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Health board putting ‘tents and temporary buildings up’ as virus hits west Wales

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As part of preparations for managing the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the local health board has begun to enact plans for all acute hospitals and other care facilities to ensure that they can keep patients safe while continuing to provide high standards of care.

Their latest press release states: “Each of our four hospitals in Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Haverfordwest and Llanelli is developing plans which involve providing designated areas for an expected increase in patients who test positive for COVID-19 and require hospital admission. To do this, some services may need to move or change temporarily to allow us to provide clinical care for these patients in a more appropriate environment, while also ensuring that other essential services continue to run as smoothly as possible.

“We will also be putting temporary buildings or tents in place and people will be appropriately signposted to these as they become operational.

“From Saturday evening (21 March 2020) the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) at Withybush General Hospital, also known as Puffin Ward, will be suspended so that it can be converted into a Minor Injuries Unit for adults and children for the duration of the pandemic. Families with children suffering minor injuries will still be able to access care at Withybush via the MIU but those children with acute illness will be directed to Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen.

“Over the coming days, weeks and months we will also be implementing changes to other care facilities to help us deal with increased cases of COVID-19 patients and the latest measures follow our postponement of non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments last week, new visiting restrictions and access arrangements for community care facilities. The Health Board is committed to keeping our communities, staff and stakeholders informed about any changes every step of the way and will provide further updates soon.

“Dr Phil Kloer, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at Hywel Dda, said: “Firstly I want to reassure our communities as far as possible that our number one priority is to keep you, the public, safe and to provide as much continuity of care as we possibly can. Our staff, both clinical and non-clinical, have been working around the clock for several weeks now to get ready for this and I would like to express my deepest gratitude to them and to thank the public, our partners and stakeholders for their understanding and patience.

“We need to act now and what we are doing is in line with other health boards and trusts up and down the country as our NHS seeks to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that some aspects of care may have to temporarily move, change or reduce and the public need to be prepared for that. We will continue to keep our communities, staff and stakeholders informed about any changes every step of the way and will provide further updates soon.”

News

Council’s Planning Committee approves ambitious dockyard plans

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s Planning Committee this morning (Tuesday, May 18) approved an application for the construction of a new marine engineering project at Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard.
The plans, vociferously opposed by local heritage groups, passed unanimously.

The matter will now go to the Welsh Government, which has reserved its position on the scheme’s approval.
Committee members expressed the view that the balance between heritage and economic development were balanced, with strong views expressed on either side. They decided the balance of the application favoured economic development subject to conditions regarding aspects of the site’s preservation and its ability to be restored in the future.

The Committee members who attended a site visit on Wednesday, May 12, said it was the most informative and best site visit they had this council term. Visiting the site gave them a clearer idea about what was planned and the scale of the project, which would not have been gained from a paper exercise.

While the approval of the scheme was unanimous, one element of the reserved matters caused some members concern: the height and size of the proposed massive new sheds which would be built at a later phase of the project.
Cllr David Pugh, seconded by Cllr Steve Alderman, moved an amendment which would approve the project and delegate reserved matters to officers apart from the sheds’ construction, which would return to the Committee for detailed approval.

Cllr Tony Wilcox and Cllr Mark Carter emphasised the need for certainty regarding the project’s development, a position supported by Cllr David Howlett, Cllrs Pugh, Alderman and Cllr Stephen Joseph said that little delay would be caused to the scheme by bringing the sheds’ development back to the Committee. They noted the significant intrusion of the sheds into the landscape for miles around.

Planning Officer Mike Simmons advised that the project would proceed in five phases and that the applicant, Milford Haven Port Authority, was keen to proceed with the first phase as soon as possible. The first phase would be the infilling of the docks and pool, removing a caisson gate and preserving it, before the building of new slipways.
The Port Authority already accepted the sheds would only be built if there was commercial demand for them.
The amendment proposed by Cllr Pugh passed by six votes to five with two abstentions.

It means before the sheds are built, the Committee will decide the detailed application relating to them.

All other aspects of the development will be decided by officers.

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Business

Further Covid-19 business support packages to become available soon

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PEMBROKESHIRE businesses that remain affected by Covid-19 restrictions can check their eligibility for a new package of support from the Welsh Government.

This latest support package will help those businesses eligible to meet ongoing costs through to the end of June as they prepare for re-opening and more normal trading conditions.

Businesses that stand to benefit include:

  • nightclubs and late entertainment venues
  • events and conference venues not covered by the Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF)
  • hospitality and leisure businesses, including restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • supply chain business, which have been materially impacted by restrictions

An eligibility checker has opened on the Business Wales website so businesses can find out how much support they are likely to be entitled to and how to apply.

See more information and check your business’ eligibility at: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/

Funding will be calculated based on the size of the business and the type of restrictions they are under.

Businesses will be able submit applications to the Welsh Government from 24th May 2021 for grants of up to £25,000 and by the end of the month to Pembrokeshire County Council for smaller fixed Discretionary Grants.

To keep up to date and see the future application process for the Discretionary Grants please see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

The above link will be be updated with the latest information.  

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News

£50,000 funding windfall for low carbon community projects

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OVER £50,000 of funding has been awarded to local projects through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

Since June 2020, the Fund has focussed on supporting community-led projects that contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency. These can include:

·       Installing renewable energy generation facilities, such as solar panels, to a community building

·       Transport initiatives that promote reduced carbon emissions

·       The installation of community facilities that minimise waste, such as water fountains

·       Any other community-based carbon reduction initiatives.

Tenby RFC were among those to benefit from the most recent round of grants with an initiative to install recycling bins and litter pick stations at each of the sports facilities in the town.

There were two successful applications from the Solva area – one for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at Solva Community Clubhouse, and the other from the Community Organised Allotment for Solva Tenants (COAST) to help with set-up costs.

Others to be awarded an SDF grant were the Paul Sartori Foundation and the EcoDewi community group. The Paul Sartori Foundation’s project involved fitting of tracking devices onto warehouse vans to enable route optimisation and increased fuel economy; while EcoDewi secured funding to support a part-time role organising community engagement events and volunteering activities, and developing wider community partnerships.

Jessica Morgan, Funding and Grants Officer for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust said: “It’s been wonderful to see such variety in the applications we’ve received, and the innovative climate emergency solutions suggested by communities in the National Park.

“We look forward to receiving the next round of applications, and would encourage any community-led group or organisation that needs support to fund projects that will help reduce carbon and/or respond to climate change to apply as soon as possible.”

The next deadline for SDF applications is Friday 10 September 2021.

To find out more about SDF grants, and to apply online or download the application form please visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/sdf.  

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