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Castle for Village Green Status?

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Haverfordwest Castle grounds are to be considered for Village Green Status, as an enquiry is scheduled to take place towards the end of October that could decide its fate in respect of ownership.

The potential sale of the old prison building is the subject of much controversy between the Town Council and the County Council who do not see eye-to-eye, in terms of where future ownership should lie.

Speaking to The Herald, Town Councillor, Peter Lewis, said that his Council had applied for Village Green Status to ensure that the grounds are open to the public at all times, as it was suggested previously that the grounds may only be open to the public at certain times, should the development of a boutique hotel go ahead.

He also wrote that he believed the developer, Griffith-Roach Foundation, had withdrawn its interest in the castle, and, to this end, he questioned the transparency of the County Council who had not accepted an offer, as yet, of £50,000 which the Town Council had put forward for ownership of the former prison building. He went on to say that he believed the County Council were ‘hiding its intentions behind a veil that they call commercial confidentiality’. He also asked if, in fact, the County Council were planning ‘to off-load yet another of our assets for a nominal fee, thus relieving it of cumbersome expenses?’ and put forward the question as to whether the people of Haverfordwest believed in the County Council’s claim that a boutique hotel would attract more visitors than a museum.

However, County Councillor Mark Edwards of Prendergast ward, speaking on behalf of the Independent Plus Political Group, disputed some of these claims saying that the developer had not withdrawn interest and was waiting to see what the outcome would be of the enquiry into Village Green Status. He went on to say that, as far as he was aware, should the developer place a boutique hotel on the castle grounds, then this would actually lead to an improvement of this space, encouraging visitors, apparently welcome to visit at any time. Mr Edwards also believed that such a development would not only improve the grounds, but would also make for a better stewarded castle, in terms of what has become a problem of youths drinking alcohol on the site during the hours of darkness. He stated that the County Council, when deciding upon who should take over the land, would work in the interests of the public and consider what is the best value for the town. When asked how much the developer was offering for the land, in light of the Town Council’s offer, he stated that he did not know the figure. He was also unaware of whether or not the County Council were considering the offer from the Town Council.

Thomas Tudor, County Councillor for Castle ward, also concurred with Mark Edwards that the developer was still interested in the property. He told The Herald that he shared the residents’ concerns over any potential development, promising to ‘champion and represent them by ensuring that answers to their concerns are addressed’. He then referred to an email of last year in which he had said to the Town Council that he had asked for a ‘notice of motion’ to County Council and Cabinet recommending they carry out a full and public consultation with the people of Haverfordwest on site proposals, but that Cabinet had rejected the motion. He went on to say that he had asked for the amount offered by the Griffith-Roach Foundation to be disclosed but was told by Pembrokeshire County Council that this information was unavailable due to ‘commercial sensitivity’.

Haverfordwest residents must wait until the end of October to find out if the site is given Village Green Status or not, an outcome which is likely to have a defining impact on whether or not the Griffith-Roach Foundation pursue its goal of building a boutique hotel on the grounds of this significant, nearly eight-hundred year old, Haverfordwest historical landmark.

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Multi-agency response to house fire in Siskin Close, Haverfordwest

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FIRE crews are attending a domestic fire in a property on Siskin Close, Haverfordwest.

As of 11.45pm on Monday evening crews were still dampening down a fire which enfulfed two floors of a domestic property.

It is understood the alarm was raised after 10pm.

Our reporter on the scene said that there were four fire crews in attendance as well as three ambulances as well as police, who had set up a perimeter, controlling access to the scene.

A large number of local residents were watching on from a safe distance as the incident was being dealt with.

At the time of writing the street was blocked off to traffic with a large number of emergency vehicles parked up, all the way around the corner to the top of Harrier Road.

All of the emergency services have been contacted for a comment.

THIS STORY IS UPDATING

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Outdoor hospitality given go-ahead and rules on mixing outdoors relaxed in Wales

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SIX people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday 24 April while outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26 April as cases of new COVID-19 infections continue to fall, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed today.

The current rule provides for up to six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) from a maximum of two households to meet outdoors.

The new rules from Saturday will allow six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) to meet outdoors.

People should observe social distancing from people from outside their household or support bubble when meeting others outside.

The rules for meeting indoors remain unchanged.

The First Minister has also confirmed outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April 2021.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “The public health context in Wales remains favourable, with cases falling and our vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength. Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors.

“This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people’s wellbeing.

“I’m also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April.

“These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult twelve months.

“It is thanks to the continuing efforts of people across Wales we are able to introduce this change. Together, we will continue to keep Wales safe.”

On Friday (23rd April 2021), the First Minister will confirm further relaxations to the covid rules that will come into force on Monday 26 April 2021.

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Police ‘enforcement and engagement’ to curb anti-social behaviour in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby will be using enforcement and engagement in a bid to curb future incidents of anti-social behaviour, they said on Monday (Apr 17)

The announcement comes after Tenby was left with empty cans, broken bottles and fast food wrappers strewn everywhere, after over two hundred young people gathered to enjoy the weekend – perhaps expected whilst pubs remained closed.

Licensed establishment have not yet been able to open in Wales, but they are open in England for outdoor refreshments. They are opening on Monday.

There were reports of young people walking through the town with boxes full of alcohol, with other people buying takeaway drinks from licensed premises before making their way to the harbour.

The sheer number of people meant people were urinating in the streets, some residents told The Pembrokeshire Herald.

A Dyfed-Powys police spokesperson said: “With the continued easing of the regulations designed to keep us safe and the weather getting warmer we have seen an increase of people visiting and out and about in the Pembrokeshire area.
“While it’s great that people are now able to visit Pembrokeshire again, the behaviour of some placed additional pressure not only on the police but on the local authority as well.
“Tenby in particular attracted a large crowd on Saturday evening, April 18, resulting in anti-social behaviour, especially in the harbour area.

Chief Inspector Louise Harries said: “We recognise the concerns of residents and businesses after the anti-social behaviour seen in Tenby on Saturday evening. We are working with partners to avoid these issues re-occurring in the future.
“Police officers will be patrolling the area over the coming weeks and while the priority will be to engage with the public, enforcement action will be taken where necessary”
“We want to see people enjoying and the majority of people are doing so in accordance with the regulations, however the minority who don’t are spoiling it for others.
“We will continue to engage with our communities and visitors to the area to ensure that everyone enjoys in a safe manner.”

(Cover photo courtesy Pure West Radio)

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