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Plans for new Pembroke diner to serve alcohol until 2am sparks policing fears

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THE POLICE presence in Pembroke is “woefully inadequate,” at a time when antisocial behaviour and drug-taking is “on the rise” in the town, councillors heard.

The concerns at the level of policing in the town were raised by local county councillor, and town councillor, Jonathan Grimes at the February meeting of Pembrokeshire County council’s licensing sub-committee during an application for an American-style diner in The Commons area of the town.

Concerns had been raised by residents and the town council over issues including the potential sale of alcohol as late as 2am, as well as fears of crime and anti-social behaviour, and drug problems.

The application for a premises licence for café/restaurant Parkside Diner, on Commons Road, made by Pembroke Diners Ltd, would be on the site formerly occupied by Stateside Diner, and more recently Charlie Brown’s Bistro.

While the majority of food and drink sales would be inside the property, there was an initial proposal to utilise a serving hatch, allowing the sale of late-night refreshments and alcohol off-site as late as 2am at weekends.

The hatch element was not actually included in the application before committee members, leading to a call for a midnight, with a 12.30am finishing-up period, request.

During the meeting, Cllr Grimes raised concerns that late-night drinkers may move down to The Commons area “which in the past had a problem with drugs and antisocial behaviour.”

“Pembroke has enough challenges with antisocial behaviour, and this just adds fuel to the flames for the peaceful enjoyment of local residents and tourists,” said Cllr Grimes, who stressed he had “no problems” with the sale of alcohol with food, but raised concerns about the sale of alcohol off-premises in an area that has “a very low” amount of police patrols.

Hearing there had been no objections by statutory consultees like the police, Cllr Grimes said:

“To be honest I’m not surprised, the police presence is woefully inadequate, antisocial behaviour is on the rise, drug-taking is on the rise, and the police response is woefully inadequate at the moment; it’s unusual to see police patrols after 10pm because most of the police patrols are carried out by PCSOs and PCSOs normally finish at 10pm.”

Cllr Grimes raised memories of a “mass brawl” at the town’s annual fair last year, the police presence at which he has previously described as “underwhelming”.

“We had an incident last October at the Michaelmas Fair where there were no police available to deal with an antisocial incident, a fight.

“Policing is woefully inadequate in Pembroke at the moment.”

Committee members, following a compromise mooted by the applicant himself, agreed to the granting of a premises licence on the condition the sale of refreshments was limited to 11am, with the business able to stay open to 11.30pm.

Dyfed-Powys Police Divisional Commander for Pembrokeshire Craig Templeton said: “Whilst I do not agree with Cllr Grimes comments regarding policing within Pembroke, or the lack of officers to attend a previous incident last October, I am always ready to listen to concerns raised from within our communities about any policing issue.

“Pembrokeshire is one of the safest places to live, work and visit in the UK and there are many hardworking officers and staff ensuring that this is the case.”

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Pembrokeshire stands against Israeli apartheid and Genocide

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PALESTINE solidarity groups in Pembrokeshire and West Wales are mobilising for a powerful protest in Haverfordwest, Castle Square, this Saturday 20th April at 2pm. They aim to vehemently condemn the relentless Israeli onslaught on Gaza and send a clear message to the UK government and local MPs Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb: End the complicity now! We demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to arms sales that fuel this brutal oppression.

The Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, refers to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Israeli forces, following the forcible displacement of 750,000 Palestinians (almost half the population) in 1947-49 in order to establish the state of Israel. Israel’s current assault on Gaza is an escalation of the ongoing Nakba and threatens to be the largest mass expulsion of Palestinians since 1948. The international community has an immediate responsibility to intervene to stop Israel’s ethnic cleansing today. Any delay in implementing practical measures constitutes complicity and/or participation in the ongoing Nakba.

This rally is a collective outcry against the crimes perpetrated by Israel and a rallying cry for the boycott of Israeli products.

“It’s sickeningly hypocritical that Israel strikes nations and communities first, claims victimhood when faced with resistance, and then receives unwavering support from the U.S., the UK, and Germany!” lamented one protester.

“For too long, the international community has turned a blind eye to Israel’s flagrant violations of human rights, granting it impunity while innocent lives are lost.”

“Six months of relentless violence. Six months of Israel slaughtering innocent Palestinians. Six months of Israel killing over 14,000 children! That’s an average of around 76 children a day and what has our government done? Profited from arms sales, turning a blind eye to the bloodshed,” remarked another protester.

This protest is a clarion call to all who stand for justice: It’s time to disrupt the status quo and challenge our complicit government. “We will never give up,” declared a participant. “To dismantle apartheid, we must disrupt the everyday and refuse to be complicit in Israel’s crimes against humanity!”

Join us at Castle Square at 2pm this Saturday to lend your voice to the 2 million people who suffer from a forced famine and brutal occupation in Gaza. Together, we will demand justice, accountability, and an immediate end to the bloodshed, the genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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Dragon LNG ‘monitoring’ scrap car blaze in Waterston

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A BLAZE has broken out at the Waterston Car Dismantler’s business in Waterston, Milford Haven.

Dragon LNG which is situated near the site said that the fire was not related to their operation and confirmed that the that emergency services were at the scene.

Residents living nearby have been advised to keep windows and doors closed whilst the incident is being dealt with.

“We are aware of a fire in Waterston with the emergency services present,” said a spokesperson for Dragon LNG.

“The incident is not related to Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy. We are monitoring the situation and are co-ordinating with the emergency services.”

A spokesperson for Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service told The Herald: “At 11.09am on Monday, April 15th, the Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock, Narberth, Fishguard, Carmarthen, Tenby and Haverfordwest crews were called to an incident at a commercial premises in the Waterston Industrial Estate, Milford Haven.

“Crews responded to approximately 150 vehicles on fire, at the height of the incident, 12 fire appliances were in attendance.  Crews utilised six breathing apparatus sets, nine hose reel jets, two ground monitors and approximately 1,000 litres of foam to extinguish the fire.

“Properties in close proximity to the fire were evacuated and nearby roads were closed.  The incident required a multi-agency response, with Dyfed-Powys Police, the Ambulance Service and the Local Authority also in attendance.

“Crews began to leave the scene at 2.11pm.

“Please be advised that as a precaution:

“If you are in an area still affected by smoke, you are advised to stay indoors, close windows and doors, and turn off any air conditioning or ventilation units.

“Motorists who must travel through areas still affected by smoke should keep windows closed, turn off air conditioning and keep air vents closed.”

(Images: M Cavaney/Herald)

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Oxfam to close Haverfordwest shop amid asbestos concerns

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OXFAMGreat Britain is set to shutter its profitable store in Haverfordwest, which currently brings in £25,000 annually, due to unforeseen costs related to asbestos removal. The closure date remains undecided, leaving managers Derrick and Mark uncertain about the future. A major sale is planned to clear out stock, starting with a 50% discount on donated items before escalating to a fire sale.

The charity has faced longstanding issues with asbestos in the building’s upper floors, which now require £60,000+ in removal costs. This expense will be charged to the shop’s account within a year, rendering the operation financially unviable. Although aware of the asbestos for years, Oxfam GB’s management has continually deferred addressing the problem. Alternatives such as relocating have been dismissed by the charity, citing that finding new premises would take two years and the renovation costs would still need coverage in the interim.

The Haverfordwest shop is a vital community hub, known for its extensive range of quality second-hand books, music, clothes, and homewares. It is also the largest second-hand bookshop in Pembrokeshire. The store is celebrated for its inviting atmosphere and the significant social value it provides, offering volunteering opportunities and work experience placements that often lead to employment.

Despite the shop’s profitability and community role, Oxfam GB’s decision comes as a blow to local efforts to combat poverty. Sarah Rees, Head of Oxfam Cymru, has previously highlighted the region’s “shameful and stubbornly high poverty rate.” The shop not only supports Oxfam’s global initiatives but also directly contributes to alleviating local poverty.

The decision has sparked controversy among volunteers and the community, with many questioning Oxfam’s commitment to its stated mission. Rosamund Aubrey, a volunteer, expressed her disappointment and stated she would reconsider her support for the organization due to this decision.

The forthcoming closure marks a significant loss for Haverfordwest, leaving both staff and the community awaiting further updates from Oxfam GB.

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