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Restoration of iconic Temperance Hall is boost for ‘top of town’

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TEMPERANCE HALL, cinema, wartime billet and canteen, bingo hall, tax office and Freemasons’ Hall – the stunning Grade II Listed Temperance Hall at the centre of Haverfordwest has seen it all! Now it is being given a new lease of life following its acquisition by Haverfordwest Heritage, a community-run organisation supported by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Its Italianate façade has graced the high street since 1889, a symbol of the town’s collective social history. But after these many incarnations – and like many heritage buildings across the country – it has been unused, unloved and empty since 2009. 

Now, through the work of a new Heritage Development Trust called Haverfordwest Heritage, it will once again be brought into public use. The Temperance Hall will be restored and repurposed to create a new Community Printworks which is set to open in summer 2025. This will include providing an exhibition space, print and design workspaces, and a well-equipped workshop with traditional printing presses which will host an exciting programme of courses. 

AHF HH images
Archive image of The Temperance Hall (L) and Haverfordwest Printmakers Circle work party prepare to open the hall for a public preview before the renovation work begins (R). Credit Haverfordwest Heritage (L) and Heidi Baker (R).

Richard Blacklaw-Jones from Haverfordwest Heritage said: ‘By opening a welcoming and accessible Community Printworks, the aim is to create services and experiences that attract local people and visitors into the town, provide space and opportunities for creative businesses, develop skills, bring people together and enhance the town.   

‘Our neglected heritage buildings symbolise the decline of our once thriving historic town. Unused and left to deteriorate further, The Temperance Hall would have epitomised this decay. But renovated and repurposed this stunning building can be part of the efforts to raise the perception of the town and provide a welcoming new facility.   

‘By re-inventing The Temperance Hall as a Community Printworks, we want to help restore Haverfordwest as a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and visit. Community Printworks established in other towns have quickly become successful centres for fun and accessible art making for everyone who wants to have a go, as well as providing access to specialist equipment for professional printmakers. We can’t wait to welcome everyone in to find out more on Saturday 15 June at our open day.’

Heidi Baker, a graphic designer, art and design tutor at Pembrokeshire College and founder of Popty Press – a small design and print studio in the town said: ‘We’ve been testing the community print workshop model at our smaller studio and are thrilled to have the opportunity to move to a larger space to accommodate more printmakers and more activities. Printmaking is a very accessible form of art enabling everyone of all ages and abilities to benefit from getting involved in creative activities. 

 ‘Haverfordwest has so much potential, and I feel excited to be part of a new energy reviving the town. Each little pinprick of new activity may be small, but when they all join up we’ll make our town a place we can be proud of.’

Haverfordwest Heritage is one of 12 Heritage Development Trusts (HDTs) across the UK that are funded through a three-year strategic partnership between the Architectural Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. These people-powered social enterprises have been created to reimagine, repair, and reuse historic buildings that communities value, reinvesting revenues to build flourishing, prosperous places in every corner of the UK. As well as funding, the HDTs will be supported with expertise and advice as they develop.

The purchase and restoration of the Temperance Hall has been made possible with funding from the Community Ownership Fund, and the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Sir John Perrot Trust, and the Architectural Heritage Fund.  Haverfordwest Heritage is now planning the renovation programme and would like to share these exciting plans with the community at an open day at the Temperance Hall on Saturday 15 June when there will be tours, exhibitions and staff on hand to explain more about the plans for the building and how people can get involved. 

Kelcey Wilson Lee, Director of Programmes at AHF said: “AHF has been working with communities for nearly fifty years to find enterprising ways to revitalise old buildings by providing advice, grants and loans to put sustainable heritage at the heart of vibrant local economies. 

‘We are delighted to have supported the purchase of The Temperance Hall to bring it back into community use as well as the wider work of Haverfordwest Heritage. This is just the start of their work as one of a number of Heritage Development Trusts across the UK, and we look forward to seeing how their work develops to bring about positive change in the town.’

New Chief Executive joins to spearhead wider plans

To drive forward the wider programme of work Haverfordwest Heritage have appointed a new Chief Executive, Stuart Berry. Stuart has joined from PLANED, the West Wales community development charity, where he has worked as the Cultural Coordinator for the past five years. Prior to joining PLANED, Stuart worked in museums in the north of England and west Wales, focusing on connecting people with their local heritage and promoting the role heritage attractions can play in economic and community regeneration. 

Stuart said: ‘I am delighted to be taking on this exciting role and look forward to working with the community in Haverfordwest in bringing new life to buildings such as The Temperance Hall. With its rich history, The Temperance Hall is the perfect starting point for Haverfordwest Heritage, and we are thrilled to be able to bring it back into use for the benefit of the town. But it doesn’t stop there, and we would like The Temperance Hall to be the first of many heritage buildings we buy, renovate and repurpose in the town.’

To find out more about the open day on June 15 and the plans for The Temperance Hall visit www.haverfordwestheritage.org.uk

Community

Police launch urgent search for missing 16-year-old in west Wales

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POLICE are actively searching for a missing 16-year-old boy, known only as Kobi, who has not been seen since last week. The teenager has connections across various towns in west Wales, including Llandeilo, Carmarthen, and Cardigan.

Kobi, described as tall with shaved black hair featuring a purple tint, was last spotted in Llanelli. Authorities have urged the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings of the boy immediately.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police issued a public appeal, stating: “Can you help find Kobi, who has been reported missing? Kobi is 16 years old, and described as tall with shaved black hair which has a purple tint.”

Anyone with information on Kobi’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Dyfed-Powys Police without delay, as concerns for his welfare continue to grow.

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Community

Feedback wanted on regional transport vision

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VIEWS are wanted on the future of transport in South West Wales.

Covering Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea, a case for change that’s been developed for a regional transport plan is now open for public feedback until Monday August 26.

The case for change shows how the plan is essential to support the ongoing economic development of the region, while recognising its diverse communities and varying transport needs.

Aims of the plan include improving walking and cycling routes to local services, as well as achieving a shift away from private car usage to more sustainable forms of transport. Affordability will be at the centre of the plan to ensure access to transport is available to all.

Comments on the case for change will help inform a draft regional transport plan that will also be consulted on when it’s ready for feedback.  

Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro plans for an integrated bus and rail network will continue to be developed alongside the regional transport plan’s delivery in future. 

The rail metro elements are projected to add over a million journeys to the rail network, helping move more people out of cars and onto public transport than any other scheme in Wales.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader and Chairman of the Corporate Joint Committee (CJC) for South West Wales, said: “Adding to an outstanding tourism offer, South West Wales is undergoing a time of unprecedented investment, thanks to developments like the Celtic Freeport and £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal.
“These schemes – in combination with many others – will help create thousands of jobs for local people and attract even more investment to South West Wales in future, but we’ve also identified that our current transport network needs significant improvement to keep pace with these developments, while also better meeting the needs of local people in all the region’s communities – both urban and rural.
“The case for change – which also highlights the importance of affordability, climate change considerations and low-carbon transport – is intended as a guide to help inform the emerging regional transport plan.”
Cllr Darren Price, Carmarthenshire Council’s Leader and Chairman of the CJC’s transport sub-group, said: “The transport network is at the heart or our region. It takes us to work, education, healthcare and leisure and social activities both throughout South West Wales and further afield.
“It affects everyone, which is why we’re opening up our case for change for the regional transport plan for public feedback.
“With the population of the region also expected to increase in the coming decades, we need a transport system that accommodates existing and future developments in a way that supports sustainable travel choices, economic activity and social inclusion across the region.”
Head to www.cjcsouthwest.wales/consultation for more information and the opportunity to give feedback.
Email [email protected] if you have any queries.
Paper copies of the feedback form and consultation materials are available at:
Carmarthenshire: Ammanford Customer Services Hwb on Quay Street, Carmarthen Customer Services Hwb on St Catherine’s Walk or Llanelli Customer Services Hwb on Stepney Street.
Neath Port Talbot: Neath Civic Centre, Port Talbot Civic Centre or The Quays on Brunel Way in Baglan Energy Park.
Pembrokeshire: County Hall in Haverfordwest.
Swansea: The Civic Centre on Oystermouth Road.

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Community

Freshwater West named The Times newspaper Beach of the Year

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FRESHWATER WEST has been named Wales’s Beach of the Year, according to the annual best beaches guide by The Times and Sunday Times. The comprehensive guide, now in its 16th edition, lists the top 50 beaches in the UK and will be available in print on 21st July.

Chris Haslam, the award-winning chief travel writer for The Times and Sunday Times, described Freshwater West as “a wilderness of dunes, sand and rocks that draws surfers from across the world to ride its winter waves.” Haslam has personally inspected all 50 beaches on the list over the past eight weeks.

The guide evaluates the stunning beauty of the UK coastline using a meticulous 11-point checklist. This includes water quality, cleanliness, accessibility, parking facilities, lifeguard presence, hygiene standards at restrooms and showers, and dog-friendliness. For 2024, only beaches rated as “excellent” for water quality by national environment agencies have been included, and the guide exclusively covers mainland beaches.

Here are the best beaches in Wales according to the guide:

  • Wales’s Beach of the Year: Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
  • Llanddwyn, Anglesey
  • Porth Iago, Gwynedd
  • Penbryn, Ceredigion
  • Mwnt, Ceredigion
  • Manorbier, Pembrokeshire
  • Pendine Sands, Pembrokeshire
  • Mewslade, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Oxwich, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Monknash, Vale of Glamorgan

Chris Haslam reflected on his travels, saying, “My Jack Russell, Dave T Dog, and I have journeyed 5,583 miles and explored 543 beaches. The 50 beaches that made our list are graced with outstanding natural beauty, superb infrastructure, and a clear sense of pride from those who live, work, and play there. I’m still in awe of the beauty of the UK coast. From Kynance to Caithness, and Brancaster to Benone, the beaches of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are the most magnificent on earth.”

For more details, visit The Times and Sunday Times Best UK Beaches.

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