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Port changed website as Mustang collapsed



tradingNEW DETAILS have emerged this week showing how Milford Haven Port Authority rewrote its website deleting the key words ‘Trading Subsidiaries’ as controversial boat building firm Mustang Marine, collapsed.

 In recent weeks Alec Don, Chief Executive of MHPA has been insisting that Mustang was never a trading subsidiary, and that the port should not have to pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds to local firms who were not paid as the firm went into administration. Alec Don told port stakeholders at the annual consultative meeting last month that the port had a “responsibility but not a legal liability” to Mustangs creditors. He later added: “I bitterly regret that Mustang went down. We lost £2.7m” The extraordinary on-line revelation, is clear evidence that the Authority was advertising Mustang as a subsidiary – a signal to suppliers that giving a credit line to Mustang was rock solid. The news ties in with what creditors of Mustang Marine have been saying – that the port does have a legal responsibility to pay debts owed. Simon Hart MP told The Herald: “The key question for all those local firms owed money is whether Mustang was a “trading subsidiary” of the Port Authority. The fact that the website has been ‘adjusted’ is a cause of great concern. I will be raising this, and other issues, with Stephen Hammond the Minister very soon.” His views were echoed by Stephen Crabb MP, who said when on a visit to Milford Haven Coastguard Station yesterday: “There is no doubt that as Mustang collapsed the Port Authority did everything they did to distance themselves from Mustang’s debts. When I got calls about Mustang it was always from Alec Don – the Port Authority.” On its official website, in late August 2013, the Authority wrote: “The Port of Milford Haven Group includes the following Trading Subsidiaries” and “The Port of Milford Haven merged its ship repair business, Milford Haven Ship Repairers with international boat builders, Mustang Marine, early in 2012. The deal included the substantial investment of new capital to finance growth plans of the enlarged business. With the specific objectives if shortening new-build delivery times, and providing station of the art fabrication facilities in Pembroke Dock.” However, as Mustang was collapsing, the website was quietly updated. The words ‘Trading Subsidiaries’ was replaced with ‘Associate Companies’. The sub-headline was also similarly replaced and an introductory paragraph about Mustang the following final sentence was added: “Mustang Marine is 50% owned by the Port of Milford Haven, with management responsibilities remaining with Mustang’s own team.” Speaking two weeks ago Simon Hart MP told the Herald: “I understand that Alec Don and Andrew Jones were the directors who signed off Mustang Marine’s accounts for 2012, which correctly stated under accounting guidelines that the company was a subsidiary of MHPA. It is for this reason that I find Alec Don’s comments that he cannot account for the different terminology used by the respective auditors of the Port Authority and Mustang Marine confusing.” The Port Authority will now have to explain why these differences also made it onto their official website. The Pembrokeshire Herald contacted Milford Haven Port Authority for a comment. Alec Don said “A reference in the MHPA annual report to Mustang as a subsidiary was actually a mistake, and was not meant in the true legal sense. This is also the same situation for the website.”

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Milford Haven: Concerns over council refuse collection staff using drugs on duty



PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL have confirmed that they are conducting an ongoing internal investigation.

The probe is relating to “illegal drug use by on-duty refuge collection crews” operating from the Thornton Refuge Depot in Milford Haven.

The Herald understands that following suspicions being raised, drug testing was carried out on refuse crews on Monday (May 10) – all before they left their depot.

This newspaper has been told that a number staff, which includes bin lorry drivers, tested positive for drug use, and that the council called in the police.

That information was passed to The Herald by someone who we have confirmed to be a member of staff working at Pembrokeshire County Council, who did not want to be named.

After a request for a statement, a spokesperson for the council has stressed that none of their vehicles were involved, suggesting that, on the day in question, positive tests were arrived at before any bin lorries had left the depot.

As part of the multi-agency operation the police were called and attended Thornton Refuse Depot, but did not make any arrests, and said they had little involvement in the operation.

Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there is an ongoing internal workplace investigation and can clarify that there was no police involvement on the day in question – no Pembrokeshire County Council vehicles were involved.

“We are not in a position to comment any further at this time.”

Dyfed Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “At the request of Pembrokeshire County Council, officers attended Thornton Refuse Depot to provide [them with] support on the morning of Monday, May 10.

“Officers attended; however they were not utilised.”

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Council’s Planning Committee approves ambitious dockyard plans



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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Further Covid-19 business support packages to become available soon



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:

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:

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

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