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County flooding chaos follows ‘biblical’ storm

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storm special 15GALE FORCE winds coupled with unusually high tides have caused widespread flooding along the mid and West Wales coast in the past week.

Areas of Fishguard, Cardigan, Aberaeron, Amroth and Laugharne have all been affected.

Dyfed-Powys Police posted on Twitter that it had closed a number of roads in Amroth, Newgale, Aberystwyth and Borth. Drivers were also advised to avoid coastal areas and told not to attempt driving through flood water.

Rebecca Evans AM has welcomed the news that Minister for Natural Resources, Alun Davies AM, has ordered a review into the recent flooding.

Mrs Evans said: “I wrote to the minister on Saturday asking how the Welsh Government intends to review the recent flooding, so I am pleased that

the minister has responded so quickly by announcing that he has asked Natural Resources Wales to carry out a swift review with the immediate priority being to identify and assess any damage so that repair work can be prioritised.”

Mrs Evans continued: “My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the flooding. I am grateful to the staff of Natural Resources Wales, local authority staff, and the emergency services across the region for the way in which they have sought to prepare for the flooding, and keep everyone informed and safe during what has been a very tough few days for people living in coastal areas.

“I am also grateful to the many community groups, volunteers and good neighbours who have pulled together to offer shelter and assistance to residents and business owners affected by flooding along the mid and West Wales coast.”

“It is important that repair work is completed as soon as possible, before the start of the main tourist season in the spring.”

storm special 10AM Joyce Watson met with Fishguard residents and Pembrokeshire Council’s chief highways officer to discuss the on going situation this week. Councillor Pat Davies took Mrs Watson to the worst affected area of Lower Fishguard to speak to residents.

Mrs Watson said: “Mr Randal Davies, of Bridge Street, said it is the worst flooding he has seen in 47 years.

“In Quay Street, Mr and Mrs Jackson told us it is the worst storm for 63 years. Their house was flooded and Mrs Jackson, who relies on her stair lift, was stranded upstairs when the electricity was knocked out. Thankfully, the fire service and local contractors responded quickly, and the heating and power is back on.

“It is heartening that neighbours are rallying to help and support each other – strong community spirit makes all the difference at a time like this.”

On Tuesday, a specialist team from Natural Resources Wales started work at Newgale Beach, to clear the Brandy Brook from sand and shingle, which has completely blocked the brook following days of extremely high tides.

THE WORK was in conjunction with Pembrokeshire County Council, who has also started work to clear the coastal road at Newgale, which has been closed since last Friday after waves left rocks and debris blocking access.

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Natural Resources Wales teams are also continuing work to clear large volumes of shingle and debris from the Tresilley Stream on Amroth Beach.

The Royal Voluntary Service has also asked members of the public to call on their older friends, family and neighbours to check that they are safe and have everything they need.

David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Severe weather can have a devastating effect on the health and safety of older people, so it’s vital that friends, family and neighbours check in on older people in their town and offer to help where they can. Simple things like making sure older people have enough food in the house and offering someone a lift to a doctor’s appointment or to the shops can make a huge difference during the inclement weather.”

Royal Voluntary Service volunteers will continue to provide services in the local area through the bad weather, as well as assisting the emergency services team by offering refreshments and comfort to people affected by the storms, floods and power cuts.

Woman rescued from swollen river

A YOUNG woman had to be rescued from a river in the early hours of the morning on Thursday, January 9.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service were called to rescue the woman from Freeman’s Way near the County Hall Offices at around 1.14am. It comes as the Met Office put out another weather warning for most of Wales following more heavy rain.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 1.09am to an incident near County Hall, Haverfordwest.

“An emergency ambulance was dispatched to the scene, and a woman in her 20s was taken to Withybush General Hospital.”

Charity issues urgent warning following extreme weather

THE ELECTRICAL SAFETY Council is issuing a warning in Pembrokeshire following extreme weather conditions that has led to flooding in many areas. The charity is urging all residents whose homes have been affected by high water levels to take care when cleaning up, especially around electricity which can cause further damage or put people at risk. Water and electricity can be a lethal combination, and with more rain on its way the Electrical Safety Council wants all homeowners to be aware of the risks of combining the two. Wiring and electrical appliances that have been affected by water can at best stop working and at worst cause an electric shock.

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“When faced with flooding damage it can be tempting to jump straight in as it’s natural to want things back to normal as quickly as possible”, explains Penny Walshe from the Electrical Safety Council, “but it is important to make sure your home is electrically safe before you do anything else.

“If the water damage to electrics is relatively minor and caused by clean water, i.e. from a burst water pipe or tank, then the cables will need to be dried and affected electrical accessories such as sockets, switches and plugs will need to be replaced. But if there is major flooding damage caused by contaminated water, i.e. sewage, then there is a chance that affected parts of the house will need to be rewired. Take a step back and call in a registered electrician to assess the damage before you try and fix anything else.”

The Electrical Safety Council is urging homeowners affected by floods to follow these top tips to deal with the damage quickly and safely:

  • Don’t touch any sources of electricity – such as switches or appliances – when standing in flood water.
  • Ask your supplier to turn off your electricity and don’t turn it back on until it is safe to do so.
  • Make sure all electrical equipment affected by flood water has been checked by an electrician before you use it again.
  • Ask a registered electrician to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)* to check the condition of electrical wiring in your home.
  • If your home needs to be rewired, ask about raising the height of newly installed electrical equipment above any future expected flood level.

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Theatre companies show COVID resilience

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Over four decades ago, rural west Wales was at the centre of the greatest drugs bust in history. The police investigation, Operation Julie, resulted in dozens of arrests and the discovery of LSD worth £100 million. A brand-new musical play from Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre explores the story from both sides of the drugs divide – the police, and the hippies who settled in Ceredigion hoping to spread their ideals in a changing world.

This summer, Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre were due to launch an ambitious co-production for audiences in Aberystwyth. Operation Julie was to be a stage play packed with music, drama and comedy, telling the extraordinary story of what happened in and around west Wales in the mid-1970s when hippies settled in the area seeking a new way of living fuelled by acid and an alternative attitude. When a chance clue is discovered following a car accident, the local constabulary works with detectives from across Britain to uncover what turns out to be the biggest stash of acid ever found, taking out up to 60% of the world’s LSD market at that time.

When the coronavirus pandemic struck it became clear it would be impossible to open Operation Julie to live audiences at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in August and na nÓg and the arts centre made the decision to postpone its premiere until next spring.

Although a huge disappointment for both companies, they quickly decided to make the best of a bad situation, as Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s director Dafydd Rhys explains: “Though we’d prefer to be going into production now, that is no longer an option due to Covid – but it does allow the wonderful cast and team of creatives to get together to do some invaluable research and development work on the script, the characters and the music.”

Due to the continuing lockdown restrictions, writer-director Geinor Styles explains how they went about the R&D activity whilst being unable to physically rehearse together.

“I’m not a director that sits and pours over the script,” Styles says. “I like to get people up on their feet and moving. I believe I can solve things editorially whilst directing. This is probably the most frustrating thing and a real challenge for me because that is not possible over zoom. However there are advantages, the creatives, designers, sound, AV and lighting have been able to drop into rehearsal or listen in without having to physically be in the room. A real treat for us and them. It feels truly collaborative. Having them exclusively while still developing the script is very rare but such a real bonus.”

Geinor Styles, who has been developing the production since 2014 and believes that, due to COVID that the story has become even more relevant: “I feel as we move through this pandemic, that the story behind Kemp’s acid production and 8000 word micro doctrine, becomes more and more relevant to a planet that is being destroyed by consumerism and capitalism.”

She also feels the Operation Julie story is too important to be delayed. “I was astonished how relevant this story was to us living in a time where the climate was changing at an alarming rate,” she says. “That as a species, we needed to change our ways like the hippies of the ’60s and ’70s – their philosophy of wanting to ‘get back to the garden’. This philosophy was emphasised by our protagonist Richard Kemp, a talented scientist, who moved to Tregaron in the early 70s and created the purest form of LSD. He is the source of the whole story – without Kemp, you do not have Operation Julie.”

Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s version of events tells the story from both sides of the law, with Geinor Styles meeting and interviewing a variety of people from the area and of that time, one of the main acid dealers – Alston ‘Smiles’ Hughes, who was a key part of the LSD chain from his modest home in Llanddewi Brefi – and Lydia Jones, the daughter of the late Detective Sergeant Richie Parry, in the Zoom meetings with cast and crew.

Operation Julie is a musical play, a format favoured by the resilient and forward thinking theatre company, Greg Palmer is Operation Julie’s composer and musical director, working with actor-musicians over video call to create the score: “I’ve never rehearsed a show in this way before. My usual method is to be in the thick of things in the rehearsal room working with the actor-musicians in an organic way. This makes the cast feel part of the creative process. That immediacy is impossible to replicate via Zoom so the whole process becomes slower and more laboured.” This alterantive approach, though, has allowed Palmer to discuss LSD dealer Smiles’ psychedelic musical tastes and the records that influenced him during the period of the play. “I grew up as a teenager in the ’70s and listened to a lot of the music that Smiles et al would have been listening to. Smiles has

referenced a number of bands from that era – Caravan, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan. I’ve been very keen from the beginning of the process to have the sound world of the play reflect those musical trends.”

Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre are confident that this extended development time, will result in a truly memorable production when Operation Julie finally reaches the stage next year.

“Operation Julie will be a popular and important theatre production,” says Dafydd Rhys. “We remain totally committed to this uniquely Welsh tale that had an impact throughout the world. It also has the added bonus that the music will be fantastic! We know the audience will be in for a treat – a really good night of quality, thought provoking and popular theatre.”

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Annual Canvass to go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic

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The 2020 annual canvass is required by law and will continue despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Ceredigion’s Electoral Services are continuing their service, however staff will be working differently due to the coronavirus.

Electoral Registration Officer, Eifion Evans said: “This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.”

If we have sent you a letter that asks you to respond or complete a form, you can help us by replying to it quickly and, online, rather than posting it back to us if possible. This will save Council resources and reduce the number of letters that have to be handled by Council and Royal Mail staff.”

The link to respond is on the first page of the A4 letter you will receive with part 1 and part 2 security codes.

Residents who have any questions can contact Ceredigion’s Electoral Services on 01545 572032.

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CCTV cameras to be installed in Newcastle Emlyn

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Three new cameras are being installed in Newcastle Emlyn as part of the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner’s key pledge to reinvest in a public CCTV system.

The work on the installation programme in the town will begin on Monday, August 10.

Cameras will be cameras installed in Sycamore Street, Emlyn Square and Heol y Bont. The camera locations have been decided following a review of a crime pattern analysis and in consultation with partner agencies.

The work is being carried out by contractors Baydale Control Systems Ltd. The hi-tech cameras are being supplied by Hikvision UK & Ireland.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Brecon is the next town in Powys to benefit from my key election pledge to re-install public space CCTV. This is a busy town, and I am confident the cameras will prove to be a valuable asset in keeping the town safe and assisting with the detection of crime.

“The CCTV project is continuing across the force, with three cameras also installed in Newcastle Emlyn last week. The number of towns we have now included in the CCTV project is 23.

“I am confident the cameras will prove to be a valuable asset in keeping these towns safe and assisting with the detection of crime.”

Ceredigion Commander, Superintendent Robyn Mason, said: “This is a positive move for Newcastle Emlyn. Having the cameras in place while we experience an increase in visitors to the area during the holiday period will help us to keep everyone as safe as possible and assist us in carrying out quality investigations when required.”

The CCTV project is bringing over 120 state of the art CCTV cameras to towns throughout the police force area of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys.

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