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New pilot scheme aims to help disabled people maintain mobility and independence

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A NEW pilot scheme is being introduced this year to help disabled people access a parking space near their property if they don’t have a driveway.

Pembrokeshire County Council will be accepting applications for Disabled Persons Parking Places (DPPPs) from Monday 20th June for a six-week period.  

For the first year of the scheme a maximum of ten places will be available. If the pilot is a success, more places will be installed in the coming years and applicants who meet the criteria will go onto the waiting list if they are not successful this year.

A successful permit will cost £20 annually. The application process can take a minimum of six months.

Cabinet unanimously backed the provision of the scheme in March.

Cllr Rhys Sinnett, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services and Leisure, said the aim is to help a disabled person to maintain their independence and also improve their quality of life

“Parking is such a significant issue for many householders at the moment and none more so than disabled persons. This pilot scheme will begin to address the need to provide parking places located as near to the property as practical to help disabled people whose mobility impairment is such that they cannot walk any significant distance,” he said.

Jessica Hatchett, Access Officer for Pembrokeshire County Council, said a great deal of work has gone into the scheme, including consulting Pembrokeshire Access Group, other local authorities and setting up a working group.

“We’re really keen to find the best way to make this work and set up a good, workable scheme for years to come,” she said.

Jessica added: “It can be very difficult to get out and about when you have a disability and if you also have the stress of about whether you can park close to your property when you come home, it can be very worrying.”

In order to help those most in need of the provision of a DPPP, applications will only be considered if:

•           The applicant has a Blue Badge

•           The applicant owns and drives/is driven in a vehicle that is registered at the address of the proposed location of the disabled bay.

•           The applicant does not already have access to off-street parking or be able to provide an off-street parking space by clearing an existing drive/hard standing or by bringing back into use an existing garage.

Meeting the above criteria does not guarantee that a DPPP will be provided; only that the application will be assessed for suitability. Applicants should not provide any additional evidence unless asked to do so.

The Council will not consider a DPPP provision in the following locations:

•           In the turning head facility of any cul-de-sac.

•           In any location where an existing prohibition or restriction of parking (inclusive of permit parking), of waiting or loading is in place or is being considered by the Council.

•           Within 10 metres of a road junction.

•           At locations where there is a history of visibility related collisions.

•           In a position that may prevent the passing of normal traffic flows.

•           In a position where a parked vehicle will be unsighted to travelling vehicles such as on a bend.

•           On un-adopted highway or private land.

•           Other areas where highway safety is deemed to be compromised

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Community

Controversial windfarm on edge of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park refused

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YET again, the ill-sited Rhoscrowther windfarm on edge of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has been refused consent, much to the joy of campaigners

The Chair of Pembrokeshire Branch of The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW), Mary Sinclair, has responded with relief to the decision by Julie James, the Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, to refuse planning permission for the Rhoscrowther windfarm on the Angle Peninsula, on the edge of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The Branch’s detailed objection (below) catalogued a 25-year sequence of 15 various proposals, appeals and decisions on or near the site, every one of which ultimately resulted in refusal of consent.

Mrs Sinclair said: “This must surely now be the end of developers’ misplaced attempts to industrialise this cherished landscape, and to desecrate the setting of the Angle Conservation Area, whose inhabitants can now look forward to freedom from such schemes.

“The decision justifies CPRW’s persistent argument that wind turbines are out of character with the landscape and visual qualities within and adjacent to this narrow National Park – which needs – and has – the highest level of protection.”

She added: “Nevertheless, we support the development of far-offshore wind resources in the Celtic Sea as a more realistic way to address the impacts of Climate Change – it is now high time that developers transferred their efforts to this purpose”.

Following an online Hearing under the new procedure by Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) the Inspector’s Report also agreed with CPRW’s Hearing Statement (below) that industrial scale (126m = 413ft) turbines could not be justified in this location because of the nearby oil refinery.

The applicants’ attempt to down-play the adverse impact of the rotating blades on the Grade 1 listed St Decumanus church was also countered by the Inspector who concluded that ‘the visual change in the tranquil and peaceful setting of the church would result in a substantial level of harm’.

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Fflecsi Pembrokeshire bus service is set to expand

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TRANSPORT FOR WALES (TfW) is expanding the fflecsi service in Pembrokeshire, allowing more communities across the county to benefit from demand responsive transport.

Working in partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council, the new fflecsi zone replaces the current 315 bus service and will connect villages and hamlets in the Dale Peninsula to Milford Haven and Haverfordwest – integrating with wider public transport routes.

The expansion begins on Monday 30 January and will link up with the highly successful fflecsi service in north-west Pembrokeshire, which has seen an increase in passenger demand since it began operating in September 2020.

Together, the two zones will cover a large portion of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, offering visitors to the area an accessible, environmentally friendly transport alternative to some of the county’s most popular destinations, including the Wales Coastal Path.

TfW also supports the operation of the fflecsi Bwcabus service, which connects rural villages in central Pembrokeshire to Haverfordwest, Fishguard and its ferry port, as well as operating zones which serve parts of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

fflecsi Pembrokeshire is a demand responsive bus service which does not have a fixed route and timetable but an operating zone which enables passengers to be picked up and dropped off anywhere within that fflecsi zone.

Rather than passengers waiting at a bus stop for a bus to turn up, they can book a journey in advance using the fflecsi app, or by calling 0300 234 0300.

Passengers are informed where to catch the bus and at what time it will be arriving – the pick-up point will be near as possible to the location of the passenger.

Andrew Sherrington, Head of Bus Network and Service Development, said: “fflecsi has grown to become a dependable public transport choice in rural Pembrokeshire and its expansion will now allow more people across the county to access the service for everyday journeys and to make important travel connections.

“Passenger numbers continue to grow and in August and September of this year, figures were more than double what they were for those months in 2021.

“We know that fflecsi is highly valued by the rural communities it serves across Pembrokeshire, and it is a vital part of TfW’s commitment to providing a multi-modal transport network that encourages more people to make use of public transport.”

Rhys Sinnett, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “This is a really positive intervention by the County Council in order to protect a service for rural passengers in this part of the county and ensure that they continue to have access to key urban areas.

“The fflecsi Pembrokeshire scheme has proved extremely popular in the north of the county both for tourists and local people and we hope to see this success maintained when the new zone is introduced.”

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Community

Grant to renovate a community swimming pool in Cardigan

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CARDIGAN Memorial Swimming Pool and Hall have received a Capital Grant to undertake much needed renovation work.

The Sport Wales Capital Grant of £207,000 from Welsh Government was secured by Ceredigion County Council to fund essential capital works at Cardigan Memorial Swimming Pool and Hall.

The grant will enable the Swimming Pool to upgrade its Pool Plant Equipment and Air Handling Unit, insulate the roof above the toddler pool and purchase new Pool covers.

Matt Newland, Chairman of Cardigan Memorial Swimming Pool and Hall Trustees, said: “The swimming pool and hall trustees are delighted to announce that we have received a grant from Sports Wales to carry out much needed works to the pool to enable it to continue running. The trustees would like to thank Ceredigion County Council for their assistance and support. Cardigan Swimming pool and hall is run by the trustees committee for the benefit of the community. It is an essential resource and this grant will help secure our future.”

Katie Proven, the newly appointed manager of the centre also welcomed the news: “This investment will help us make much needed efficiency savings, reducing our energy costs and environmental footprint. This is excellent news for the people of Cardigan”

Councillor Catrin M.S Davies, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Customer Services, said: “Ceredigion’s leisure facilities which are run by the community are an important part of the opportunities available for our residents to be active and have fun as a family, group of friends or individually. By working together, Cardigan Memorial Swimming Pool and Hall and the Council have secured a significant investment that will enable the pool to continue to contribute to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents in the county.”

More information on the plans can be seen on Ceredigion County Council’s website: https://council.ceredigion.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=148&MId=291&LLL=1

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