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St Clears railway station project derailed

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Plans to reopen the long-defunct railway station have been thrown into disarray. The much-anticipated revival, backed by a £4.7 million commitment from the UK Government, has hit a financial brick wall, with the Welsh Government conceding its inability to match the necessary funds for the project’s completion.

The station, which closed in 1964, was slated for a grand revival, promising enhanced connectivity and economic opportunities for the region. Initial optimism had permeated the community when groundwork and surveying commenced in early 2022. However, the dream of a bustling transport hub now seems distant, as the project faces an unforeseen hurdle – a financial shortfall of nearly £6 million.

The crisis came to light during discussions in the Senedd this week. Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, revealed that the original cost estimate of £6 million had doubled due to complications arising from changes in signalling systems. “There’s an assumption in this scheme that the Welsh Government will match-fund and we were willing to match-fund at a lower cost but we simply do not have the funds to match-fund at the higher costs. That is the truth of the situation,” Waters somberly stated. His words laid bare the stark reality faced by the Welsh Government, caught between the community’s needs and financial constraints.

Conservative politicians for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Simon Hart MP and Samuel Kurtz MS, expressed their deep concern during a recent on-site inspection. Mr. Hart elucidated the financial intricacies, saying, “The UK Government promised nearly £5 million towards the project and the Welsh Government put in another £1.6 million – but the costs have doubled due to the price of changing the signalling and there is now a shortfall of nearly £6 million.” Their concern mirrored the sentiments of the local populace, disappointed by the project’s stagnation despite initial promises.

Further complicating matters is the Welsh Government’s approach, intertwining the railway station’s fate with a proposed new hospital in the vicinity. Senedd Member Samuel Kurtz voiced his disappointment, stating, “Despite this project being greenlit a few years ago, the Welsh Government have conflated the station build with the potential new hospital, seemingly making the station conditional on the hospital being built in St Clears. This means there has been no progress at all and, in this time, costs have risen.”

This revelation has left the residents of St Clears in a state of uncertainty, their hopes for improved transportation and economic growth hanging by a thread. The once-promising project now faces an ambiguous future, with the community eagerly awaiting decisive action from both the Welsh and UK Governments.

As the situation stands, the St Clears railway station remains a poignant symbol of unrealized potential, a reminder of the challenges faced by local communities in the pursuit of progress. The residents, alongside their representatives, remain steadfast in their desire for a resolution, hoping that the railway station will one day become more than just a fading memory, but a vibrant reality, breathing new life into their town.

An attempt to reopen the station in 1973 was made by five local authorities and organisations, together with the Department of the Environment, which jointly agreed to fund construction of a new station at a total cost of then of just £5,400 (or £25,000 in today’s money)

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Entertainment

Save the dates: Classic car shows in Pembrokeshire

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THE FIRST of the Summer season of the Classic Car Shows in aid of the Paul Sartori Foundation took place at the Commons Car Park, Pembroke recently.

Organised by Malcom Powell and friends, the show was opened by the Mayor of Pembroke, Ann Mortenson, accompanied by the Ward Ten Withybush fundraiser Ellie Neville.

The rest of the shows are follows

Wednesday 5th June at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 19th June at the Plough Inn, Sageston

Wednesday 3rd July at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 17th July at the Plough Inn, Sageston

Wednesday 14th August at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 18th August at the Plough Inn

All events are at 4pm, except for the final show of the year on Saturday 14th September at the Plough Inn Sageston which starts at 2 30pm.

Pictured is the first show of the year at the Commons,Pembroke.

Pic-Martin Cavaney

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Charity

Royal celebration at Buckingham Palace marks RNLI’s 200th anniversary

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HIS MAJESTY The King has graciously hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace today to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). This prestigious event brought together approximately 2,500 of the RNLI’s dedicated volunteers, staff, and their families.

The garden party, held in the palace’s magnificent grounds, was marked by the presence of an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, showcasing the RNLI’s modern lifesaving capabilities. The event celebrated the remarkable history and ongoing contributions of the RNLI, which has been saving lives at sea since its founding in 1824.

Among those honoured at the event were representatives from Tenby Lifeboat Station and St Davids Lifeboat Station. From Tenby, the delegation included recently retired Coxswain Philip John, along with Michael Lewis, Daniel Young, Graham Waring, and Peter O’Hagan, all accompanied by their partners. Representing St Davids Lifeboat Station were Will Chant, Jestyn Martin, Ffion Rees, Judd Kohler, Ellen Evans, and their respective partners. These individuals were recognised for their exceptional service and dedication to the institution, trading their RNLI yellows for smart attire on this special occasion.

The RNLI, established in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, has grown into a vital organisation dedicated to saving lives at sea. Over its two centuries of operation, the RNLI has saved more than 142,700 lives, thanks to the bravery and commitment of its volunteers and staff. Today, the RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations and provides a 24-hour search and rescue service around the coasts of the UK and Ireland.

His Majesty’s patronage and the garden party at Buckingham Palace underscore the nation’s deep appreciation for the RNLI’s invaluable service. The celebration not only honoured past achievements but also highlighted the continued importance of the RNLI’s mission as it looks forward to the future.

For more information on the RNLI’s history and its bicentenary celebrations, please visit the official RNLI website.

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Community

The Big Beer Festival returns to Milford Waterfront

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MILFORD HAVEN is set to host the highly anticipated Big Beer Festival tomorrow at Milford Waterfront. Beginning at 12:00 PM on May 25, the event promises a vibrant celebration featuring an impressive array of real ales, lagers, and ciders, along with a prosecco and Pimm’s bar for those with different tastes.

Local bands will provide live music throughout the day, ensuring a lively atmosphere. Headline act 4th Street will be among the performers, with additional acts including After the Fire, Steve Bartram, Two Suns, Tin Man Revolution, and DJ Robzy. Food lovers can enjoy diverse culinary offerings from The Junkyard Dog and Marcela Mexican Cuisine at the Thornton Motors Streetfood Zone. Entry is £20, which includes four drink tokens and a limited edition glass. Each token can be exchanged for a half pint, a glass of prosecco, or a glass of Pimm’s. The festival will run until 11:00 PM.

This event is part of the continued partnership between Milford Waterfront and the Milford Haven Round Table. This collaboration supports a calendar of events throughout the year, raising funds for local causes and creating enjoyable experiences for the community and visitors. Upcoming events include the Milford Haven Carnival on July 6 and the Fireworks Extravaganza on November 5.

As well as local petrol station company The Ascona Group, Howden, a global insurance intermediary group, is a key supporter of the festival. As a deluxe sponsor, Howden is donating £500 towards the event. Gary Stevens, Regional Managing Director, expressed his delight in supporting the Milford Haven Round Table, emphasizing the event’s significance as a fantastic day out for the bank holiday weekend and a means to support the local community.

Milford Haven Round Table, the UK’s largest Round Table with 30 active members, organizes this festival to give back to the local community. All funds raised support local charities, groups, and individuals, including popular free entry events like the town’s annual carnival and fireworks display.

For more details, visit the official event page.

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