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New Fire Station opened in Aberystwyth

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(L-R): Arwel James, Ceredigion Response Manager; Mick Crennell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Cllr Janice Dudley, Fire Authority Chair; Cllr Paul James, Ceredigion Fire Authority Member; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Chris Davies MBA, Chief Fire Officer; Robert Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer

(L-R): Arwel James, Ceredigion Response Manager; Mick Crennell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Cllr Janice Dudley, Fire Authority Chair; Cllr Paul James, Ceredigion Fire Authority Member; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Chris Davies MBA, Chief Fire Officer; Robert Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer

ON THURSDAY, October 13, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) hosted the official opening of its brand new Community Fire Station in Aberystwyth.

The Fire Station was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM and attended by MAWWFRS Chief Fire Officer Chris Davies MBA; Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mick Crennell; Assistant Chief Officer Elizabeth Aitken; Assistant Chief Fire Officer Robert Quin; MAWWFRS Authority Chair Janice Dudley; Elin Jones AM; Mark Williams MP; Brendon Sommers, Mayor of Aberystwyth; Miss Bronwen Morgan, Chief Executive of Aberystwyth County Council and Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council.

The station crew and dignitaries were treated to a performance by a joint choir of pupils from Plascrug Community School and Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth.

Winners of a local art competition for primary school pupils were also present, as the winning works are displayed in the new Community Fire Station. These pupils represented Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, St Padarn’s Catholic Primary School, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth and Plascrug Community School.

The state of the art development, undertaken by Carmarthenshire developers WRW Group, is located on the former station’s ground at Penparcau Road, Trefechan. The new two-story building incorporates three fire appliance bays, office accommodation for Ceredigion County Command, as well as community facilities, including a cafe, which will be open to the public.

Building work on the new £1.6 million Community Fire Station in Aberystwyth commenced in July 2015 and the station temporarily relocated to the TA Centre on Park Avenue for the duration of the building works.

The brand new facility boasts many pioneering qualities, which includes being built to a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, said: “I am pleased that the Authority has involved the community in designing, constructing and operating the station. This approach has involved pupils from local schools and students from Aberystwyth University and Coleg Ceredigion as well as providing valuable work to local contractors.

“Our firefighters undertake difficult and sometimes dangerous work and deserve the best possible facilities and support. This state-of-the-art facility certainly meets those standards. It will also mean firefighters can keep in close touch with the communities they serve and protect. This will help keep local people safe from fires and other hazards.”

Chris Davies, MAWWFRS Chief Fire Officer, said: “Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to deliver this brand new facility to the community of Aberystwyth.

“This innovative Fire Station reflects the evolving role that the Fire and Rescue Service plays in emergency response and community safety work.

“Incorporating three fire appliance bays, Ceredigion County Command offices, a Blood Bike base and a community cafe, this Fire Station truly is a community resource fit for the 21st century and able to adapt to the challenges of the future.

“It was a pleasure to hear the children’s choir sing at the opening and a privilege to welcome students from Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth, Plascrug Community School and St Padarn’s Primary School, who have their art work displayed at the new station, here today.

“We are grateful to the TA Centre for accommodating the temporary station whilst the building of the new station took place.”

Jon Williams, Business Development Director for WRW, said: “We have enjoyed bringing our own expertise to the fore to help realise the potential of the scheme. Now operational, we hope the facility goes on to become a cornerstone of the community and that it allows MAWWFRS to continue its excellent service provision for the locality.”

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Ceredigion dog breeder fined for failing to comply with dog breeding licence

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A CROWN COURT has upheld a conviction that the dogs under the care of Mr. Jones were kept in overcrowded conditions in contravention of the minimum space standards required by the license conditions.

Other convictions were overturned.

On 27 November 2020, and 22December 2020, the Crown Court heard an appeal by Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones, of Dorwan Kennels, Penrheol, Talsarn, relating to convictions for failing to comply with dog breeding licence conditions. 

Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones had previously been convicted at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court of running a licenced dog breeding establishment far in access of the number allowed on his licence and that the dogs in his care were kept in overcrowded conditions.

The Court heard evidence that Mr Dorian Wyn Jones had been granted a licence for 33 dogs. However, during a visit undertaken by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers on the 07 August 2019, they found 91 dogs at the premises excluding puppies, in breach of his license. The dogs were kept in pens of a size that were inadequate for the number of dogs kept within them.

On 9 February 2021, Dorian Jones was fined £1000 for the overcrowding offence, and ordered to pay legal costs amounting to £2500. 

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Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged 99

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The Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ for 73 years, has died aged 99.

Prince Philip’s health had been slowly deteriorating for some time. He announced he was stepping down from royal engagements in May 2017, joking that he could no longer stand up. He made a final official public appearance later that year during a Royal Marines parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Since then, he was rarely seen in public, spending most of his time on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, though moving to be with her at Windsor Castle during the lockdown periods throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and where the couple quietly celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November 2020. He also celebrated his 99th birthday in lockdown at Windsor Castle.

The duke spent four nights at King Edward VII hospital in London before Christmas 2019 for observation and treatment in relation to a “pre-existing condition”.

Despite having hip surgery in April 2018, he attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a month later and was seen sitting beside the Queen at a polo match at Windsor Great Park in June. He and the Queen missed Prince Louis of Cambridge’s christening in July 2018, but he was seen attending Crathie Kirk near Balmoral in August, and driving his Land Rover in the surrounding Scottish countryside in September.

It is expected that flags on landmark buildings in Britain will be lowered to half-mast as a period of mourning is announced.

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has expressed his sadness on the news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and offered condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family on behalf of the Welsh Government.

He said: “It is with sadness that we mourn the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout his long and distinguished life, he served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit.

We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, his children and their families on this sad occasion.

He will be missed by the many organisations that he supported as Patron or President over many decades of service”.Andrew RT Davies, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, has led tributes to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose death was announced today.

In light of the sad news from Buckingham Palace, campaigning has been paused with immediate effect.

Mr Davies said: “This is a very sad day for the United Kingdom.
“The Duke of Edinburgh led a remarkable life, excelled himself with his career in the Royal Navy, was the strength and stay to Her Majesty The Queen, and has left a legacy to the nation through the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“Dutiful, devoted, and diligent, his like will never be seen again, and Welsh Conservatives offer their deepest condolences to The Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family.”

Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I send my condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Many young people in Wales will have benefited from the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, a reflection of many decades of his public service. Thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

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Elin Jones calls for a plan to revive Aberystwyth town centre

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AS NON-ESSENTIAL retail re-opens on April 12, many of larger shops in Aberystwyth town centre will not be re-opening, with head offices scaling back on their presence on high streets across the UK.

In Aberystwyth, their absence will be particularly obvious with many of these retailers being located along Great Darkgate Street. Multiple retailers such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Clinton Cards, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, M&Co and Lloyds Pharmacy will not be reopening leaving a large proportion of empty properties.

These closures are in stark contrast to many independent retailers on Aberystwyth’s other streets looking to expand or start.

Commenting on this issue, Elin Jones said: “It’s time for a major rethink for Aberystwyth’s Great Darkgate Street.

“The multiple larger retailers are turning their back on our town centre and now we need to re-focus these large premises in order to make them more attractive and accessible to independent, local businesses. There have been smaller independent shops opening along other streets in Aberystwyth and throughout Ceredigion, so there is definitely businesses who could be persuaded to have a presence on the high street.

‘It would be great to see a partnership effort in the town to persuade the absentee landlords to give rent-free start up opportunities, to re-purpose the larger premises to suit smaller businesses and to ensure the buildings look attractive on the street.

‘Welsh Government has confirmed that no rates will need to be paid for this whole financial year and therefore now is a great opportunity to support small local businesses to reclaim their place on Great Darkgate Street.

‘It is the town’s largest street and needs to be a star attraction in Ceredigion.’

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