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Silverdale residents ‘frightened for their lives’

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A RESIDENT of The Silverdale Lodge, Johnston, has spoken exclusively to The Herald today (Jul 22) to vent his frustrations over the current spike in ‘undesirable’ residents within the lodge.

After becoming increasingly concerned with what he has witnessed at the Lodge, Mark Thornton has set up a committee which he hopes will benefit the residents of the Lodge and those in the wider Johnston community.

The Silverdale Lodge has been a centre of controversy for the local community since the beginning of the lockdown restrictions in March, where it has been used to facilitate the homeless in the county through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Herald has previously reported on the increase of anti-social and criminal activity in the Johnston area, which the community believes is the doing of the residents of The Silverdale Lodge.

Mr Thornton previously gave an interview to The Herald, where he stated at the time he was not aware of any residents causing issues. He insists that this was true at the time, however now he says he has seen incidents himself.

Mr Thornton, who will now lead the group as the official representative of The Silverdale Lodge residents, hopes the Johnston community will band together with him to create a safer environment for them all to live.

Mr Thornton said “We don’t want anymore criminals here and we are going to do our hardest to get the troublemakers removed and ensure they do not return.

“The reason for doing this is to make both the decent residents of The Silverdale Lodge and the Johnston community safe again.

“I have spoken myself with the police today, who have advised me that this is the best way to deal with the issues. I am actively seeking to set up a meeting with the residents of the Lodge, the council, police and the Johnston community.

“Dyfed-Powys Police have assured me they will attend all of the meetings that I arrange.

“Silverdale residents currently feel as if they are in a jail because of the types of people that are being housed here, they need to feel safe and not trapped. We need it to be back to a facility to tackle homelessness within the county.”

Mr Thornton said that it has got to the point where some residents of the Lodge are ‘scared for their lives’, with police in attendance at the Lodge countless times a day to deal with multiple incidents.

Mr Thornton also believes he is being ‘starved into silence’ by Pembrokeshire County Council as punishment for speaking to this newspaper about the ongoing issues at the Lodge.

In the exclusive interview, Mark explains his frustrations about life at the Lodge, his on-going battle with the council and his struggle with receiving food parcels.

As a way to tackle the issues on site a 24-hour security team was placed at the Lodge, however Mr Thornton has told us that this service has now diminished to just a shift covering the evenings.

He added that he spoke to the security team, who have alleged that as of August their service will cease to exist at the lodge, which has infuriated residents who are fearful of the repercussions.

Security guards at Silverdale gave exclusive interview with The Herald

Mr Thornton told The Herald that the only support now available to the Lodge residents throughout the day, is an on-site support worker, which has resulted in residents relying solely on the police for their protection.

The Herald has received reports that on Tuesday (July 21) the police were in heavy presence on two separate incidents at the lodge.

We have contacted Dyfed-Powys Police for a statement, we are awaiting their reply.

The Herald contacted Pembrokeshire County Council with regards to the ongoing issues at the Lodge, a spokesperson said: “ In order to fulfil the Covid-19 guidance from Welsh Government, as a local authority we are required to assist through the provision of accommodation. This is to ensure that individuals are able to comply with social distancing and self-isolate should it become necessary.

“Pembrokeshire County Council is grateful to the Silverdale Lodge in Johnson for supporting the Authority with additional accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Silverdale has individual lodges that allow for social isolation precautions to be applied within individual rooms so we have moved some of our service to this site temporarily.

“We may at times also be working with people who no longer need to stay in hospital but who cannot go home as their property requires some adaptions and we may also have people who need to isolate themselves from vulnerable people they live with.

“The site offers the Council an additional alternative temporary accommodation for people who are in this position.

“It is not a bail hostel nor halfway house.

“At Silverdale we have support on site. Pobl and Goleudy Housing & Support Services are currently offering support for the residents in the Silverdale. The service is available seven days a week from 9 am to 7pm.

“The service is working with the residents to assist with practical,emotional and wellbeing support and to help people develop and maintain the skills and confidence necessary to secure and maintain sustainable housing for their longer term.

“In addition we have security on site to ensure the site is covered across a 24-hour period.

“We also continue to provide support from our experienced homelessness prevention team within the housing department.

“We are unable to comment on specific individual cases but we can confirm that, as a local authority, we do work closely with Dyfed Powys Police.

“We do not have a planned heavy police presence on the site but are grateful to them for their support if needed and for their proactive work to help residents across the county adhere to the current requirements in relation to social distancing and travel.”

Police were made aware of a gathering at Princess Royal Way in Haverfordwest at around 9pm on Tuesday, July 21.

Around 60 people had gathered peacefully to light candles and lay tributes following the tragic death of a two-year-old child.

Officers attended to ensure there was no community tension.

Later that night, eight people were spoken to by police following a gathering outside a property in Johnston.

Officers also spoke to a small group which had gathered outside Haverfordwest Police Station shortly after.

All gatherings passed without incident.

Superintendent Ross Evans said: “Pembrokeshire is a close-knit community, and we understand that the death of a child will be a cause for grief.

“However we would appeal to the public to refrain from any actions that could impact the ongoing investigation, including comments shared online and on social media.

“Officers will be more visible in the local area over the coming days as enquiries continue, and any concerns can be addressed through them.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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