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AM calls for dedicated support for coastal and market towns

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CARMARTHEN West and South Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Angela Burns has called for more targeted funding to be made available to support towns and villages in west Wales.

During a Welsh Conservative debate held on Wednesday into Community Regeneration Angela highlighted how towns the length and breadth of Wales are changing and raised her concerns that a contribution of changing customer expectations and high rates are driving a significant increase in shop vacancy rates.

A recent House of Lords enquiry found that “the seaside and our coastal heritage is a vital part of our country’s greatest assets” however they concluded that “their location on the periphery of the country places them on the periphery of the economy, bringing consequential social problems. This combination of challenges warrants dedicated attention and support.”

Mrs Burns said that a Welsh Conservative Government in Cardiff Bay would look to establish a seaside town fund and a market town fund to help regenerate local communities which would see £200 million earmarked to be invested over a five-year period with the aim of creating a more level playing field around investment between towns and cities. It would also plan to give more power to local communities to take control of their local regeneration efforts.

Commenting later Mrs Burns said “The constituency of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire is home to such diverse towns and communities as Laugharne, so closely linked to Dylan Thomas, through to Whitland with its ties to Hywel Dda, Tenby and its wonderful beaches and in the far west, Pembroke the birthplace of Henry Tudor and the historic military town of Pembroke Dock where royal yachts were built. We are blessed to live in such a varied constituency but what links all these areas and many others throughout Wales is that they have all seen better days.

“After visiting the Christmas Fair at Pembroke Castle I walked back along the length of the High Street. It really brought home to me how the High Street has changed over the past decade. Banks gone, boarded up shop fronts and the growth of charity shops. This scene is replicated elsewhere in my constituency and we need imagination, focus and resource to reinvent our high streets for today’s public expectations.

“We believe that strong towns will help to develop strong communities, and cohesive and engaged communities will help to improve the whole area for the benefit of all. And that has an enormous spin-off effect into education and health and the economic drive.

“We need to remind the Welsh Government that they need to look further than the cities along the M4 and the South Wales valleys to stimulate economic growth and regeneration and that there are other parts of Wales which also need support.

“I am disappointed that the Welsh Government were not able to back our motion, but will continue to press for towns across my constituency to gain the support from the Welsh Government that they desperately need.”

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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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Newly elected Member of the Senedd completes first week in the role

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FOLLOWING on from the Welsh Parliamentary elections, the newly elected member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Samuel Kurtz MS, has reflected on his first week in his new role.

The election saw Samuel receive 11,240 votes from across the constituency, the largest number of votes for any Welsh Conservative candidate in the constituency for a Senedd election. It was a closely fought campaign which was conducted respecting Covid-19 restrictions.

Commenting after a busy first week, Sam said:

“It has certainly been a whirlwind. From the moment that the results were announced last Friday my feet haven’t touched the ground.

“After speaking with a number of local and national media outlets, I managed to spend some time with loved ones before heading up to the Senedd early on Monday morning to be sworn in.

“As a Welsh speaker, I was delighted to swear my oath bilingually and will ensure that I continue to do so when speaking in the chamber.

“I’m in the process of recruiting my staff and getting both my Senedd and Constituency office set up to ensure that I can continue the good work of my predecessor, Angela Burns, in standing up for the interest of all my constituents whether they voted for me or not.

“On Wednesday, we elected the Llywydd and Deputy Llywydd as well as confirming Mark Drakeford as the First Minister. As one of 19 new members across the chamber and nine Welsh Conservatives, the coming weeks will be spent learning the ropes and procedures in Cardiff Bay. Over the course of the campaign, I have picked up a several issues and pieces of  casework from across the constituency and will be ensuring that the constituency work is always my priority.

“As we emerge from the Covid restrictions and society begins to open back up I am looking forward to getting to every corner of the constituency, meeting more businesses and individuals.

“I am planning in making use of both modern and traditional methods of connecting with constituents, from email newsletters, social media platforms and virtual surgeries to doorstep surgeries and face to face meetings, to ensure I provide a strong voice in Cardiff Bay for this beautiful part of the country.”

Samuel is contactable via email on Samuel.kurtz@senedd.wales

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