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Port Authority ‘very keen’ for vets to stay

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Part of the plan: All Pets Vets

Part of the plan: All Pets Vets

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Milford Haven Port Authority has said that he is ‘very keen’ for the All Pets Vet Care store to stay in the Milford Haven port family. On Monday Alec Don spoke to members of Milford Haven Town Council to give them an update on the Milford Docks masterplan. He also talked about how the plans will affect the town and buildings such as the Torch Theatre.

He said: “We want to create an overall environment that is attractive, combining both the old and the new. What the consultation told us was that the centre of the site should actually be much more up around the top end of the dock between Havens Head and the station and the centre of the town, Charles Street with routes of walking in and out through the various locations to make the site work for open access and drawing people in and making it a pleasant place to visit.

There was quite a lot of thinking in the consultation that went in to where these different bits essentially go. The point about the whole development is Milford Dock presents an opportunity to create something that’s really got some heavy degree of critical mass. The construction of these buildings won’t be sustained unless they are successful in attracting lots of people to Milford Haven to do their shopping.” The Port Authority’s Estate Director, Jeff Teague, then spoke about the Heritage study they had done and supporting the fishing industry. He said: “Inevitably, sadly, there is going to be a compromise.

We have been asked to provide an improved access into the Docks to cater for the new development and we went through nine or ten different alternatives and the only acceptable alternative to the highways people was one that involved moving the old Docks office, the Vets practice. We are certainly not proud of this and we’re doing everything we can to work with the vet at moment to find alternative premises. The plan is to move that building approximately 50 meters south towards the Quayside and replicate it so we retain all the existing features and put it into another building that will have another use. We need to find reasons why people want to come to Milford Haven, that’s the most important thing.

Most of the surveys we have undertaken so far say the reason why people don’t visit Milford Haven is the lack of offer. We are not going to create something that competes with anything else here in Milford. We don’t want to compete with Haverfordwest. We want to create something different.” He added: “It is optimistic, it’s challenging but without the support of you people it would be nigh-on impossible so our message to you today is please support this project”. Alec Don added: “This scheme will not work without having some revised entrance arrangements and it’s not something just invented by Milford Haven Port. To mitigate the impact we have basically said to the Vets practice: we will help to build, they have aspirations including more training facilities. I recognise they have poured their own money and their heart and soul into it and it seems like a complete tragedy to do anything with it but our mission is to put them into a building that meets their future aspirations.” Alec Don then spoke about the Torch Theatre saying: “Milford Haven has a presence in the world of performing arts. We are a huge supporter of it and we want it to continue to thrive and flourish.

We said to them that cinemas and performing arts are going to be part of what attracts people to Milford Haven and the question for you is not whether there is going to be another cinema in Milford Haven or not in addition to the Torch but whether there is going to be an additional cinema complex in Pembrokeshire. I think the Torch has an incredibly important role to play in terms of doing for Milford Haven what the Haywood festival does for Hay-on- Wye. Every part of Milford Dock is something that really plays to attract people to Milford Haven from further afield. You can see we have aspirations for Milford Dock to deliver something really good for Milford Haven and we very much hope you would support us.”

When questioned by Cllr Rhys Sinnett about the Torch Theatre Alec Don said: “We will be writing to the council to say we do not intend to do anything with the core standings of the Torch. We are a supporter of the Torch but it is a little bit early to come to a conclusion about what the leisure use should be. If the Torch does not want to play ball then we will respect that but that dialogue has got to continue. What we want is as Milford Haven Port is something which draws the Torch’s expertise into projecting Milford Haven way beyond the boundary of Swansea.” Cllr Rickard then asked about the timescale period and public transport facilities.

Jeff Teague responded saying: “A project like this could easily take five years to complete. We’ve looked at all transport links; one of the important things is to bring a new bus route all the way through the Docks and out again adding to the existing services.” Cllr Byrne said: “One of the things I don’t want this to do is take away from Charles Street and I wish you can get together with Charles Street and work something out.” We also asked about the highways issue and Jeff Teague responded: “We had certain requirements placed upon us to create an access with sufficient capacity in terms of the volume of cars travelling per day. This is the only one that actually satisfied the requirements of the highways officer – we’re desperately disappointed by it.” With regards to Charles Street Jeff Teague said: “Charles Street has a problem like other high street in the UK where there has been a migration of retail but inevitably old buildings get left behind and my view is that a lot of new brands won’t go into old premises.

We are trying to add to the retail offer in Milford Haven and not compete with it.” Cllr Joseph asked about All Pets Vet Care said to which Alec Don replied: “There is some interest in looking at the plans to see if they can get more of what they want. It’s a fantastic facility inside, it’s clean, and it’s attracting serious people who are committed to the ownership of their animals. It’s exactly the sort of business we want populating Milford Haven so we are very, very keen for the vets to stay in the Milford Haven Port family.” Cllr Eden said: “In relation to the Docks offices – this is a listed building and a part of the town’s heritage. We’ve lost a number of buildings and I can honestly say I don’t agree 100% with the improvements.” Alec Don replied: “That building is the one, the potential entrance is what they have said has to be delivered so I really can’t change that. The building is going to be moved and rebuilt 50 yards across the road and it will have a use as a core part of the marine operation.” He concluded by saying: “It is really important that the scheme does have the support of Milford Haven Town Council.”

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Alerts issued ahead of Storm Brian

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NATURAL RESOURCE WALES (NRW) is warning people that parts of the Welsh coast could see localised flooding as Storm Brian combines with high tides this evening and tomorrow.

The conditions could cause a storm surge, which in some areas could lead to overtopping of sea defences. Current predictions show that the worst affected areas are likely to be along exposed sections of the west coast of Wales from Southern Gwynedd to Llantwit Major.

High tides in these locations are expected to peak between 6am and 11am tomorrow (Oct 21).

NRW has already issued a number of flood alerts for the west coast, and is likely to issue flood warnings for Aberystwyth and Newgale later today. Further alerts or warnings for other areas will be issued as necessary.

24/7 Emergency response workers from NRW will be out at key areas of the coast over the next couple of day to monitor the high tides and condition of its sea flood defences.

NRW has also contacted its partner agencies such as local councils and the emergency services to ensure that appropriate responses are in place should the need arise.

Richard Hancox, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Conditions across the coastline are likely to be extremely dangerous this weekend and we urge people to stay clear, and avoid visiting the coast during this time.

“We know people are tempted to try and take photos of these storms, but it really isn’t worth putting your life at risk. Sea spray and flood water can knock you off your feet easier than you might think, and the large waves can send debris flying onto shore.

“If anyone is concerned about the risk of flooding to their home, please check to see if flood warnings are available in your area, and visit our website for advice on how best to prepare.”

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes.

Information and updates are also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188. People can also register for free flood warnings either by calling the Floodline number or at NRW’s website.

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​Major bequests for Aber research ​

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TWO major legacies to support postgraduate research have been announced at Aberystwyth University’s Founders’ Day held in the Old College on October 13.

The University revealed that Eleanor and David James had donated £2m to the institution where they both worked for 35 years, while former student Margaret Wooloff has bequeathed £400,000.

Both bequests will be used to fund postgraduate research at the University, in line with the wishes of the benefactors.

The legacies were announced as part of the University’s now annual Founders’ event, which echoes the celebrations held in the town back in October 1872 when the first students arrived at Old College.

The Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “It is extremely fitting that these very special bequests have been the focal point of this year’s Founders’ Day event. They remind us how the University has been supported since its early beginnings by the generosity of the people of Wales and the wider world.

“Eleanor and David James, and Margaret Wooloff all dedicated their lives to the furtherance of knowledge and their valuable contributions to education in Wales will live on in their legacies. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, Louise Jagger, said: “There is a very strong bond between the University and our family of alumni across the world. Eleanor and David James and Margaret Wooloff were all active members of the Old Students’ Association during their lives and we are immensely grateful to them for their support over the years. Their generous legacies will now enable the scholars of the future to pursue their particular fields of expertise and undertake research with impact, which is integral to our mission as a leading University.”

Members of the local community joined staff and students at the Old College to mark Founders’ Day.

The guest speaker at the event was Ceredigion MP Ben Lake who said: “The story of how Aberystwyth University – or the University College of Wales as it was originally called – is one in which we can all take pride as a nation. Driven by the vision of its founders, the dream of establishing a college with University status in Wales was made possible thanks to the generosity of ordinary people. The roots and foundations of the University reflect our values in Wales and it is vitally important that we commemorate and celebrate this very special heritage.

“May I take this opportunity to congratulate Aberystwyth on being named recently as the University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Good University Guide – a well deserved accolade which is testament to the dedication of all its staff.”

In July 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it had earmarked £10.5m for ambitious plans to redevelop Old College in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

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Driving Wales to international skills success

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AS SKILLS CHAMPION for Wales, Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion principal Barry Liles is at the forefront of aspiring young people to develop high quality, world-class skills.

The vehicle used to drive this ambition are skills competitions, which are held on a Welsh, UK and international level.

Competitions in Wales begin with regional Welsh Government supported competitions which are events that culminate to find Wales’ top competitors who progress to take part in UKSkills national and WorldSkills international events.

This year, 36 competitors from the UK are competing at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, four of which are from Wales, two of which represent Coleg Sir Gâr, which is an impressive percentage of UK representation. These competitors have undergone a rigorous training process by WorldSkills UK, supported by training providers and employers.

Coleg Sir Gâr students have been selected for Team UK since 2009 when carpentry student Cliff Williams made the team in 2009 competing in WorldSkills Calgary. He was followed by web designer David Bowen who competed for in WorldSkills London, 2011. Carpenter Gareth Jones won gold in EuroSkills in 2012 followed by Simon McCall and Eleni Constantinou who won two silvers at EuroSkills in 2014 for hairdressing and carpentry with Eleni progressing to represent the UK and Coleg Sir Gâr in hairdressing at WorldSkills, Sao Paulo in 2015.

Last year, the college was ranked joint third place in the UK for its medal success in the Skills Show – the UK final, for achieving three golds, one silver and one bronze award. The show, held at Birmingham’s NEC every year, brings together medal winners from all nations to compete and showcase their skills and to hopefully continue their journey to the international arena, representing the UK in Worldskills which brings over 50 competing countries together and is likened to the Olympic games.

Barry Liles, Skills Champion for Wales said: “To have an impact on the economy and raise Wales and UK’s GVA, we must raise the skills of the UK population and we’re trying to do this from a young age and we’re significantly targeting industries that are important to Wales’ economy.

“The anticipated result is hoped to impact on young people and help them raise their ambitions and to find highly skilled work.”

In Wales, to help achieve this ambition, is a Welsh-Government funded project called Inspiring Skills Excellence (ISE), which is providing a supportive infrastructure to enable competitors from Wales to achieve success at national and international level.

“Much of our work is supporting competitors across Wales in their participation, training and mentoring to help them achieve excellence in skills relevant to economic growth and delivering medal winning success at national and international competitions,” said Paul Evans, ISE pan-coordinator for Wales.

“Using state of the art equipment we also engage with schools, providing hands-on and exciting experiences for young people to raise awareness of careers and the pathways available to them.”

Barry Liles added: “Being Skills Champion for Wales is a long-held ambition perhaps because I came from a vocational engineering background, I am very passionate about it.

“Industry skills are vital in our economy and I don’t want Wales to be left behind, in fact in the last seven years we have helped drive the nation forward to being one of the leading and successful nations in UK skills competitions.”

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