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Tourism and community business hub plan for former motel

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A DERELICT ‘eyesore’ motel close to the Pembrokeshire seaside village of Newgale could soon be redeveloped as a tourism and community business hub.

A Pre-Application Consultation was launched on September 15, by Nick Neumann of Newgale Holidays on plans to redevelop the former Roch Gate Motel to a mixed commercial and community use hub called ‘The Gate,’ including a village shop/post office, bistro/takeaway, conference facilities and business units together ancillary works, and a separate tourism development of up to 25 holiday lodges.

The consultation – and a supporting statement – has been submitted with agent Andrew Vaughan-Harries of Hayston Developments & Planning Ltd ahead of any formal application to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The application relates to the former motel site, recently purchased by Mr Neumann, and adjacent farmland at Rainbolts Hill Farm on the edge of the village of Roch.

The former motel – dubbed an “eyesore” in previous applications – closed back in 2008 and has a history of later approved planning schemes, including as a bespoke hotel and an affordable housing scheme, but none have come to fruition.

Agent Andrew Vaughan-Harries of Hayston Developments & Planning Ltd, in a supporting statement, said: “The former motel site has laid vacant for several years and is now derelict and largely abandoned. Despite an application being granted for its redevelopment as a bespoke hotel and a more recent application for an affordable housing scheme being recommended for approval by the authority (subject to the completion of a legal agreement) neither of these schemes have materialised.

“These schemes were submitted by the previous owner of the site and clearly failed to deliver.

“The application proposal comprises different business, commercial, community and tourism elements. Since purchasing the site more recently, the applicant seeks to present a different and exciting mixed-use redevelopment on the site which would be of significant benefit to the local community.

“The authority has previously accepted that the site is unlikely to return to its previous use as a motel/hotel. Roch has sadly recently lost its only village shop/post office and fish and chip shop. The shop/post office closed in the last 12 months and the fish and chip shop several years ago.

“The proposed business/community hub would include the provision of a replacement village shop/post office, a bistro with small food takeaway facility, rooms that would be available for conferences and local community uses, together with three small business units.”

The statement added: “In addition to the business/community hub, it is also proposed to create a modest tourism development comprising up to 25 holiday lodges on part of the adjacent field to the southwest. This tourism development forms part of the overall business plan for the site and to provide an income stream in support of the main redevelopment site.”

Mr Vaughan-Harries said the applicant also wants “to give back to the local community” with the introduction of a community garden, open to all, including being offered out to local playgroups and schools for learning and development in the outdoors.

Following the launch of the pre-application, Mr Neumann said: “Today is the first notable milestone on our journey to redevelop the former Roch Gate Motel site. Today we launch our Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) and ask for initial feedback to our vision and development plans for the site.

“It’s taken us nearly eight months to get this far and we thank Hayston Developments & Planning Ltd and Landsker Business Solutions Ltd for their support and tenacity.

“The purpose of this Pre-Application Consultation is for everyone to have their say whether good, bad or ugly, as we believe the richness of feedback will only but help us improve upon the scheme.”

All relevant documentation surrounding the proposals is available on the Hayston Development & Planning Ltd website.

Anyone who wishes to make representations about this proposed development must do so by October 20, with the formal consultation period commencing on Monday, September 18.

Responses should be emailed or posted to Hayston Development & Planning Ltd, of Planning Studio, Hayston Bridge, Johnston, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 3HJ. Tel: 01437 891817 Mobile: 07515 851704.

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Ambulance terror response fears in Wales over hospital delays

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Liam Randall, Local Democracy Reporter

AMBULANCE chiefs in Wales say they may not be able to respond properly to terror attacks because of hospital handover delays.

It follows a report highlighting the risk of “catastrophic harm” to the public if crews are busy at A&E departments during major incidents – this includes concerns about the availability of ambulances following a fire on a ferry heading to Fishguard last year.

The Welsh Ambulance Service service raised concerns after a mass-casualty simulation found it would have failed to provide an adequate response three out of four times.

The Welsh government said it expected health boards to prioritise cutting handover delays.

The tests were conducted after the Manchester Arena bombing public inquiry.

That found a host of failings by emergency services in the attack’s aftermath.

The warning follows the service’s claims some medics could not to respond to an explosion at Treforest Industrial Estate, in Rhondda Cynon Taf, in December 2023 because they were stuck outside Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

A major incident was declared after the blast in which a woman died.

Next week a report will be given to the ambulance service board alleging hospital officials failed to release crews from the hospital site.

Swansea Bay University Health Board denied this, saying ambulances were freed.

The ambulance service has questioned the effectiveness of release procedures.

Chief executive Jason Killens has written to Welsh health boards for assurances.

It fears it may not be able to respond to them properly because of hospital handover delays
The ambulance service fears: It may not be able to respond properly because of hospital handover delays

The ambulance report said if a major incident was declared there was a risk an “effective, timely, or safe response” may not happen.

“(This would result in) catastrophic harm (death) and a breach of the trust’s legal obligation,” it said.

The main reason for this was “lost capacity due to hospital handover delays”, over which, it said, it had no control.

It added it was not assured hospitals had plans to release ambulances effectively.

Welsh Ambulance Service operations chief Lee Brooks said it had plans to deliver an effective response to major incidents.

He recognised handover delays were a problem.

“Our ability to send a large-scale response to an incident may be hindered if our people and vehicles are not immediately released by emergency departments,” Mr Brooks said.

The report also highlighted two other occasions where the service had been concerned about ambulances not being released.

These included the fire on the Fishguard in 2023 ferry as well as a gas explosion in Swansea the month after.

Swansea Bay health board said it took its responsibilities seriously and had major incident plans.

Jason Killens
Welsh Ambulance Service boss Jason Killens says as many as 30,000 hours are lost each month due to waits to transfer patients to hospital

“These include agreed protocols to enable the rapid release of ambulances from the emergency department in the event that a major incident is declared,” it said.

“We can confirm that on the evening of the Treforest Industrial Estate fire our major incident plan was invoked and that we did release ambulances.”

Handover delays were raised in the Senedd last week after the health committee was told ambulance crews often see only one patient a shift.

Mr Killens said as much as 30,000 hours were lost monthly in Wales due to waiting to transfer patients to hospital.

Patient safety was at risk, he said, with handover times averaging more than two hours. The target is 15 minutes.

Sam Rowlands MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister said: “It’s not good enough for the Labour Welsh Government to just ‘expect’ Health Boards to solve handover delays.

“We need substantial reform of the entire health system to clear the backlogs of getting patients out of hospital as well as in.

“Our Welsh Conservative plan of NHS reservists, along with care hospitals will deliver that immediate support needed to enable the Ambulance Service to save lives.”

The Welsh government said it expected health boards to cut patient handover delays as a priority over the next six months.

It said this year it was investing an extra £180m to help health boards and regional partnership boards manage more people in the community and avoid ambulances and hospital admission.

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Joy as St Davids Cathedral Music Festival gets into full swing

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THE ST DAVIDS Cathedral Festival is in full swing, offering a captivating array of performances that have enthralled audiences and celebrated the rich tradition of music in the historic setting of St Davids Cathedral. The event bring world-class musicians in Britain’s smallest city, running from 24th-29th May.

The programme of events kicked off on Friday, May 24, with The Children’s Chorus and Band, and Vox Angelica, Vicars Choral and Choral Scholars by Candlelight.

On Saturday night, May 25, festival-goers were treated to a truly stunning performance by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW) under the baton of renowned conductor Martyn Brabbins. The evening’s programme featured masterful renditions of works by Brahms, Sibelius, and Mathias, with the extraordinary violinist Inmo Yang delivering a particularly unforgettable performance.

Audience members and performers alike expressed their appreciation for the concert, with many calling it an evening to remember.

Photographer Chris Limbert captured the essence of the night, showcasing the cathedral’s breathtaking atmosphere and the musicians’ passion.

Earlier that same day, one of the festival’s most anticipated events took place: the ‘Choristers Unplugged’ concert.

This event, a favourite among the choristers, saw the young singers performing to a packed audience.

The concert featured a delightful and whimsical pink theme, with choristers donning costumes inspired by ‘Wonka’, ‘Barbie’, ‘Six’, and other popular themes.

The performance was a resounding success, demonstrating the choristers’ versatility and love for music of all genres. Special recognition was given to the Head Chorister, who was praised for expertly curating the programme.

Festival attendees Laurence and his companion expressed their joy at being part of the event, noting how the concert’s atmosphere allowed them to share in the choristers’ enthusiasm and appreciation for a wide variety of music.

The St Davids Cathedral Festival continues to be a highlight in the regional cultural calendar, bringing together talented musicians and appreciative audiences in one of the country’s most iconic and spiritually significant venues.

As the festival progresses, it promises more remarkable performances and memorable experiences for all who attend.

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Injured climber rescued from cliffs near St Govan’s Head

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AN INJURED climber was rescued from the cliffs near St Govan’s Head on Friday afternoon, May 24, in a dramatic operation involving multiple agencies. The climber found themselves stranded on the perilous rocks, prompting a swift response from coastguard rescue teams and an RNLI lifeboat.

At approximately 3.50pm, HM Coastguard Dale, St Govans, and Tenby teams, along with the Angle RNLI lifeboat, were paged to assist in the rescue. The lifeboat was the first to reach the climber, providing immediate casualty care. However, due to the climber’s precarious position, evacuation by boat was deemed impossible.

In a statement on their Facebook page, HM Coastguard Dale praised the collaboration, stating, “This was another great example of multiple agencies working together for a positive outcome.”

The coastguard teams then initiated a rope rescue operation. Using a rope rescue stretcher, they successfully extracted the injured climber to the top of the cliff. The climber’s partner, who was also on the cliffs, was safely recovered during the operation.

Once the casualty was safely at the top, paramedics took over, providing necessary medical care. The coastguard teams were subsequently stood down, concluding a successful multi-agency rescue effort.

The quick and efficient response highlights the vital role of coordinated efforts in emergency situations, ensuring the safety and well-being of those in perilous conditions.

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