MPs quizzed Minister Gething MS, as well as UK Government Tourism Minister, Stuart Andrew MP, and Patricia Yates the Chief Executive of Visit Britain about what steps they are collectively taking to boost tourist numbers in Wales. Recent data findings show that Wales currently underperforms when it comes to attracting international visitors in comparison to the rest of the UK.

Questions regarding Welsh Government’s proposed Tourism Tax; the performance of Visit Britain and Visit Wales in marketing Wales successfully; and transport connections into Wales were put to the panellists.

Commenting after the Committee hearing, MP Crabb added:

“During the summer months, people flock from all over the world to visit Pembrokeshire’s beautiful coastline, it is a fantastic visitor destination for individuals and families alike. But, for many, car travel remains the only reliable option for travel to the County due to the poor rail services.”

“Far too many services stop short at Carmarthen or are cancelled. Welsh Government must urgently look to increase the number of services available, as well as the quality of train services if we are to compete on the global tourism market.”

The committee session can be watched in full here: Parliamentlive.tv – Welsh Affairs Committee

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Dyfed-Powys police precept to rise by 7.75 per cent

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has announced a 7.75 per cent rise in the Dyfed-Powys Police precept for 2023-24, following a meeting of the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for setting the budget for the police, which includes setting the precept which is the element of council tax that goes to the police.

After a process of extensive scrutiny, Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel unanimously supported the Commissioner’s precept proposal for 2023/24, which will raise the average band D property precept by £1.87 per month or £22.49 per annum

In setting the precept, Mr Llywelyn considered an array of factors, including the Chief Constable’s future resourcing requirement, Police Officer recruitment targets, the level of reserves, future investment requirements for critical infrastructure, efficiency and productivity plans, in addition to feedback from residents of the Dyfed-Powys area.

Mr Llywelyn said: “I am painfully aware of the pressures that the cost-of-living crisis is putting on our communities.

“Sadly, these challenges have hit us hard and despite careful financial planning, there will be increasingly difficult decisions to make over the next few years.

“There is a fine balance between ensuring an efficient and effective Policing Service and ensuring the safety of the public, whilst also ensuring value for money for the taxpayers and sound financial management. These have been paramount in my considerations.”

To inform his considerations for 2023/24 and in order to fulfil his responsibilities as Commissioner, Mr Llywelyn consulted with the public to obtain their views on the level of Police Precept increase.

Of the 1,194 respondents, 67.2% noted that they would be happy to pay between 5% and 12.5% towards local policing, with 47.7% of those happy to pay between 7.5% and 12.5%.

The 7.75% increase announced today by the Police and Crime Commissioner, will set a precept of £312.65 per Band D property for 2023/24.

This increase will raise a total precept of £72.518m and will provide a total funding of £133.414m, representing a £5.970m (4.68%) increase for 2023/24.

Mr Llywelyn added: “The financial landscape continues to be both unpredictable and challenging, but I would like to thank the public for providing their views through the consultation, and to the Police and Crime Panel members for their continued support.”

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