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Madison’s Bar and Restaurant shuts as hospitality sector struggles

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AFTER four years of serving the local community with its unique brand of fine dining and vintage charm, Madison’s Bar and Restaurant has announced its closure. Owners Ceri and Neale, who transformed an old chippie into the award-winning establishment named after their beloved dog, expressed their heartbreak in a poignant customer announcement.

Despite their hard work and the restaurant’s success, they cited the drastic changes within the hospitality sector and the battle against soaring business overheads as insurmountable challenges.

Madison’s, celebrated for its golden Hollywood glamour and exceptional service, was a testament to the owners’ dedication and imagination.

This award-winning restaurant not only provided a culinary haven but also became a symbol of pride and joy for its owners. However, the seasonal area’s saturated eatery market and the current economic climate have made it increasingly difficult for small businesses like Madison’s to thrive, they said.

Recent Insolvency Service reports show that the UK restaurant sector is encountering insolvencies at a rate of 46% more than last year.

A slowdown in customer spending and surges in operating costs over the last 12 months have dealt the heaviest blows to the industry.

A variety of economic headwinds are making it more difficult than ever for eateries to keep their doors open.

The current economic climate, alongside the currently high energy costs, have meant that unavoidable costs such as rent, heating, and lighting have increased to business-crippling levels. Without a doubt, one of the main drivers for the rise in restaurant insolvencies is the knock-on effect of customers staying at home. The public are feeling the same pinch as businesses are, and are cutting back on luxury purchases accordingly.

The announcement of this latest closure was met with an outpouring of support from the community, including heartfelt messages from regular customers and former staff members.

Steve Grimes, a loyal patron, expressed his sorrow and wished the owners luck in their future ventures.

Similarly, Dave Weaving, a long-time supporter of Ceri and Neale’s endeavors, shared his devastation but hoped for a new beginning for the couple.

Madison’s was renowned for its “Chef to the stars” David, and a dedicated team that included Molly-Isabella, Martha, Cheyenne T, Cheyenne B, Mia, Caldey, Dafydd, and Dan, among others. The restaurant’s closure marks the end of an era for Milford Waterfront, leaving behind a legacy of culinary excellence and a family of staff and patrons who shared many happy memories.

Tributes to Madison’s highlighted its unique ambiance, outstanding food, beautiful décor, and the best cocktails in Wales, reflecting the deep impact the restaurant had on its community. Patrons shared stories of celebrations, anniversaries, and regular visits that made Madison’s a special part of their lives.

As Ceri and Neale bid farewell, they thanked their staff, customers, and particularly the Grimes family, for their support. The restaurant’s motto, “There are contenders and there are pretenders, but there is only ever one vintage Madison’s,” encapsulates the unique place it held in the hearts of many. The closure of Madison’s Bar and Restaurant is a significant loss to the local dining scene, symbolising the broader challenges faced by the hospitality sector in these times.

The community’s response underscores the cherished memories and strong bonds formed around the dining tables of Madison’s, a testament to the love and hard work poured into the establishment by Ceri, Neale, and their team.

Now that Madison’s has closed its doors for the final time, the spirit of the restaurant and its motto will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of those it touched.

Business

West Wales firm fined £75,000 after man killed by escaped cow

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A WEST WALES company has been fined £75,000 following the death of a 75-year-old man, Huw Evans, who was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market. The incident occurred on November 19, 2022, at Whitland Livestock Market in Carmarthenshire, operated by J.J. Morris Limited.

Father-of-two Mr Evans was crossing the junction at North Road and West Street in Whitland when the cow, which was being auctioned, escaped from the market pen. The animal attacked Mr Evans, knocking him down and trampling him. He suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, where he succumbed to his injuries six days later.

A worker from J.J. Morris Limited was also injured during an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the cow. The cow eventually made its way towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being subdued and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and found that J.J. Morris Limited had failed to implement essential physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping. The HSE concluded that the company’s risk assessment was inadequate, referencing control measures that were not in place at the market.

J.J. Morris Limited, based in Haverfordwest, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs by Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 20.

In court, Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, expressed his grief, saying: “Dad was my best friend, and I miss him terribly. He was taken from us too soon. Losing dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother. Because of this incident, dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally, and he will not see them grow up.”

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Rhys Hughes remarked, “This tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable. The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

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Business

Tata workers call first strikes in 40 years to stop steel destruction

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HISTORIC strikes in Port Talbot as Labour vows emergency talks with Tata after general election

Around 1,500 Tata workers based in Port Talbot and Llanwern will begin all-out indefinite strike action over the company’s plans to cut 2,800 jobs and close its blast furnaces.

The strike action, which begins on 8 July, will severely impact Tata’s UK operations. It is the first time in over 40 years that steel workers in the UK have taken strike action.

The escalation in industrial action comes after the workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, began working to rule and an overtime ban on Tuesday (June 17).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata’s workers are not just fighting for their jobs – they are fighting for the future of their communities and the future of steel in Wales.

“Our members will not standby while this immensely wealthy conglomerate tries to throw Port Talbot and Llanwern on the scrapheap so it can boost its operations abroad. They know South Wales is ideally placed to take advantage of the coming boom in green steel – if the right choices are made.

“The strikes will go on until Tata halts its disastrous plans. Unite is backing Tata’s workers to the hilt in their historic battle to save the Welsh steel industry and give it the bright future it deserves.”

Labour has called for Tata to halt its plans and wait until after the general election to engage in talks with the government, saying there is a ‘better deal to do’. Labour has pledged £3 billion for UK steel if elected next month, a commitment secured by Unite. Labour has also made emergency talks with Tata a priority if it wins the election.

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Business

Amendments submitted for holiday chalets scheme at trout fishery

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Amendments to a scheme granted by Pembrokeshire councillors last year after being repeatedly recommended for refusal have been submitted to county planners.

Last summer, Pembrokeshire councillors backed plans for holiday chalets at a trout fishery, despite them being recommended for refusal on multiple occasions.

Plans to provide nine accommodation cabins and ancillary works at a former fishery business at Millbrook, Manorwen, Fishguard, were backed at two meetings of Pembrokeshire County Council planning committee, despite them being recommended for refusal.

The application was backed for a second time at the committee’s May meeting, after a ‘minded to approve’ decision at the previous meeting.

The decision, a departure from the adopted Local Development Plan, meant the application would need to be referred to full council for a final decision.

Officers had repeatedly recommended Messrs L & C Williams’ application  – diversification of an existing agricultural holding and trout fishery business – be refused on the grounds it would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the character and appearance of the countryside.

The application was then considered at the July 2023 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, with a recommendation that the council did not endorse the resolution of the planning committee on the grounds it went against Development Plan policies which directed that planning permission should not be granted.

The application was conditionally approved by 48 votes to eight, with one abstention.

The applicants have now submitted amendments to the granted scheme, asking for revisions to the plans to include a lower carbon footprint through air-source heat exchangers for both heating and hot water and the use of solar panels.

It also includes the need for addition excavations needed and hopes to make it more disability-friendly.

The amendments will be considered at a later date.

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