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Major milestone for new Narberth Library thanks to Welsh Government funding

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A BRAND new library building for Narberth is due to be handed over to Pembrokeshire County Council by local developers next month, with the new facility due to open in early 2024.

Andrew Rees and Charles Salmon of Narberth Old School Developments are due to hand over the premises located next to the old Narberth primary school site – now known as The Hwb, by early June, ready for fitting out.

It will continue to be run by the successful three-way partnership of Pembrokeshire’s Library Service, the Friends of Narberth Library and Narberth Town Council.

Developer Charles Salmon said they were pleased to be involved in the library development, adding that the building has been provided free of charge and on a peppercorn rent for the next 125 years.

The work will be funded by a combined Welsh Government Capital Transformation Grant of £149,997 secured by the library service and £30k Section 106 funding.

“It’s great news that Welsh Government are once again investing in Narberth,” said Cllr Rhys Sinnett, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services.

“The Capital Transformation grant will allow us to not only provide a modern, welcoming library but also introduce new technologies which will significantly extend the opening hours.

“I am delighted to see that the hard work of the partnership put together to bring this project to life is finally being recognised and rewarded with this funding.”

Chair of the Friends of Narberth Library, Cllr Marc Tierney, said: “The news that Narberth Library has been successful in receiving Welsh Government funding is a really positive step forward for the town.

“As a voluntary organisation, the Friends of Narberth Library has worked hard to support Pembrokeshire County Council in keeping the St James Street library open and part of the community over the last seven years.

“The new building just off the Towns Moor Car Park brings the library into the heart of the town, easily accessed by local buses and by car and in a location that for many is the start of their journey in discovering what Narberth has to offer.

“I’m looking forward to the Friends of Narberth Library exploring new opportunities to collaborate with others so that the library becomes a renewed focal point and a real community asset that confirms Narberth as a great place to live, work and visit in Pembrokeshire.”

Narberth Mayor, Cllr Elizabeth Rogers, said: “About time! It will be a huge benefit to the town and the surrounding area to have a new modern library on a car park which creates easy accessibility.

“This is something the town has campaigned for, for a long and hard time and it’s wonderful that it is now within our reach.

“The many hours that have been given by many behind the scenes is amazing but that is what Narberth does. I thank everyone involved.”

At the moment, Narberth Library is temporarily situated at the Lee Davies Day Centre due to essential building repairs taking place at its home in St James Street – but will hopefully re-open at St James Street in June.

For more info, including current opening hours, please see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/pembrokeshire-libraries/narberth-community-library

Narberth library

The exterior of the new library building next to The Hwb in Narberth. The library is due to open next year (Pic supplied )

Community

New health concerns over Withyhedge Landfill site emissions

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LEVELS of a potentially harmful gas emitted by the Withyhedge Landfill Site have been recorded above World Health Organization (WHO) guideline levels, according to a recent report. Public Health Wales (PHW) conducted a health risk assessment on air quality data collected between 1 March and 3 April 2024 in the surrounding area.

The data indicates that during March and April, hydrogen sulphide, a colourless gas with a distinctive “eggy” smell, exceeded the WHO’s odour annoyance guideline. PHW warns that exposure to such odours can cause symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, watery eyes, stuffy nose, irritated throat, cough or wheeze, sleep disturbances, and stress.

PHW stresses the importance of addressing the source of these offsite odours to mitigate potential health impacts on the local community. Despite an enforcement deadline passing last month, residents continue to report gas and odour issues in their homes daily.

“These are common reactions to unpleasant smells, and these effects should usually pass once the odour has dissipated,” PHW stated. “The long-term health risk is low.”

In response to the health risk assessment, PHW advises residents to keep doors and windows closed when the odours are present and seek medical advice if they feel unwell. However, they caution against blocking windows or vents completely, as these are crucial for ventilation and controlling dampness. Once the outdoor smell subsides, opening windows and doors can help eliminate any remaining odours inside.

Work to cap the landfill site has been completed, and PHW has welcomed plans to install static air monitoring equipment around the site to capture more detailed data. Dr. Sarah Jones, a consultant in environmental public health for PHW, acknowledged the stress and anxiety local residents are experiencing due to the odours. She emphasised the importance of resolving the issue swiftly and assured that the health risk assessment would be updated as new data becomes available.

Gaynor Toft, Chair of the Air Quality Group for the Multi-Agency Incident Management team, noted that the risk assessment from PHW is being used to refine and develop the air quality monitoring programme. Suitable locations for static monitoring equipment are being identified to ensure robust data collection for future assessments.

Huwel Manley of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) confirmed that NRW would continue to use its regulatory powers to drive improvements at the site and address the causes of the odour affecting the community. NRW had given RML, the company operating the landfill, until mid-May to undertake several remedial actions to control gas emissions.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has reached out to NRW for a detailed update on the current situation at the site. The community remains hopeful for a swift resolution to these ongoing health and environmental concerns.

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Community

Local projects benefit from Sustainable Development Fund grants

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SEVEN local projects have benefited from over £70,000 of funding through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund supports community-led projects in and around the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park that contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency.

In the latest round of funding, grants were awarded to Southern Roots Organics, Narberth Museum, and the Crymych Arms Community Pub to install Solar PV systems. Additionally, the Narberth and District Community and Sports Association received funding to upgrade their existing Solar PV system and improve the energy efficiency of their squash court lighting. As well as generating new low-carbon electricity and offsetting higher carbon grid electricity consumption, these projects will reduce ongoing electricity costs for these organisations.

Cosheston Community Hall was another beneficiary, receiving support from the Fund to construct a bike shed. This project aims to encourage more people to cycle to the Hall, promoting sustainable travel within the community.

In Marloes, SDF funding has paved the way for the village clock to be retrofitted with low-energy and Dark-Skies-friendly illumination, which will reduce both energy consumption and light pollution in the area.

The VC Gallery also received funding to upgrade to more energy-efficient windows and doors, which will create a warmer community space and contribute to lower carbon emissions.

Jamie Leatham from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said: “These grants represent our continued commitment to addressing the Climate Emergency, supporting community-led projects that improve sustainability and reduce carbon emissions.”

“By funding initiatives like Solar PV installations, energy-efficiency upgrades, and sustainable transportation solutions, we are helping our communities to reduce emissions, generate their own low-carbon energy, and raise awareness to promote a greener, more resilient future for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.”

The Sustainable Development Fund consists of money allocated from the Welsh Government Sustainable Landscapes Sustainable Places Fund.

Further information can be found at www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/sustainable-development-fund.

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Community

Teenage town crier rings in a new era for Tenby

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TENBY has ushered in a new era with the appointment of its first female town crier, Erin Morgan. At just 17, Erin is not only making history in the resort town but is also carrying on a family tradition, standing beside her father, Dai Morgan, who serves as the town mayor.

Erin, a student at Pembrokeshire College, is fulfilling a vision long held by the late John ‘Yobbler’ Thomas, one of Tenby’s most esteemed town criers, who believed that a young person should take up the iconic bell.

Erin’s inaugural engagement as town crier was a poignant one, accompanying her father to Tenby’s D-Day procession to Castle Hill. There, she opened the beacon lighting ceremony by reading the official D-Day International Tribute, marking a proud and memorable start to her tenure.

Adding to the occasion, former Yeoman of the Guard Spike Abbott made his debut as Sergeant at Arms, joining the mayoral party for the first time.

Erin’s appointment was confirmed at the recent town council meeting, where she spoke passionately about her love for Tenby and the significance of the town crier role in preserving local traditions.

Erin, who is also a young leader with Tenby Guides, expressed her desire to see greater youth involvement in the town’s activities. She hopes that her position will help foster a stronger sense of community and bring people together through the town council’s initiatives.

(Image: Gareth Davies Photography)

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