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Pembrokeshire County Council housing services update

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FOLLOWING the most recent Government guidance, Pembrokeshire County Council’s housing department has had to cut back on all face-to-face meetings and home visits.
Staff are still working to support tenants, those who are homeless and those who are on the Choice Homes waiting list but they have had to make changes to some of those services.
Choice Homes Allocation Scheme

• allocations under the Choice Homes Scheme have now been suspended for the time being. Instead the focus will be on working with the Housing Associations and businesses to identify, match and prepare properties for those in an emergency situation. This includes the suspension of Mutual Exchanges and Transfers.
• customers can still complete housing applications but there may be a delay in these being responded to as the Council prioritises other areas. If customers wish to discuss their housing application they should call: 01437764551 or email: haalloc@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
• if customers have any information to add to their housing application, they are asked to email a picture or a scanned copy of it to: haalloc@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and where possible avoid sending anything in the post.

Homelessness

Staff are available to give advice and assistance over the telephone to those who may be at risk of becoming homeless in the near future.
Demand remains high for this service and given the current circumstances and any landlords who are interested in working with the Housing Department to supply accommodation for those in an emergency situation are asked to get in touch.
Accommodation will need to be fully self-contained and furnished to include cooking and washing facilities in order for people to self-isolate where necessary. To enquire, please email: haalloc@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

Emergency Legislation has been introduced which bans both social and private landlords from starting possession proceedings to evict tenants for at least the next three months.
Support has also been introduced to home owners and landlords in the form of a three-month mortgage payment holiday if they are struggling to meet payments as a result of COVID-19 outbreak.
If you are homeless and need advice, contact the duty team by emailing: housingadvice@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or phoning: 01437 764551 and asking for the housing advice team.

Current Tenants

The housing department will continue to provide advice and support to tenants by telephone for emergency tenancy issues only.
It is in the process of identifying tenants who may be vulnerable and in need of additional support during this time. If you are a tenant who may need additional support, please let us know so that we can link you in with the essential services that you need.
You can also access the Community Hub on: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-communityinformation/i-need-some-help or call: 01437 776301
Housing staff is also asking tenants to let them know if they are in self-isolation or displaying any symptoms so that we can ensure staff safety in the event of an emergency.
Please email: tenman@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or call 01437 764551 and ask to speak to the Tenancy Management Team.

Sheltered Housing Schemes

The department has taken several measures to support and comply with the Government guidance for self-isolation and social distancing within our Sheltered Housing schemes.
• communal lounges have been closed
• tenants have been advised that they must socially isolate themselves.
• wardens are available via phone or email to support tenants and ensure they have access to food, medication and essential services
• tenants are advised to only allow essential visitors to their property (or example to deliver food, medication etc)
• always keep two metres separation from people
The Council is concerned that some residents and visitors are not adhering to the strict government guidance and would plead to keep themselves and others safe by maintaining isolation during this period.

Anyone who is a Sheltered Housing tenant, or concerned about a Sheltered Housing tenant who may need help and assistance during this time, can contact the warden for the scheme or call: 01437 764551 and ask to speak to the Housing Customer Liaison team.
Building Maintenance Service
Our Maintenance teams are working hard to make sure we can respond to emergency repairs only, which should be reported as normal. All other repairs that involve social contact have been suspended.
All customers reporting repairs are asked to inform the department if they are self-isolating or showing symptoms of the virus so that staff and customers alike can be protected
We will keep you updated in the coming weeks as we react to the evolving situation.
Paying Rent
It is important that tenants continue paying their rent where possible, either via the automated phone line on 01437 775164 or by paying online through: https://myaccount.pembrokeshire.gov.uk
If customers need advice or assistance regarding paying their rent, they can email: revenue.services@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
For tenants who are worried about paying their rent or who are in financial difficulty, they may be entitled to help to pay their housing costs through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit depending on their circumstances. To find out about the financial support available, go to: www.GOV.UK or for Housing Benefit and Council Tax enquiries, email: revenue.services@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
If customers require additional support with this, Citizens Advice are continuing to support customers online and via telephone. Local Advice line number is: 01437 806070.
Opening times are: Tuesday and Thursday: 10 am to 5 pm and Wednesday: 10 am to 5.30 pm. Further information is available at: www.pembscab.org

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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