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Tenby: Mayor calls for review of pedestrianisation scheme

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THE MAYOR of Tenby has called for an urgent review of the town’s summer pedestrianisation initiative, after citing failings that have occurred with the scheme over the 2017 holiday season.

The rules prohibits unauthorised vehicles from entering the town walls between 11am and 5.30pm during the summer, with restrictions in force from July 10 until last Friday (Sept 8), which coincides with the school summer holidays.

The local authority initiated the ban as a trial 2002 and then there was a public consultation in 2006, which was called for by campaigners living within the town’s walls.

Speaking at last Tuesday night’s (Sept 5) meeting of Tenby Town Council, Mayor Cllr. Sue Lane, said that a review of the scheme was needed.

“Now we do not have a town bus, anybody who is not too good on their feet can’t come in!” she said.

“When the scheme was first started, Pembrokeshire County Council had the Park and Ride scheme running to help people into town who had problems with mobility, but now, due to budget cuts and the ‘park and ride’ scheme no longer running as it was, people with ‘blue badges’ living within the town walls now themselves struggle to get in and out.

“These were conditions in place when the scheme started to help look after residents and visitors. People living within the town with ‘blue badges’ were assured they wouldn’t suffer, but it’s no longer working and people can’t get down to areas such as the harbour.

“The county council either have to reinstate the ‘park and ride’ buses, or look at the scheme again, as it can’t possibly work without bus access for people, as those with mobility issues shouldn’t be expected to walk that distance.”

Pembrokeshire County Council said in response that the pedestrianisation scheme has run successfully for a number of years now since the pilot scheme in 2005. The scheme was extended in 2015 so that it now runs for the period commencing the Monday following Long Course Weekend to the Friday preceding Ironman Wales.

Over this period, the Authority said the officers involved in co-ordinating the scheme on the ground have worked hard to ensure it runs well.

A spokesman added: “There continues to be a Park and Ride bus operation that runs from the Salterns car park. This operates on a free-basis, funded collaboratively through contributions from the County Council; the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority; Kiln Park (Bourne Leisure); Tenby Town Council and Tenby Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

“The former North beach service was discontinued in 2014 to reduce vehicle movements within the town and for cost efficiency.

“It is already a complex scheme that has an extensive list of journey exemptions.

“We do not prevent the disabled, nor those with mobility problems, accessing the harbour. If a blue badge holder requires access to that area then staff advise that they are permitted access to drop-off or pick-up a person.

“To date, the Council has received very few observations on the operation of the scheme this year.

“Notwithstanding, the Council is receptive to constructive feedback and welcomes the opportunity to work with partners to review the operation and look at improvements where possible.

“We are already in the process of organising a discussion meeting with Tenby Town Council to review the 2017 pedestrianisation scheme.”

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One thousand march to save Withybush Hospital A&E services

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Over 1,000 people marched in Haverfordwest today (June 16) to show their support for the A&E department at Withybush General Hospital.

The protesters marched from Haverfordwest football club, leaving  at 11.30am and made their way via Bridge Street to Castle Square, and then around to the Riverside Shopping Centre, and back to the field behind the football club where a family fun day had been organised.

There were rumours that there would be inclement weather for the protest, but just on cue, the sun came out as the first walkers left the field for what many were describing as a “now or never” attempt to retain services at Withybush.

Conservative politicians joined the march including local MP’s Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb as well as Paul Davies AM. County Councillors and representatives from the Labour party were also at the protest, amongst others.

Stephen Crabb MP told The Herald that all of the University Health Board’s proposals for Withybush Hospital included a “downgrade”, and that this was not acceptable for the people of Pembrokeshire. In a passionate interview with Herald TV he said that today was the day that “local people fight for the services that they deserve.”

Mr Crabb said that he knew that recruitment of staff was a “challenge across the whole of the UK” but the Health Board need to be told they need to do more for Pembrokeshire.

Just before the protest, the admin of the Save Withybush Group on Facebok posted: “Over 22,000 have joined this group and almost 23,000 have signed the petition so we know there is massive support among the people of Pembrokeshire to save our hospital. Now we just need everyone to turn out this Saturday and show Hywel Dda Health Board that we mean business and that they will not get away with closing our A&E or any of the vital services at Withybush.”

Drivers of vehicles honked their horns as they drove past the protest which was led by musicians from the Saint City Jazz Band from St Davids.

Many people told Herald reporters that they felt that the hospital had been “deliberately undermined” ans that uncertainty created by the Health Board themselves in relation to hospital services was having a negative effect on the recruitment of staff.

This large march and fun day is described by organisers as the first stage in a summer of action to fight for services at Withybush Hospital.

Those who have not already done so are urged to fill in the consultation document published by Hywel Dda University Health Board.

  • Photography by Mike Hillen and Aad Oostermeijer.
  • Additional reporting by Matthew Roberts

 

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Pembroke Dock: Dog in black bag found dead in water

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A SHOCKING image of a dead dog which was found in the water at Pembroke Port, wrapped in a black bag, has been sent to The Herald.

The image was sent to us by a local man who pulled the bag out of the water.

Once on the dry land, he realised that tragically the remains of a dog was inside.

The shocking uncensored image is below.

WARNING: Upsetting imagery follows.

A witness at the scene told the Herald that police were called to the scene following the discovery.

The man who made the discovery told us: “The bag was down floating by the tugs, Pembroke Port, it looked like a tent bag at first.

“We pulled it up and took it on the walkway to cut it open – we didn’t know what it was.

“Once it was opened, we could see there were stones inside, and then as we opened it more it was obvious the dog was inside.

“To be honest, it looked like it had been in there a while.”

The man then told us that as he left the scene, a member of the tugboats called the police.

“It’s not nice, horrible to see, not nice at all. It didn’t look like a young dog but you don’t have any idea really with it in that state,” he added.

The Herald has contacted Dyfed-Powys Police for more information.

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Judge halves jail term for man convicted of fraud

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A FIRST CLASS honours graduate who targeted stores in Haverfordwest for fraud will soon be free after senior judges halved his jail term.

Siphosenkosi Hutton Maplanka was jailed for 12 months at Swansea Crown Court on March 22.

The 31-year-old, of Ger Yr Ysgol, Burry Port, near Llanelli, admitted three counts of fraud.

Maplanka targeted Debenhams and Tesco branches on July 12 last year, Judge David Stockdale QC told London’s Appeal Court today.

His mode of operation was to take clothing from displays and put it in a bag and then seek to exchange it.

He would claim to have bought the items previously from another store in the same group.

Using this method, he got Debenhams to refund him £260 and Tesco to shell out £140.

He came unstuck when he returned to Debenhams on July 23 last year and tried to repeat the scam but was recognised by staff.

Maplanka had been before the courts on 13 previous occasions for 22 offences, including 10 frauds, said the judge.

His barrister, John Tarrant, argued that his jail term was far too harsh and should be reduced.

Maplanka’s crimes were not sophisticated, nor the result of significant planning, claimed the barrister.

While he had ‘similar’ previous convictions, they dated back several years – and he had won a first class honours degree since then.

Judge Stockdale, sitting with two other judges, said Maplanka’s crimes were ‘not in our judgment sophisticated’.

The frauds ‘did not require significant planning’ and the loss to the stores was ‘modest’.

Maplanka’s previous convictions were ‘a significant and potent aggravating factor’, said the judge.

But he added: “In view of the absence of offences in the last five years and, allowing for all we have heard and read in mitigation, we do consider the sentence is manifestly excessive.”

Judge Stockdale reduced Maplanka’s jail term from 12 months to six months.

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