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Ownership change for 200-year old hotel in Llanelli hotel following significant funding deal

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Ashburnham Hotel

A 200-YEAR-OLD hotel in Llanelli is set to get a new lease of life after its new owners secured significant funding from NatWest.

Nickesha Graham-Burrell and Balfour Burrell obtained a £420k funding package from the bank to purchase The Ashburnham Hotel in Pembrey following the retirement of its previous owners.

The Burrells plan to strengthen the impressive reputation and operation of the £650,000 annual turnover business including considerable investment in landscaping and internal refurbishments at the seven-acre site, and a future vision to add guest lodges to the grounds.

The couple also plans to improve sustainability by installing electric vehicle charging points on-site.

Balfour, a former construction project manager, will take over as general manager. All current staff will be retained as part of the changing of hands, while the new owners hope to create more jobs in the local area as the business expands.

Built as an independent inn in the early 1800s to provide accommodation for businesspeople in the area, the hotel inherits its name from the Earl of Ashburnham, who lived at Pembrey house until the 1920s. Most notably, the property accommodated aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart for an overnight stay following her transatlantic flight in 1928, where she became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The deal was completed in March 2022 and secured the freehold of the hotel alongside all existing furniture and fittings. Jo McCarthy, commercial finance broker at B2B Finance, Andrew Styles, business development manager and Paul Dunne, relationship manager, both at NatWest, supported the transaction.

Nickesha said: “Ashburnham Hotel is an extremely important business in the local area and sits in idyllic surroundings close to Pembrey Country Park and Ashburnham golf course. It is rich in history and still plays a huge part in the local community offering everything from weddings to business meetings and dining opportunities.

“The hotel has seen many changes over the years and will undergo internal and external refurbishment to create a sophisticated and luxurious feel. We’re excited about the future of the business and are committed to ensuring it remains authentic as the operation expands.”

Paul Dunne, Relationship Manager at NatWest for Carmarthenshire, said: “Working with Nickesha and the team to secure this funding package has been a pleasure. I am confident the funds provided by NatWest will help to inject refreshed life back into the much-loved hotel and encourage additional employment opportunities in the area.

“The hospitality sector has faced a particularly challenging time on a national scale, however, SMEs such as The Ashburnham Hotel will play a huge role in our economic recovery and Natwest is delighted to support this venture.”

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The Burry Port Harbour Improvement wins top civil engineering award

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THE BURRY Port Harbour Improvement has been announced as the winner of the Bill Ward Sustainability Award at the recent ICE Wales Cymru Project Awards held on Friday (30 September) at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.

The Bill Ward Award is presented to the project best demonstrating the principles of sustainability, i.e. social, economic and environmental benefits during delivery and on completion. The Judges were impressed with the way two major companies, Alun Griffiths and Atkins, worked hand in hand on the project with their client, Carmarthenshire County Council, to deliver the scheme to a fixed budget, within programme and to the complete satisfaction of historic port custodians Cadw.

Burry Port Harbour is made up of three historic (tidal) basins contained by vertical masonry walls and earth embankments. The 3 harbours comprise 1500m of masonry vertical walls and revetments, which had fallen into disrepair and collapse since its heyday transporting coal in the 1800’s. 

The project is an ongoing, phased renovation with attention being given first to areas of instability. Displaced masonry has been recovered from the floor of the harbour and re-used. New materials have been chosen with care to ensure they are appropriate and will fit into the historic marine.

The work has safeguarded the historic masonry fabric for future generations, provided a safe harbour for the marina vessels and provided the waterside frontage for the Council’s vision to transform the harbour into a dynamic living, leisure and work hub for future generations.

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Welsh Waters in call for improvement following increase in pollution incidents

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NATURAL RESOURCES WALES (NRW) is calling for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to “step up and take action” after its annual environmental performance reports for water companies highlighted an increase in pollution incidents.

NRW also found a decrease in compliance with environmental permits for sewage discharges.

The deterioration in performance by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water has led to the company being downgraded from four-star – industry leading – company status last year to three-star (good company) under 2021 Environmental Performance Assessment metrics (EPA).

The report reveals that 83 sewage-related pollution incidents were caused by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water assets last year, compared to 77 the previous year.

Two of these pollution incidents were categorised as having a serious (High) environmental impact.

There was also one serious (High) incident from a water supply asset.

It also shows that numeric compliance against permitted discharges dropped from 99.7% to 98.3% and self-reporting of incidents dropped from 80% to 76%.

Expectations for improvements are outlined in the reports, including targets to reduce the number of pollution incidents year on year, aiming towards zero.

The report said the although the total sewage pollution incidents metric remained green, in 2021 “there has been an increase of six incidents -from 77 in 2020 to 83 in 2021. ”

“It is disappointing Dŵr Cymru have not sustained their improvement in this metric from last year”

The NRW performance report states: “The overall performance for water supply incidents is unacceptable.”

“We are calling for urgent action from Dŵr Cymru after 2021 saw the sixth consecutive year where the number of incidents from water supply assets increased.”

“We welcome the inclusion of serious incidents from water supply assets in the serious pollution incidents EPA metric from 2021 to bring more focus on this area of performance.”

Ceri Davies, NRW’s Executive Director for Evidence, Policy and Permitting said:

“Water companies have a responsibility to the environment, as well as their customers, and they must take these incidents – and the impact they have on our water quality – seriously.”

“Over many years water companies in Wales have invested significantly and improved their environmental performance so we are challenging their recent performance and asking them to set the standard for the water sector by attaining industry leading status, whilst also showing leadership in responding to the biodiversity and climate crises.”

“The decline in environmental performance is disappointing and we expect them to respond positively with renewed effort, and to drive forward improvements.”

“Earlier this week, we published our storm overflow roadmap, in collaboration with the water sector and Welsh Government, which outlines an action plan of commitments from all those involved to reduce the impact of storm overflows on our rivers in Wales.”

“This sits amongst a number of initiatives across other sectors including rural land use and industry, to tackle the numerous threats facing our rivers.”

“Improving water quality for the long term requires a collective effort from all involved, working together to identify catchment-scale solutions to contribute to healthy rivers.”

Welsh Water has not commented as yet on the report.

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Business

M&S opticians opens its doors in Llanelli Parc Trostre

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MARKS & SPENCER has opened the newest branch of its M&S Opticians service, located in the retailer’s popular Llanelli store.

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre will offer customers an expert opticians service, which includes a full eye health examination (OCT scan) for every eye test booked at no additional fee.

Free eye tests are available as an opening offer, as well as 15% off glasses and sunglasses for Sparks customers. There’s a wide range of designer brands to choose from including Mulberry, Prada, Joules, Kate Spade, Oakley, Police, Maui Jim along with leading lens manufacturers – Zeiss and Nikon.

Expert advice on contact lens fitting and wearing is also on hand, alongside a contact lens home delivery option. The store will also be home to a hearing aid audiologist who will be offering free hearing health checks along with latest hearing aid technology, including rechargeable models and mobile connectivity.

In addition to the physical experience in-store, customers can book appointments online here, as well as view, purchase and try on glasses via the innovative ‘virtual try on’ tool here

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre is the second optician service to open in Wales following a successful trial across ten UK cities, during which the service received a customer satisfaction rate of 96% and a customer recommendation rate of 96%.

M&S Llanelli Parc Trostre Store Manager, Aled Bonnell, said: “We’re always looking for ways to make shopping at M&S even more rewarding and feedback from our trial showed that customers loved the convenience of having an Opticians service in our store. We’re really excited to be opening our M&S Opticians in Llanelli and hearing what our customers think. The choice of different brands we’re offering is second to none and we have brilliant opening offers to suit all budgets.”

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