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Town Teams ‘important to the future’

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Town Teams: Is this the future?

Town Teams: Is this the future?

A RECENT campaign was launched to breathe new life and vitality into Britain’s local shopping high streets. ‘Support Your High Street’ took place at the end of September with the aim of encouraging businesses and organisations, including local government, to support the idea of shopping ‘locally’ in town, village and city high streets, rather than just using out-of-town retail parks.

On September 18, Pembrokeshire’s County Council released a Town Centre Regeneration annual report, via its Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The report focussed heavily on ‘Town Teams’ as part of this regeneration programme. As the report states, Town Teams are partnerships comprising the local business community, town councils and local interest groups along with the County Council, and have been established in six of our county towns: Haverfordwest, Fishguard and Goodwick, Milford Haven, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby. Each Town Team is to produce their own action plan. On the subject of Town Team funding the report states, ‘Match funding has been generated via Town Councils and Chambers of Trade with a number of the Town Councils setting funding aside within their own precepts.

Match funding in 2013/14 was generated in three of the six towns (Fishguard, Haverfordwest and Pembroke). Match funding in kind/cash contributions is requested on a project by project basis.’ It further states where the responsibility for Town Team management lies, defining the County Council’s role as one which is to facilitate and enable the Town Teams to work under their own direction and progress with implementing their action plans, with appropriate support from the County Council. Local Pembrokeshire politicians were keen to have their say on this continued initiative to regenerate our County’s struggling towns.

Simon Hart, MP for South Pembrokeshire said: “These schemes are good news for the towns in question, and I am glad that progress is being made. I hope the council will look carefully at areas that are under occupied, such as Pembroke Dock, and provide additional assistance wherever possible. As ever with these schemes, it is action, rather than words, that really matter.” Speaking to The Herald Delyth Evans, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire, stated: “The idea of Town Teams is a very good one. I particularly welcome the involvement of local businesses because they are so important to the future of our towns and they usually know what kind of improvements are necessary to help to attract visitors and customers.

I hope the trend towards out of town shopping has stopped. We should be encouraging people to shop in their local high street and spend their money on local produce and goods. My main concern is that there must be proper financial control and scrutiny of all money spent on improvement schemes, so that the recent misuse of a regeneration grant in Pembroke Dock doesn’t happen again. Complete transparency and rigorous auditing is therefore essential to ensure taxpayers’ money is well spent. Overall the Town Teams have made a good start and I would like to thank those involved for giving up their time and energy to improve their local community.”

Local Councillor for Wiston, and leader of the Conservative group on PCC, David Howlett commented: “Talking to business owners, business rates are a huge expense and although the Welsh Government have introduced some initiatives, I believe they should be going much further in taking far more businesses out of business rates altogether. We should be encouraging entrepreneurs that in turn would help our High Streets. Reduced amounts paid in Business Rates would greatly help this. Another policy I would like to see adopted is that some of the proceeds of council tax are retained by the Local Authority to spend in a way that they think will help regenerate town centres, rather than at present all the proceeds going to the Welsh Government. This would allow local initiatives that would hopefully help local high streets. This policy is already taking place in England, and I would like to see the Welsh Government follow suit.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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