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Milford Haven waterway placed on shortlist for prototype nuclear fusion energy plant

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Pembrokeshire County Council has announced that it’s application for inclusion in the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) programme has resulted in the Milford Haven waterway site being shortlisted for the design and construction of a prototype nuclear fusion power plant.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture said: “As I said when we bid, the Haven Waterway has provided livelihoods, underpinned by fossil fuels, for thousands of Pembrokeshire families, mine included, for more than 50 years.

“It’s my job to help ensure the waterway continues to provide high skilled, engineering, science and technology jobs for the next generation of this county. Linked to our focus on climate change – and in addition to our existing multi-million pound commitments to supporting wind, wave and tidal clean power generation – we think Pembrokeshire has a role to play in the UK’s development of clean, green fusion technology.

“Being short listed is very positive news and we’ll be working hard with our Enterprise Zone partners and with UKAEA to persuade them the Haven Waterway is the very best place in the UK to develop this technology.

“The proposed site, which is adjacent to the existing energy sites on the South Shore of the Haven waterway, will have the potential to benefit Pembrokeshire enormously, providing thousands of highly-skilled jobs, attracting investment to our economy and supporting the local supply chain.’

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There will be more detailed assessment before UKAEA makes recommendations to the Business Secretary in late summer 2022. The Secretary of State will then make a final decision on the successful site around the end of 2022.

Wales’ Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “I’m very pleased Pembrokeshire’s bid has been shortlisted by the UK Atomic Energy Authority. The Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone location is perfect for this project, so the Welsh Government is working closely with Pembrokeshire County Council and other partners to bring this important project to Wales.

“Tackling climate change is a major global challenge. We all need to play our part in reducing emissions, so we want Wales to be at the forefront of future research and development opportunities for new technologies that allow us to do just that. Alongside the Welsh Government’s ambitious commitments to tackle climate change, the opportunity to host a STEP site would put Wales on the map as a leader in green, clean energy production, creating high quality jobs and opportunities for local supply chains.”

(Lead image: Pembrokeshire Council)


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Milford Haven

Pembrokeshire’s NetLet moves into new premises in Milford Haven

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NetLet UK, the fast-growing Pembrokeshire hospitality network which provides holiday accommodation as well as housekeeping and laundry services for the hospitality sector, has moved into new premises in Milford Haven Docks.

The larger premises bring the whole NetLet operation together under one roof and have increased its laundry capacity in line with its growth. This has also enabled NetLet to offer more than 30 new job opportunities.

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The new site includes a laundry, stores, offices, a boardroom and a training centre. The company, which saw 47% growth last year, specialises in fully managed self-catering holiday accommodation. As well as having its own in-house housekeeping department, it also provides laundry and housekeeping services for independent holiday homes and the whole hospitality sector, ensuring year-round employment for its staff.

NetLet managing director Emma Taylor says the new premises have streamlined the company’s operations.

“It enables a much better workflow: laundry is dropped off in our drop off zone, goes straight into the laundry and straight from there into the stores, where it can be packed up ready to go out, with no crossover,” she says.

Emma Taylor at NetLet’s new Milford Haven premises

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, NetLet’s rapid growth last year enabled it to invest not only in new premises but also in new equipment.

“We invested heavily into the state-of-the-art laundry equipment including a 25kg washing machine and an automatic iron and fold press, which have increased capacity,” says Emma. “We’re bringing in some more crew vehicles this year too: all of our profits are being reinvested back into the company.”

This means the company is now seeking to recruit two new full-time managers and three senior housekeepers. It also has up to 20 part time seasonal positions available between May and September.

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To support its recruitment drive, the company has redesigned its training package, raised its wages and introduced new bonus packages and rewards for staff.

Other developments are designed to support the company’s long-running commitment to sustainability. It has bought new auto dosers for its washing machines, which cut the amount of chemicals used in each wash.

“We’re very conscious of the green aspects, which is why we make sure we stay as eco-conscious as possible and will be continuing to work on our sustainable development policy,” says Emma. “Even the welcome packs we provide in all our holiday properties are eco-friendly and sustainable.”

Looking to the future, further growth is already on the cards with the company taking on an adjacent building in order to expand its overall operations to facilitate ongoing growth.

“Growth was the main aim for us last year and now we’ve been able to invest to accommodate further growth again,” says Emma. “We have different revenue streams and can mould them into different packages for our clients. This gives us the ability to adjust to market demands and specific needs.”

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Milford Haven

New Milford Haven waterfront hotel opens

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The Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront, Milford Haven’s latest destination, has opened its doors to welcome its first guests.

The Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront is the latest addition to the expanding Celtic Collection, which will manage the new hotel as part of a partnership with the Port of Milford Haven.

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Located at the heart of the new Milford Waterfront development, the hotel is described as an ideal base for exploring all the incredible sights, sounds and sensations Pembrokeshire has to offer.

The 46,000 sq ft property features 100 bedrooms across four floors, where guests can enjoy unbeatable picture-postcard views across Milford Marina. With a range of stylish, contemporary bedrooms, including family rooms, the hotel is suitable for all types of travellers, from business to leisure.

A vibrant brasserie restaurant, private dining area and bar all take advantage of the spectacular location with floor-to-ceiling windows serving up beautiful views right on the water’s edge. The ground floor also houses a welcoming lobby and an activity suite for fitness.

Inspired by the fresh seafood and sparkling tides of his Pembrokeshire childhood, Executive Head Chef Simon Crockford (former Wales National Chef of the Year) is the heart and soul behind the restaurant.

The new dulce restaurant

Named dulse, after the edible variety of seaweed which grows in abundance around the Pembrokeshire coast, here guests can enjoy crowd-pleasing dishes using the very best of local produce from the land and the sea.

The Tŷ Hotel is managed by Adrian Andrews, who has returned to his native Pembrokeshire roots after forging a successful career away from West Wales as a multi-site manager for Premier Inn in Birmingham, Bristol, and Cardiff.

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Mr Andrews, Manager at Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront, said: “It is wonderful to finally welcome our first guests to this fantastic new hotel, which provides the perfect place for visitors to stay and enjoy this amazing location with all its exciting redevelopment.

“I am so proud to call Pembrokeshire home. I can’t wait for guests to discover the vibrant community of Milford Waterfront and the stunning West Wales coastline during their visit.”

As part of a major redevelopment of the waterfront, the Tŷ Hotel will provide a significant draw for new tourists to Milford Haven and Pembrokeshire. The hotel has already created 40 permanent jobs in operations, with many more supported in the supply chain.

Mr Andrews added: “As the hotel has taken shape, we’ve been blown away by the positive reaction from the local area. I’m excited about what this hotel will bring to Milford Haven, both for the community and for business.”

Executive Head Chef Simon Crockford (left) and Adrian Andrews at Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront

Andy Jones, CEO at the Port of Milford Haven commented: “All of us at the Port are so excited about the hotel opening this week. The new Tŷ Hotel is great news for Pembrokeshire and is momentous for Milford Waterfront, marking the next phase in our hospitality and tourism strategy. An investment of this kind creates a ripple effect, building even greater positivity among local businesses and the local community. We are a proud Pembrokeshire business and are delighted to have brought this high-quality investment to the area in partnership with The Celtic Collection.”

Local hero, Mr Eric Harries, council member and a former Mayor of Milford Haven on no fewer than five occasions, was invited to be among the very first guests to experience the Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront.

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Mr Harries has been unable to return home since his house tragically caught fire on Guy Fawkes Night 2021. The team were thrilled to welcome their guest of honour to the hotel on the opening day.

Mr Harries said: “As a native of Milford Haven, having been in local government for many years, I welcome with open arms the investment that’s been made in the town with the new Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront. It is my sincerest wish that it will be a huge success and assist our town in economic recovery.”

Rooms at the Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront are available to book now, with rates starting from £86 bed & breakfast per room, per night.

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Milford Haven

Pembrokeshire’s NetLet appoints new managing director

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Milford Haven-headquartered hospitality network NetLet UK has a new managing director. Emma Taylor, who joined the company three and a half years ago, has stepped into the role while the company’s founders Penny and Paul Hows stay on as active members of the board.

NetLet provides fully managed holiday accommodation and laundry and housekeeping facilities for the hospitality sector across Pembrokeshire. The company saw 47% growth last year and is currently seeking to recruit two managers, three housekeepers and 10-20 seasonal staff to support further growth.

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Emma Taylor grew up in Pembrokeshire and gained a degree in equine studies from Aberystwyth University before travelling the world working in equine reproduction. She went on to work as a product manager for a biotech company, travelling internationally to build the company’s supply chain. After returning to Wales, she completed a diploma in procurement and supply chain and starting work at NetLet, where she has helped to drive the company’s growth.

“I love anything analytical and anything strategic,” she says. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity the other directors have given me and that all the hard work is now paying off and we are seeing the rewards. We’ve built an infrastructure over the last three years that means we’re ready to take on this growth. We’ve invested a lot into systems software and hardware facilities. Everything is in place now and we’re ready to ready to go.”

The company’s recent successes include the launch of four new websites each tailored to each of the company’s main departments: Holiday Home OwnersSelf-Catering Holidays in PembrokeshireLaundry Services and Housekeeping Services. Significant investments into the laundry operation have included the purchase of new machines, all of which are HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) accredited, which is a guarantee of high hygiene standards. The new purchases have also helped to increase the company’s green credentials – a commitment that runs through the whole operation.

Last year NetLet won best holiday home rental company in the SME awards 2021, and its strong focus on client satisfaction has been reflected in its online reviews.

“We know how much customer service matters and we plan to maintain our brand continuity and high standards,” says Emma. “We like to have a really good relationship with our property owners and we have the facilities to control all aspects of their holiday homes.

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“We also have the facilities and capacity to take on larger clients. Because we manage properties ourselves, we understand how the housekeeping and laundry should run in holiday homes, B&Bs and hotels. That means we can make everything work well – for example, making sure we have an excellent response rate, and that laundry is delivered in bed packs so that changeovers and services times are optimised.”

The company also has a strong focus on staff satisfaction and career progression: it is raising wages for many roles and introducing new bonus and reward schemes. As a member of The British Institute of Clean Science (BICS), it is also supporting some of its mangers to gain qualifications that will enable them to train housekeepers under the BICS (British Institute of Cleaning Science) standards and provide this as a service to outside clients. The business is keenly aware of its place in the local community and aims to have a positive impact on Pembrokeshire as a whole.

“We want a steady 30% growth this year and towards the end of next year I want to work closely with local businesses and give them opportunities to showcase products and become a local driver to support other businesses,” says Emma.

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