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Councillors back ‘vitally important’ tourism department

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MEMBERS of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee have given their unanimous support to the continuation of the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership.

The committee were unanimous in their decision that tourism was a vital part of the economy and that they did not want to see the partnership cease.

The Partnership was set up in 2010 to coordinate the work of key partners supporting the tourism sector. The work focuses upon destination management, destination marketing and sector collaboration and diversification.

The Council has been looking at a number of different models of delivery in order to take the work forward but has not yet found a sustainable plan.

At the meeting on Thursday (Jan 10), the Council’s Head of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mike Cavanagh, said there is fierce competition between areas in trying to get people to come to certain areas and added that tourism was vitally important to the economy.

He added that if the service was cut it would save the council in the region of £132,000 but went on to say that editorials in newspaper and magazines were just as important in getting people to come to the county.

Cllr David Bryan suggested that individual firms such as hotels, B&B’s or pubs should be making a contribution to tourism.

Jane Rees Baynes from Pembrokeshire Tourism added that this was something they would be looking at as part of the new model.

Cllr Phil Kidney said the report was quite ‘scathing’ of the council and added that the general feel of it was that there wasn’t a ‘great appetite’ to see the partnership forward.

Welsh Government officer Gerwyn Evans added that if the local authority stopped its support it would make things more difficult and said they would be looking for the council to be making a commitment.

Questioning whether or not the Partnership should cease, Cllr Simon Hancock said: “Absolutely not.”

He went on to say: “We should actually re-dedicate ourselves to tourism in Pembrokeshire. In the past we haven’t had decisive decision making or leadership and there is a worrying trend that there has been no increase in spend over the past decade and there has been a slight decline in seasonality.

“We are suffering from a stagnation and other areas are stealing a lead on us and I hope the message from us is that it is extremely important.”

Cabinet member Paul Miller said Cllr Hancock was right to point out the lack of decision making or leadership but did say that they had the right view in setting up the partnership.

Cllr Miller said: “We can only do this collaboratively, it got confused in the past in all sorts of things that it shouldn’t have done. Let’s get this show back on the road and let’s make this partnership work.”

Cllr Vic Dennis spoke of the number of tourism businesses in the county with 1,576 paying business rates but only 346 of those are signed up with Pembrokeshire Tourism. He went on to say there was significant potential for development and added that the industry needed to ‘take ownership’.

James Parkin from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park added that small and medium business enterprises were the back bone of tourism. He added that a review of the service was done in 2014 but because nothing came of that they saw a ‘significant drop’ in its membership.

Cllr Dennis highlighted the work that was going on in Narberth and added that it was a model that could be replicated elsewhere.

Mike Cavanagh added that in recent years the tourism service had been ‘cut through the bone’ and said they only have two officers working on the service as well as himself at the moment.

Cllr Michael Williams said that Tenby and Saundersfoot had been packed over the winter weekends adding that a ‘core season’ no longer exists. He said: “I don’t think the service should cease, it is vitally important. The businesses are the main beneficiaries and they have to play their part.”

Speaking on the Tenby Tourist Information Centre Cllr Williams said his heart says to keep it but his head says perhaps not. He suggested that Pembrokeshire Tourism might take it over as the council would be struggling to find £45,000 to keep it going.

“We’ve got to step up and do it better than we have in the past”, he concluded.

Cllr Bryan added that cinemas were an important part of the tourism offer while Cllr Williams added that a cinema in Tenby ‘could be a huge success’.

Cllr Bryan concluded by saying that tourism was a ‘vital part’ of the economy and recommended that the Committee would like to see the Council continue with the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership and give it their ‘utmost support’.

That was supported unanimously.

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Appeal after woman sexually assaulted on cycle path near Haverfordwest

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POLICE officers in Haverfordwest are appealing for witnesses after a woman was sexually assaulted at approximately 4.30pm on Sunday (May 16).

The woman was walking along the cycle path between Haverfordwest and Tiers Cross when she was approached by a man who threatened and assaulted her, before walking away towards Haverfordwest town.

The male is described as a white male, between 5ft 4 and 5ft 11 tall , normal build with a welsh accent. He has short dark hair, a beard and a moustache, brown eyes, and wearing light blue jeans, navy/dark blue jersey with grey sleeves. Anyone who saw a man matching this description in the area between 3.30pm and 5pm in the afternoon.

A 35-year-old man has been arrested and is currently in police custody.

The cycle path is currently closed while the investigation continues.

Detective Superintendent Jayne Butler, who is leading the investigation, said “Incidents of this nature are extremely rare in the Dyfed-Powys area. The public may see an increased presence of police officers in the coming days as police investigate the incident. Anyone with concerns or information that could help our enquiries can speak to those officers or contact police. While a man was quickly arrested we would still like to speak to anyone who saw a man matching the above description in the area yesterday afternoon.”

Anyone with information which could help the investigation is asked to contact police. This can be done online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet endorses STEP Fusion application

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S Cabinet have today endorsed proposals from Cllr Paul Miller (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) to further progress the nomination of a Pembrokeshire site to host a Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) fusion power station in the county.

Working with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the proposed site is adjacent to the existing energy facilities on the South Shore of the Haven waterway.

If approved, the facility will initially host research with the ultimate aim of developing this technology which could offer a virtually limitless source of clean electricity by copying the processes that power the sun.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “I am pleased my Cabinet colleagues endorsed this important programme of work. The Haven Waterway has provided livelihoods, underpinned by fossil fuels, for thousands of Pembrokeshire families, mine included, for more than 50 years. It’s my job to help ensure the waterway continues to provide high skilled, engineering, science and technology jobs for the next generation of this county – and so linked to our focus on climate change (and in addition to our existing multi-million pound commitments to supporting wind, wave and tidal clean power generation) my team have been exploring whether we can also support the development of clean, green fusion technology.

“It’s very early days in the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s site selection process but we’ll provide regular updates as things progress.”

•       STEP is an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant;
•       It is a UKAEA programme, currently with £222m funding from the UK Government to produce a concept design by 2024: https://step.ukaea.uk/

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Re-opening of indoor hospitality and attractions at Milford Waterfront

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RESTAURANTS and indoor visitor attractions in Milford Waterfront are welcoming the return of indoor services from today.

The re-opening of indoor dining allows all restaurants at Milford Waterfront to seat customers indoors. As well as all restaurants on the Waterfront now being able to offer this service, the brand-new Foam Domes overlooking the Milford Haven Waterway are able to open, with bookings being taken from the 19th May.

Indoor visitor attractions are also allowed to re-open. This includes the Waterfront Gallery, which is open today and Phoenix Bowl & Pirate Pete’s Adventure Play which is making preparations to open from Wednesday 19th May. Also, Milford Museum, which has had a new rendered exterior finish, is preparing to open for the end of May.

Lucy Wonnacott, Marketing Manager for Milford Waterfront commented: “We are delighted to see the re-opening of indoor hospitality and visitor attractions here at Milford Waterfront. Each business has their own safety and social distancing measures in place and we kindly ask that you respect and adhere to these for your own safety, and that of others. We hope you enjoy your visit to Milford Waterfront and stay safe!”

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