CERTAS ENERGY has added two West Wales fillings stations to its growing company portfolio with the acquisition of Square & Compass and Letterson Filling Stations, both formerly owned by Roger and Anne Shackleton.
The couple have operated their Pembrokeshire forecourt business for 22 years, its two Gulf branded forecourts are integral to the local community, with large and successful convenience stores and a combined fuel volume of 5.6ml.
“We are delighted to have concluded this deal, it’s a very good fit for our business as we continue to grow our company operation across the UK,” enthuses Richard Billington, Retail Director, Certas Energy. “We already have a strong Gulf presence within Pembrokeshire and these two flagship sites will complement our thriving and expanding Dealer operation.”
“Anne and Roger have put their heart and soul into their business and its standing within the locality is testament to their hard work and that of a very talented team, whom we look forward to working with. We’ll bring the sites into harmony with the rest of our company-owned operation, investing in the latest back-office technology and on-site facilities to future proof the business. We will also remain true to the values established by the Shackletons to be at the heart of the local community.”
The two forecourts currently employ 20 people. They are seven miles apart, both situated in the town of Haverfordwest. Dave Morris, Director at specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, acted on behalf of owners Anne and Roger and comments; “The two forecourts presented a great opportunity for a buyer as they are in a good location and well regarded locally. It has been a pleasure to work for Anne and Roger who have been passionate fuel retailers for over 20 years and we wish them all the best with their retirement. Both sites are a good fit for Certas Energy and we look forward to seeing them transition into Certas’ company owned portfolio.”
Reflecting on his departure from the business, Roger Shackleton says: “We have fantastic staff and a successful business that has been nurtured to the needs of our community. I’ve loved every minute of the ever changing environment of forecourt and convenience retailing. I still get up every morning at 4am to prepare for the day ahead but now seems the right time to retire. Certas Energy and Gulf Retail are better suited to unlock the future potential and get the very best out of our two sites. It’s a very emotive time for us both, we regard our staff as family but we know they are in good hands. The Gulf team are genuine, the process has been relatively smooth and David Morris of Christie and Co. has been brilliant, working tirelessly keep the deal progressing and to get us to this place.”
“When we drive past the sites in the future, we may feel saddened that we are no longer at the helm but in Gulf Retail, we are happy that we have sold to the right people.”
This latest acquisition by Certas Energy increases its company portfolio to 35 sites as it continues to grow the Gulf network in size and scale.
Fuel family’s final farewell
IT WAS an emotional farewell at two north Pembrokeshire filling stations this week as the popular owners Roger and Anne Shackleton handed the reigns over to new owners Certas Energy, Britain’s largest independent distributor of fuels and lubricants.
After 22 years, Roger and Anne are looking forward to a more relaxed life on their farm, and to see more of their family, they told The Herald.
In 1997, the couple sold their pedigree herd and bought Letterston Filling Station. In 2007 Square and Compass Filling Station was purchased and plans were made to rebuild the shop into a convenience store to serve the neighbourhood. They were able to provide a wide range of goods and competitive fuel prices over a long period at both sites, an important resource for the local community in both cases.
Roger and Anne said in a statement: “We would like to thank our suppliers, and the loyal and long-standing customers for their support over the years. A final thank you goes to the staff, past and present that have helped make the business what it is today.
They added: “We would like to extend our best wishes to Certas Energy for success in the future with both Letterston and Square and Compass Filling Stations.”
£100k funding boosts local food production
LOCAL AM, Lee Waters has announced £100,000 of funding for a project to transform local food production and boost the economy across Carmarthenshire.
The project by Carmarthenshire Public Service Board will provide business opportunities for locally or regionally-based companies and bring environmental benefits by lowering food miles and associated carbon costs. It has been funded as part of a £4.6m package to boost the foundational economy.
The foundational economy approach is being adopted by cities and regions across the world, but Wales is the first country in the world to embrace it on a national scale. The foundational economy is made up of the everyday goods and services we all need and use with estimates suggesting it accounts for four out of every 10 jobs and £1 in every three we spend.
Lee Waters, who is also the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport in the Welsh Government, said,
“I came into politics and Government with the aim of helping the communities where I grew up and those like them.
“Supporting the Foundational Economy is a key way to do this. This is a vitally important part of the economy which makes a big difference to the livelihoods of many people as well as our cities, towns and villages.”
The announcement was made alongside the First Minister Mark Drakeford at an event at University of Wales Trinity St David.
Another project to be awarded funding is being led by Cyfle Building Skills Ltd. It will receive £86,500 to work with construction employers and provide opportunities for apprentices to receive valuable work experience placements throughout the industry in Carmarthenshire.
Lee Waters added “It’s been great to join the First Minister in Carmarthen to learn more about what it potentially a very exciting project and one which will change the way food is procured locally for the benefit of area’s communities.
“The Foundational Economy Challenge Fund is a clear demonstration of our commitment to supporting people in all parts of Wales today, tomorrow and into the future.”
Zoe Evans, Llanelli painter and decorator, is British Apprentice of the Year
Zoe Evans, a 21 year old painter and decorator from Llanelli, has been named the GB Apprentice of the Year and Welsh Apprentice of the Year at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
The CITB Apprenticeship Awards celebrate the achievements of apprentices and employers across the UK for their commitment and dedication to construction.
The winners were presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster and property entrepreneur, Sarah Beeny. The ceremony took place at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London (7 November).
Zoe completed a level 2 apprenticeship in painting and decorating, to go onto achieve her Advanced level 3. With her artistic flair, Zoe enjoys the creative aspects of her trade and plans to take a career route in interior design. Zoe’s amazing commitment to being the best she can, has attributed to her becoming an ambassador for women in construction and being the face of the posters across her college, Coleg Sir Gar.
Zoe said: “I’ve loved every single part of my apprentice journey, from the classroom learning to the practical application and the more creative aspects of the job. I want to thank my mentor, Ken MacKay and my employer Ian Williams Ltd. It’s a really good feeling to know that I’ve been
recognised in this way. I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone willing to work hard, have goals and go full out to achieve them.”
Jon Davies, CITB Apprenticeship Officer, said: “When Zoe started her apprenticeship we saw her potential so we fast tracked her from level 1 to level 2. It was important for me to make sure she had the right support to reach the heights she is capable of, and she is doing just that. Zoe makes work a brighter place for everyone around her. Her positive attitude and ability makes her a perfect ambassador for women in construction, and I am really pleased this has been recognised with her award.”
Kevin Mcloughlin, CITB board member and founder and Managing Director of Mcloughlin Decorating, said: “Congratulations to Zoe, a clearly dedicated apprentice – it’s great to recognise her hard work. Apprenticeships provide a fast track route into the construction industry. With so many rewarding careers opportunities in construction there is something out there for everyone. I wish Zoe all the best in her career in construction.”
Community at heart of plans to transform Llanelli’s Tyisha
LLANELLI’s Tyisha ward is to be transformed as part of a multi-million-pound regeneration project with the community at the heart of it.
It follows a massive consultation exercise which took place last year in which residents, tenants and local businesses were asked to help plan for changes and improvements that will affect their future.
All the views, opinions and ideas gathered from the community have been used to develop a regeneration masterplan for the area.
Whilst representing socio-economic and environmental challenges, Tyisha is seen as an area of strategic importance, providing a vital link between Llanelli town centre and the Wellness Village at Delta Lakes.
It has the highest population density in Carmarthenshire, and over a quarter of housing is social rented, in low demand and difficult to let.
The aim is to create a vibrant community where people want to live and work by delivering new mixed-use housing developments, improving the local environment, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, developing more community facilities, bringing vacant business premises back into use and providing opportunities for education, training and employment.
The council is working in partnership with a number of key organisations including the police and Llanelli Town Council to drive forward the regeneration plans, and a community steering group has been set up.
A report setting out the long-term ambition for the Tyisha area will go before the council’s Executive Board on Monday, October 21.
Executive Board Member for Communities Cllr Cefin Campbell who is also chair of the project steering group, said: “The people of Tyisha want to see the area improve and want to be part of the change, which is so important. They have come to us with their ideas for the area and we know what matters to them; now it is time to put all this into action.
“We are committed to working with the community to improve their prospects by developing their skills and confidence and giving them aspirations for the future. There is a lot of work to do but I am very excited about what is to come, I hope the community are too.”
A total of £9.3million has been allocated from the council’s New Build Programme (Housing Revenue Account) specifically for the Station Road area to assist in its regeneration.
Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I would like to thank residents, tenants and businesses for working with us to develop this plan for future investment and development for the area.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners and with the community to make sure what is being delivered is what the community needs and wants. Housing officers will be engaging directly with tenants to discuss their housing needs and options for the future. Drop-in sessions will be held throughout the ward during November and December to discuss the proposals with residents and we are also looking at setting up a base in the Station Road area. It is time for change and by working together we really can make this happen.”
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