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Working group planned to shape future of Cefn Coed Colliery Museum site

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Neath Port Talbot Council cabinet members are being asked to endorse proposals to establish a new working group to help draw up future plans for the historic Cefn Coed Colliery Museum site in Crynant, Neath.

Extensive survey work at the museum site has uncovered serious structural issues including flaking stonework, unsafe tunnels, asbestos and corrosion and it has been estimated that the emergency Health and Safety works will be in excess of £1.25m whilst an investment of around £8m would be needed to take it forward as a visitor attraction.

The problems pose serious dangers to users of the site meaning the museum will therefore not be able to re-open this summer.

Discussions on the future of the Grade II listed Cefn Coed Colliery facility have been ongoing for a number of years. It is owned by the Welsh Government but part of the land and buildings comprising the museum are leased to the council.

In August 2019, Neath Port Talbot Council successfully secured a Welsh Government grant offer with exciting plans to transform the museum into one of a number of Valleys Regional Park gateway centres with proposals for a café, craft shop and an innovative, interpretive experience telling the history of the colliery and surrounding area.

Cefn Coed Colliery as it looked when in operation in the 1960s (Image: Walt Jabsco / Flickr / Creative Commons)

But due diligence checks identified that the initial proposals could not progress and, partly due to the delaying effects of Covid-19 restrictions, there was insufficient time to bring forward alternative proposals in the timescales of the grant.

And now the results of detailed surveys at the museum and surrounding areas have been received, it is clear the grant offer would have fallen far short of the total financial investment needed at the site.

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A meeting of Neath Port Talbot’s Cabinet on June 2nd proposes setting up a Cefn Coed Working Group to provide input into future proposals for the site. It will be chaired by the council’s Director of Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning, Andrew Thomas, and will comprise council representatives and representatives of external partner stakeholder organisations to provide a clear way forward for the site.

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)


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Neath

Man charged with murder after Neath death

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A 38-year-old man has been charged with murder following the discovery of a body at a property in Caewern, Neath on Wednesday (27 April).

Emmett Morrison, from Caewern, has been charged with the murder of Timothy Dundon, 66, in Heol Catwg.

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He was remanded in custody and appeared at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Monday (May 2).

Mr Dundon’s family has been updated and next of kin continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Darren George, from South Wales Police, said: “Clearly the charging of a person with the murder of Mr Dundon is a significant development in the investigation however I would still urge anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it might be, to please contact South Wales Police.

“I would like to thank the local community for the support they have provided to this investigation to date.

“There has been an increased police presence in Caewern since Wednesday and this will continue over the coming days as enquiries continue.”

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(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Neath

Murder investigation after death of 66 year-old Neath man

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South Wales Police’s Major Crime Investigations Team (MCIT) have launched a murder investigation following the death of a 66 year old man at a property on Heol Catwg in Caewern, Neath.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Darren George, said: “I can confirm a murder investigation is underway following the discovery of a man’s body in Heol Catwg yesterday.

“The community in Heol Catwg is close knit and I would encourage anyone who may have information in connection with the murder to please contact our incident room at Cockett Police Station.

“We are particularly keen to hear from anybody who may have heard or seen anything suspicious in the area between 8am on Monday morning, April 25th and 1pm yesterday afternoon, Wednesday April 27th.

“A police cordon remains in place whilst Crime Scene Investigators and Specialist Search Officers are at the scene.

“There will also be an increased police presence in the area over the coming days as officers continue with their enquiries.

“I would like to thank the local community for their support whilst we continue our investigation. “

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A 38 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody. The 66 year old man has not yet been formally identified.

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Business

Firms reimagine workspaces post COVID thanks to Neath office furniture company

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Neath-based Ministry of Furniture is enjoying a surge in demand for some of its most innovative services on the back of companies reinventing the way in which their offices operate, in a post COVID-restrictions environment.

A shift to hybrid and flexible working arrangements on a long-term basis has prompted many firms to reconsider the very nature of their office environment – and how much space they need. Hotdesking and mixed working environments are being introduced as companies reimagine the office, scrapping outdated principles of set desks and offices.

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This approach is also combined with a growing desire to leverage the principles of the circular economy in all aspects of the design and fit out. Companies are now assessing and monitoring their carbon footprint and want a full understanding of where materials are sourced and the nature of supply chains.

Ministry of Furniture, able to deliver all aspects of an office refit from design stage to manufacture to fitout, has experienced a surge in demand as companies reconsider how and where people want to work.

Its designs incorporate flexible and informal breakout and workspaces incorporating pods and booths, which can also be powered by cutting-edge portable power banks, eclipsing the need for building costly fixed partitions and rewiring buildings based on new sets of plans.

In addition, the company has developed the expertise to upcycle and remanufacture desks and other types of furniture for new uses. For example, old desks can be repurposed as shelving or lockers – another important consideration in an office where employees no longer have a single dedicated desk or workspace.

Its approach always uses a local supply chain for all aspects of the job while leveraging the principles of the circular economy. Much of the furniture will be re-manufactured and upcycled, while it also works closely with Paint 360, a pioneer in the reengineering and reuse of waste paint, to decorate the interior.

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Just some of the companies Ministry has worked with on such projects include Marine Power Systems, Crunch Digital and Mrs Bucket. In the case of the latter, the company said it wanted to provide its growing team with a fresh environment focused on wellbeing and collaboration, and so added more informal space for collaboration and meetings.

The new office space located at Mrs Buckét, focused on team building and inspiration.

Graham Hirst, Managing Director, Ministry of Furniture, said: “The working environment fundamentally changed during the COVID pandemic, but many companies are now embracing the positives of that and want to adjust their working environments long term. With people working from home, companies want their offices to become alternative but inspiring workspaces.

“This ties in perfectly with our offering, whereby we can help clients through each part of the process from concept to completion. This approach also complements our commitment to the circular economy and skillset in remanufacturing and upcycling products. The clients we have worked with recently wanted a more collaborative working environment and I think that the final designs really help facilitate that creative energy.”

Rachael Flanagan, CEO of Mrs Buckét, said: “After a tough two years for everyone, we were keen to refresh our space as more of the team returned to office working. Employee wellbeing is really important to us and so our main goal was to create a modern, fresh environment, a place where people are excited to come to work.

“We consulted with our team from the outset and designed the new offices purely with their feedback in mind. Team building is at the top of our agenda, and we really believe that having an inspiring space for our team to work from will help us in our drive to become one of the foremost employers in the cleaning and facilities management industry.”

Lead image: The reimagined office at Crunch Digital supplied by Ministry of Furniture.

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