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Council considering enforcement action against unauthorised wedding venue



BUSINESSMAN Rhys Owain Lloyd, and his partner Carys Elin Mair Davies have found themselves at the centre of controversy in recent days.

Their operations at Redberth Gardens in Pembrokeshire, where they are running an unauthorised wedding tipi venue, have caught the ire of local authorities and residents alike.

Now the council is considering formal enforcement action, it has been confirmed.

Despite being denied planning permission by Pembrokeshire County Council on April 23, the couple has forged ahead with their venture.

Weddings have already taken place at the venue on May 25, with another booked for June, locals said. Lloyd and Davies, both from Carmarthen, are brazenly advertising and accepting payments for weddings and music events under the guise of Serenity Garden, even though they lack the necessary wedding licence.

The properties they advertise for accommodation—safari tents and glamping pods—do not have the requisite planning permission. Furthermore, the lodges have not been signed off by building regulations, raising serious concerns about their ability to secure insurance for guests.

As if these infractions weren’t enough, ceremonies are conducted on a site not listed on PCC’s approved venue list. Adding another layer of complexity, the land used for these ceremonies is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is under investigation by National Resources Wales due to allegations of land grabbing from a local farmer, which has ignited a legal dispute.

Pembrokeshire County Council responded to the situation with a series of statements sent to the Pembrokeshire Herald by email.

Regarding planning issues, a council spokesperson said, “The planning application was submitted retrospectively following a planning enforcement investigation. The refusal of the application means we are considering formal enforcement action to remedy the breach of planning control.”

The council also noted that a separate planning application for an extension to the holiday accommodation, comprising three glamping pods and six safari tents, was withdrawn in May. “An indication was given that a revised application would be resubmitted,” the spokesperson added.

In terms of marriage ceremonies, the council explained, “The venue applied to become licensed as an approved premise for ceremonies some months ago. As part of the licensing procedure, we require proof of planning and event consent. Neither of these were provided with the application, so we have proceeded no further, pending receipt of these documents.”

The council is aware that the venue continues to take bookings. “Any ceremonies currently taking place are not legal ceremonies or undertaken by the Registration Service; instead, they are non-legal ceremonies conducted by independent celebrants,” the spokesperson clarified.

The saga of Rhys Owain Lloyd and Carys Elin Mair Davies at Redberth Gardens is a stark reminder of the ongoing issues with unauthorised venues and the difficulties faced by local authorities in enforcing planning regulations and ensuring public safety. As this story unfolds, the community watches closely, awaiting the next move in this contentious drama.

Although there is no wedding licence, the council have confirmed that there is a current premises licence issued under The Licensing Act 2003 for the venue, authorising the sale of alcohol and regulated entertainment.

The Herald has tried to contact the business owners for comment.


Seafish 2024 fishing fleet survey heading to Wales



FISHING vessel owners and skippers encouraged to join the annual survey of the UK fishing fleet from Monday 15 July

Seafish researchers will again be heading to harbours and ports around the UK this summer.

From July 15, Seafish, the public body that supports the UK seafood industry, will be conducting its fishing fleet survey to learn about the financial performance of fishing businesses and the demographics of their crew.

In Wales, the survey is scheduled to be hosted by Seafish fleet researchers Badis Khiari, Zachary Wong and Emma Kearns.

The process also gives vessel owners and skippers the opportunity to share details on how their business has fared in the last 12 months.

Seafish is encouraging all vessel owners and skippers to participate in the survey, as their input is instrumental in ensuring the fishing industry in the UK is moving in the right direction. The interviews take no longer than 15 minutes to complete and all responses are treated as strictly confidential, with no figures from any individual vessel revealed elsewhere.

This year researchers will be handing out a free First Aid at Sea Guide for every skipper or vessel owner that participates.

Juan Carlos Paredes Esclapez, Economics Project Manager at Seafish said: “Our fleet survey is an essential tool for monitoring the performance of our fishing industry. By taking part in this survey, vessel owners and skippers can help create an understanding of the challenges they face as well as new opportunities.

We encourage as many fishing businesses and vessel owners as possible to get involved in this year’s survey. The data collected is crucial for guiding policymakers, industry stakeholders, and businesses, ensuring the sector is prepared to tackle future challenges effectively”.

Fishing businesses who take part in the fleet survey can request a free benchmark report which compares their vessel’s economic performance to similar vessels and can help identify areas for improvements. It can also be used as evidence in grant or loan applications.

During last year’s fleet survey, many fishing vessel owners responded to the survey. Seafish’s Economics of the UK Fishing Fleet report for 2023 will be published later in the year, but initial findings show:

  • On business performance over the previous 12 months, 24% rated it poor or below average. 41% rated it average and 35% rated it above average or excellent.
  • On the outlook for business over the next 3-5 years, 17% rated it bad or very bad, while 37% rated it good or very good. Most people (46%) were neutral or unsure about their future performance.
  • The most mentioned factors to recent performance were abundance of catch (36% of respondents), operating costs (30%), the price of catch (25%) and access to labour (20%). Abundance and price of catch were seen as positive influences by most respondents, while operating costs and access to labour were seen as negative.

Labour continues to be a pressing issue for the UK fleet and the 2023 survey included a specific question on access to skilled labour, including UK and foreign crew.

Nearly half of respondents reported that this issue did not apply to them as they were single-handed vessels but among the remaining 201 people interviewed, 71% rated their access to skilled labour as bad or very bad. A tenth of respondents reported being negatively affected by changes to the transit visa regulations.

In general, 2023 findings suggest a slight improvement in vessel owners’ and skippers’ moods about their business performance.

How to get involved:

The schedule of when researchers are visiting areas across the UK is available on the Seafish website at Vessel owners can look out for researchers in ports and harbours across the summer.

Those who want to pre-arrange an appointment to take part in the surveys can email [email protected] If you have questions about the survey or enquiries about how industry estimates could be used to support your business, please contact the fleet survey team on [email protected] or 07966 764150.

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The King celebrates tech giant Sony’s 50th year in Wales



SONY UK TEC welcomed The King to its state-of-the-art facility in Pencoed to mark 30 years at the site and its 50th anniversary in Wales.

His Majesty was welcomed by the site’s Managing Director, Rob Wilson, as well as key representatives from Sony including President and CEO of Sony Corporation, Kimio Maki; Senior Executive Vice President of Sony Group Corporation, Kazushi Ambe; President of Sony Europe B.V., Masashi Takiguchi and Aki Matsuzawa, CFO of Sony Europe B.V.

As the longest-standing Japanese manufacturer in Wales, the visit marked five decades of Sony in Wales, after The King, as the Prince of Wales, played an instrumental role in encouraging the global company to invest in Wales in the early 1970s, going on to officially open the company’s first site in Bridgend in 1974.

During his visit to the site, His Majesty was taken on a tour of the 20,000 m2 state-of-the art facility and shown how the site’s commitment to innovation, community and excellence in manufacturing and technology has developed in the 50 years it has been present in Wales.

He met some of the site’s 600-strong team and was shown its world-renowned manufacturing processes and third-party manufacturing businesses.,

His Majesty also completed the 30,000th High-Definition Camera unit produced by the site, celebrating yet another proud milestone for Sony and Welsh manufacturing.

The Sony journey in Wales began in 1974 in Bridgend. The site commenced manufacturing Colour Televisions, inspired by conversations between His Majesty and Co-Founder of Sony, Akio Morita (KBE) during a visit to Japan.

In 1993, Sony Pencoed was opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and it now produces professional Sony HD and 4K broadcast equipment for customers worldwide.

Repatriating Raspberry Pi manufacturing in 2012 invigorated the local economy and generated hundreds of job opportunities. To date, the facility has produced 50 million Raspberry Pi units and currently serves several other third-party clients with its contract manufacturing capabilities. 

Over the decades, Sony UK TEC has grown and adapted to the dynamic manufacturing and technology landscape, evolving into a hub for cutting-edge manufacturing. The site has won numerous prestigious awards, including several Queen’s Awards for Export and Environment, Britain’s Best Factory Award, two national Make UK awards for Developing Future Talent and Innovation, and most recently, the Green Dragon Environmental Standard Level 5 Award.

Through the Sony Wales Academy, launched onsite in 2014, the company integrates apprentices, graduates, and learners into its workforce while engaging thousands of pupils through its school visit programme. These initiatives have successfully integrated 55 Higher Apprentices and 36 Graduates and supported 56 Sony learners in their pursuit of higher education. Its school visit programme has captivated over 31,000 primary and secondary students to date.

Notably, all procured electricity is green and renewable. Additionally, its on-site environmental centre hosts nine colonies of honeybees, with volunteer staff trained in beekeeping by Bridgend Beekeepers. Honey produced by the hives is sold in the staff restaurant, with proceeds donated to local charities.

The King’s visit to Sony UK TEC to celebrate its significant 50 and 30-year milestones is just one of the company’s celebrations during its anniversary year. Other celebrations include its annual long service awards, recognising team players who have accumulated over 1,100 years of dedicated service, a team-building day for its 600 staff where they collaboratively created a commemorative 50/30 piece to display onsite, and a family day for employees paying homage to the site’s Welsh and Japanese heritage.

Managing Director of Sony UK TEC, Rob Wilson commented told Herald.Wales: “We are now in our 50th year of Sony in Wales. It is a true honour and a privilege to have The King on site to join in with our celebrations, having played such an instrumental role in our journey. We are also honoured to welcome esteemed members of the Sony global leadership team for this special event.

“I am incredibly proud of our achievements, which are a testament to the dedication and hard work of our exceptional team. Our journey has been one of innovation and collaboration, supported by the wider Sony family. Having been with the company since 1989, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable growth and transformation of our Pencoed facility. While we celebrate our milestones, we remain committed to reaching new heights and are deeply grateful for the unwavering support of our customers, partners, and suppliers.”

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Why Quality Construction Tools and Equipment Matter



As the construction industry continues to rally in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, more and more firms are starting to crop up – from smaller domestic renovating crews to larger-scale commercial-construction heavyweights. Though there is a lot separating different contracting teams and construction companies, there are some key fundaments that they all share, and some key truths for them to bear in mind.

One such truth relates to the importance of quality equipment in the carrying-out of a given project. Whether extending a kitchen or raising a high-rise, high-quality equipment can be the difference between various iterations of failure and the singularity of success. Here, we’ll examine some of the key reasons for which this is the case, from personal safety to cost-effectiveness.

Enhanced Site Safety

The primary reason for which quality tools are a key provision on construction sites is safety. Cheaper tools may help the short-term bottom-line for a given project, but they are much more dangerous than their higher-quality counterparts, being more likely to become faulty in a potentially-dangerous way. Cheap or old power tools run the risk of failing electrically, while well-used or inexpensive hand tools risk shattering under pressure or strain.

Boosting Productivity

Quality tools are also inherently better at their tasks than cheaper, mass-produced fare. Higher-quality wood-cutting tools can make short work of cutting material down to size, more so than less-expensive equivalents which can often be blunt and ineffective. This higher effectiveness makes for a more productive construction site, as more work is done per man-hour.

Long-Term Cost Savings

This productivity has short-term cost benefits, saving labour costs and potentially even reducing material costs – lower-quality tools can increase the risk of damage being done to materials, causing additional wastage and raising costs as a result –, but the real cost benefits stretch out into the long term.

For one, the improved productivity created by better equipment stacks across projects and over time. For another, higher-quality equipment needs replacing fewer times than cheaper equipment, which is more prone to premature breakage and failure; the old saying ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ holds fast here. Of course, equipment needs maintaining regularly in order to operate optimally, but the cost of such maintenance is far lower than the cumulative costs of dealing with cheaper tools.

Regulations and Compliance

Lastly, we come to the most pragmatic reason for which investment in quality tools and equipment is necessary: regulatory requirements. Building regulations are there to keep us safe, as are health and safety laws. There are requirements in both, with which construction companies and sites must be compliant – and some of which relate to tools and equipment.

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