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Pembrokeshire Council appoints new Interim Chief

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Pembrokeshire County Council’s Head of Environmental Services and Public Protection, Richard Brown, is the Authority’s Interim Chief Executive.

He was appointed earlier today (Friday, 20th November) at an Extraordinary meeting of the full Council.

Mr Brown was on a shortlist for the final interview by Elected Members along with the Council’s Director of Social Services and Housing, Jonathan Griffiths.

Mr Brown will be in post while the Council continues with the process of recruiting a permanent Chief Executive.

The current Chief Executive, Mr Ian Westley, leaves at the end of this month.

Mr Brown has a career in Public Protection and more recently been leading the County Council’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Born near Stirling in Scotland, he was brought up in North Yorkshire, and, after studying in Newcastle, spent four years with the National Rivers Authority in Northumberland.

In 1992 he joined the Environmental Health department of the former South Pembrokeshire District Council and in 1996 took up a post as Pollution Control Officer with the then newly formed Pembrokeshire County Council.

In 2005 he headed the Authority’s emergency planning team and holds an MSc. in Environmental Risk Management

A keen athlete, Mr Brown is married to Welsh-born Val.

(Lead Image – Richard Brown: Pembrokeshire County Council)

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Haverfordwest

Western Quayside demolition underway

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Demolition work is underway at Western Quayside in Haverfordwest (the former Ocky White building) as part of a major construction project to redevelop the site.

Commenced earlier this year, the project will provide a modern and stylish three-storey development, including a food emporium, bar and roof-top terrace.

The Pembrokeshire County Council scheme incorporates public realm improvements including an attractive waterfront square with space for events which could extend its use into the early evening.

The demolition is due to be finished by mid-December, when works will move on to the installation of the substructure foundations and then onto the steel work installation in the New Year. The project is anticipated to be complete in early 2023.

The scheme is funded by the Welsh Government Transforming Towns programme and the Building for the Future programme through the European Regional Development Fund. The contractors are John Weavers Ltd.  

Rachel Moxey, Head of Economic Development and Regeneration, said the development, combined with its potential for leisure and community use, aimed to encourage greater vitality and resilience within the town centre over time.

“The project is evidence of the Authority’s commitment to support the regeneration of Pembrokeshire’s county town,” she said. “Not only will it help drive footfall to Haverfordwest, it will also support business growth and create an additional community hub.”

Artists impression of the completed project (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “Our Transforming Towns programme is providing £136 million to further support the economic and social recovery of town and city centres across Wales, building on existing investment of £800 million in over 50 of our towns since 2014.

“Transforming Towns is focussed on improving biodiversity and green infrastructure, repurposing neglected properties, increasing flexible working and living space, and providing access to services.

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“Our town centre first policy means that town centres should be the first consideration for all decisions on the location of workplaces and services. Our town and city centres face many challenges which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“That’s why we are investing heavily to ensure that our towns not only survive but thrive, and we are brave in reinvigorating them into places where people want to spend their time.”

Local County Councillor Tom Tudor welcomed the progress on site: “Combined with other initiatives taking place, I am very optimistic that Haverfordwest Town Centre will become a thriving commercial and residential location of choice, creating a distinct destination and sense of place,” he said.

(Lead Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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Environment

Pembrokeshire tops recycling league for second year in a row

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For the second year in a row Pembrokeshire’s residents have been crowned the best recyclers in Wales.

The Welsh Government has confirmed that Pembrokeshire remained the best-performing local authority area for recycling from April 2020 to March 2021.

A total of 73.2% of all waste collected by Pembrokeshire County Council was recycled during that period – the highest figure Pembrokeshire has ever seen – and up from the 72% the previous year.

The Welsh Government recycling target for local authorities is 64%.

Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said he was extremely proud at Pembrokeshire topping the charts for the second year in a row.

“This is fantastic news,” said Cllr Tomos.

He added: “To be number one for recycling in Wales again is a big achievement in its own right but to have actually improved the percentage of recycling from what was already an extremely high level is an incredible effort.

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“I want to say a huge thank you to you, the people of Pembrokeshire, for your efforts and taking so enthusiastically to the waste and recycling kerbside collections that enabled people to recycle a wider range of items from home than before.

“Pembrokeshire wants to be leading the climate change agenda and become a leading sustainable energy hub nationally so cutting our waste and increasing recycling is an important part of those wider ambitions.”

As well as thanking Pembrokeshire residents for their efforts, Cllr Tomos also paid tribute to the collection crews, Waste and Recycling Centre operatives and the staff behind the scenes who have helped to make the achievement possible.

Pembrokeshire’s achievement was also praised by Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change Julie James, who said: “Congratulations Pembrokeshire for being Wales’ best recyclers for the second year in a row.

“Considering Wales is ranked third in the world for recycling, this is quite the achievement. We have particularly enjoyed working with Pembrokeshire County Council on the improvements to the collection service to separate your plastics, cardboard and glass at kerbside pick-up, and have been continuously impressed with your commitment to refine and improve your methods.

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“Thank you to everyone in Pembrokeshire for doing your bit to fight the climate and nature emergency and accelerate the move to a more circular economy where we keep materials in use for longer and avoid all waste.

“This collective effort will help us build a Wales we can be proud to pass onto our future generations.”  

(Lead image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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Haverfordwest

New community cafe to provide ‘opportunity’ for people of Haverfordwest

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A new community space has opened at the former Wimpy in Haverfordwest’s Riverside Shopping Centre

@No5 Riverside offers a community café, ‘Library of Things’ and employment support – all in one town centre location.  

It follows a 6-month renovation project by Norman Industries as part of its supported employment programme, with funding from Welsh Government.

“The café will be a fantastic resource offering dedicated sessions to a wide range of community groups, including people with dementia or a learning disability, carers, and gentlemen’s groups,” said Cllr Tessa Hodgson, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services.

Known as ‘Caffi Cyfle’ (cyfle is the Welsh word for ‘opportunity’) the café is open 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. It is fully inclusive – please ask how to book a quiet time or about suitable food options.

Karen Davies, Programme Manager, said the café menu has been designed by Pembrokeshire’s neuro diverse community.

“The simple hot menu is designed to provide meals suitable for people of all ages removing the food that is often left on the side of the plate,” she said. “The small plate option recognises that people with small appetites want to be able to buy an appropriately sized meal saving money and food waste.”

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The café will also offer training and employment to people with barriers to employment including people with neurodiversity conditions.  

“We know that the hospitality sector has challenges recruiting staff and yet there is a large pool of people who could work in this industry given the right training and support,” said Karen.

“People with impairment and difference make excellent employees with low levels of absence and high levels of commitment. We already run a café in Milford Haven run by people with learning disability. We want to show the sector how this can be achieved in a busy town centre café environment.”

Library of Things (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

The Library of Things offers people the opportunity to borrow items that they can’t afford or don’t want to buy. 

People can borrow a wide range of things such as a gazebo, lawnmower, pressure washer, wheelbarrow, children’s games or fancy dress.  

Cllr Cris Tomos, Pembrokeshire Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “We all have items that we have bought for one job, which have then sat in our cupboards gather dust never to be used again.

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“Now we have the opportunity to reduce the use of precious resources by borrowing the item rather than buying it for a fraction of the cost.

“The Library of Things is a fantastic opportunity for people in Pembrokeshire to contribute towards actions for the environment.”

The unit at No.5 Riverside stood empty for a number of years and took a significant investment to bring it back to life. Financial support was provided by a Circular Economy grant to support town centre regeneration from the Welsh Government.   

Caffi Cyfle (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

Riverside Shopping Centre Manager Nigel Stroper said he was delighted to welcome @No5 to the Riverside Shopping Centre.

“I have been so impressed with the efforts of all concerned with this enterprise which brings real points of difference to both the shopping centre and town centre, the staff are so enthusiastic – they are a credit to the work done by Norman Industries,” he said.

“I am confident this is a great step forward in the regeneration work beginning in our lovely little town.”

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Local County Councillor Tom Tudor said it was a great initiative. “This is an excellent facility and very much welcomed for the centre of town,” he said. ”We wish it every success.”

Also based @No5 are the staff from Employability Pembrokeshire. During the day, the upstairs space will be used as a drop in space so that people can meet with the mentors from a wide range of employment projects that support progress into work. 

The team at Employability Pembrokeshire can help with training, work experience and getting paid work.  For people with a disability they can also help to assess and put in place support to ensure people have success in the work place.  

To borrow an item from the Library of Things you can visit www.pembrokeshirecircle.org and follow the share link. Items can also be booked at the counter in @No5.

Things that still work or could be repaired can be donated to the library so that others can use them. Items are repaired, tested and made available to others reducing waste going to landfill. Items can be dropped off @No5 or at Norman Industries.

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Lead image: (left to right): Jonathan Griffiths (Director of Social Services); Cllr Cris Tomos; Matthew Page, Café Assistant; Cllr Tessa Hodgson; Karen Davies and Marty Andrews, Café Manager. (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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