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Badger on the bins



AFTER trying to find any number of ways to avoid stating what is obvious to everybody about the utterances being evacuated from the mouths of the IPPG at the last Council. Badger decided to have a lie down with a good book and bask In some of the recent good weather. Badger. who is not a creature fond of taking risks. decided to leave his choke of reading material to chance and – with his head turned away -reached into his groaning bookshelves to pull out what he sincerely hoped would he a plum. After picking out Fifty Shades of Beige: the Bryn Parry Jones Story and Jamie Adams’ Bumper Book of Fun with Sums, Badger decided that dumb chance was just that and, with his eyes a-peeping through his paws. Badger reached into the more interesting section of his bookshelf. Imagine his pleasure when he pulled out a battered and weil-thumbed copy of Pembrokeshire Humour by Brian John.

seagulbadgBadger flicked through his volume, chortling away. when one story in particular gave him pause for thought. Summarising a joke is rather difficult, but Badger will have a go A restaurant in Tenby was famed for its rabbit pie. During the myxomatosis scourge, the quality of the pie declined until one customer asked the restaurateur: “Give us an honest answer an you using horse-meat in the pie mixture?’ Answering yes. the restaurateur explained that he was using half and half. “What?” the startled customer asked poking at his rapidly cooling pie. “filly-fifty?’ Replied the restaurateur “That’s right. One horse to one rabbit.” Nowadays, of Mane. such a restaurateur would he hauled off before the beaks for any number of heinous crimes against food hygiene and trading standards.

It is the passing off as one thing as another that exercises Badger. however. When Badger lifts up the crust of an Old Ratty’s Hedgehog and Gravy pie, he expects to find rich wont’ and weasel gravy seething around large chunks of prime hedgehog. Anything else would be just wrong. That is a basic consideration. Badger likes things that – as the advertising slogan goes – do what they say on the tin. Badger loves books. but he would be appalled to open a volume marked “de Bello Civili: Lucan” to discover it was many Katie Price’s Love, Lks & Lipstick. So. when the County Council says that experiments with new gull-proof black hags in Tenby mean that they might be rolled out around Pembrokeshire you have to look al it and think -good news”, But when one peels back the crust of this story, there is more hobbling underneath than you might expect. Pembrokeshire is a coastal county. There cannot be a settlement that is not Happy badgermore than twenty minutes from the sea, Pembrokeshire has lots and lots of sea birds. Lots and lots of those sea birds are gulls. At which point in the year since Pembrokeshire adopted this benighted box-ticking green policy on our behalf did the Council think gull-proof bags might be a good idea? No poop.

Mr Holmes! Since the Council decided upon its policy of collecting black bin hags from louses in Nmbrokeshite, the number of households taking reeking rubbish to the tip has increased. Badger has visited a few tips in the last year and traffic has steadily increased. All the council has done is force people who do 1104 have an airtight outbuilding in which to store rotting garbage to transport the stuff themselves. In addition, and Badger speaks from experience. vermin intrude into garages. sheds and even into homes to pull bin bags apart and get at their contents. The Council has simply shuffled the problem elsewhere and shuffled the money round in inventive ways to get away with it. Bins would he answer. Most councils provide them fur black bag waste. Pembrokeshire doesn’t.

And when one lifts up the  crust of the gull-proof bags story, it is not difficult to find out why that is the CMG. The Council claims: “Research has shown that the quantity of waste collected from households with % wheelie bins is significantly higher than households that use sacks only.” When the County Council introduced garden waste bins to replace green sacks. Tenby ‘s Town Council was most miffed at the thought of residents in the town’s narrow and hustling streets having to haul a wheelie bin through their house instead of a sack of rubbish. In addition, it is thought that tourists – bless their sunburnt little white socks • don’t want to see wheelie bins in the street. It is better to present a romantic. twee and cod-genteel image of Pembrokeshire life to tourists. perhaps. than an accurate picture of living communities. Badger has been told at different nines that it was the National Park Authority or Tenby Town Council that put the kyhosh on thereat of us getting wheelie bins to keep our homes rat-free.

Badger offers no opinion on the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations about Tenhy’s burghers or the Park’s enforcers. If true, however. it is monstrous that those of us who live in areas less adventitiously endowed with otherwise superfluous photogenic attributes. have to lump it as the Council will not provide us with bins and others with bags. Being members of the INC. most Cabinet members are used to being surrounded by rats and other vemiin. But members of Pembrokeshire’s public. those who receive public services provided by the Council, deserve better than walking into a garage to find a rat half way into a can of tuna while maggots happily wave hello from an empty bacon packet. If. like Badger. you are unlucky enough to have a member of the IPPG as your Councillor all one can expect when you complain is the equivalent of a pat on the head and a soothing word that we’re all in the same how.

A year on and a household with children. more than four people in it, or with a baby is lumped in the same boat as the singleton at home with a couple of moggies, the collected works of Polly Toynbce. and self-righteousness for company. That is not right. It is not fair. And the policy is wrung. But – and take a deep breath readers – it is not all the 113136’s fault. Badger realises that this might come as a surprise to some readers – and even some IPPG councillors – but Badger wants to point the finger at the real culprits. The Welsh Government is forcing councils to cut down on black bag collections because it is run by urban quangocrats who have little or no idea of life outside their little magic circle of self-congratulatory chums. And certainly little idea of life north and west of the M4 corridor. They have no idea what it is like to see a week’s rubbish strewn across the street by a hungry fox. In place of incentives, the Welsh Government is using a bloody big stick to beat Council’s unto doing what it wants. it is doing this because it does not believe in local communities’ ability to manage themselves and meet their own needs. It is part of the culture that wants to drag power away from local democracy and force people to do what it thinks is for their own good. Rather like the Tenby restaurateur’s reeking pie, it seems to Badger that the upper crust is well out of it.

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Approval recommended for dockyard plans



A CONTROVERSIAL plan to develop part of Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard comes before the County Council’s Planning Committee next week.

Despite many objections from heritage organisations, Council planning officers recommend the development’s approval.

However, the Planning Committee will only indicate whether it is ‘minded to approve’ the proposal instead of giving it the go-ahead.

The Welsh Government has called in the application for decision by the next Welsh Government minister responsible for planning and infrastructure developments.

That means the Welsh Government will consider the Report presented to the Committee and weigh it against the objections received.


The application is to develop a brownfield site within the former Royal Dockyard.

It seeks outline planning permission for the demolition or part demolition and infill of various buildings and structures, modification of existing slipways, erection of buildings and ancillary development. 

The development is intended for port-related activities, including the manufacture of marine energy devices, boat manufacture, repair and erection of plant.

The application is for outline planning permission. All matters relating to access, appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale are reserved for consideration as part of reserved matters applications. In practice, as many councils – including Pembrokeshire – have discovered, once outline planning is granted, reserved applications tend to proceed despite potential negative impacts.

A similar situation arose with Milford Haven Port Authority’s hotel development at Milford Marina, where councillors’ concerns were largely overruled by the existence of outline planning permission for the development.

Part of the proposal would see the former graving dock and timber pond infilled, the part demolition of existing slipways, and some buildings on site.

Both the graving dock and timber pond are Grade II listed. Buildings near the development are also listed, including the iconic Sunderland flying boat hangars.

The existing caisson gate currently in situ at the dock’s southern end would be removed and conserved. It is unique in Wales and a rare example. The planning report states that the caisson gate would remain within the marine environment without development and deteriorate. 

The development would include a new ‘super slipway’ built over the land extending into the River Cleddau and the construction of massive new industrial sheds to accommodate new marine technology.


The planning report claims the facilities erected will support anywhere between 288 and 975 full-time equivalent jobs in Pembrokeshire and make a substantial contribution to the local economy. However, the report also notes that the numbers of jobs claimed cannot be corroborated.

This proposal is linked to the establishment of the Marine Energy Test Areas (META), the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) and the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone (PDZ). These collectively comprise the Pembroke Dock Marine (PDM) project. 

The project forms part of the Swansea Bay City Deal to facilitate the next generation of marine renewable energy technology.

Companies who could potentially gain from the development have signalled their support from the proposal.Although their enthusiasm is predictable, the economic potential for local businesses cannot be ignored.


However, a raft of objections also exists.

The Council received representations from, among others: The Victorian Society; The Georgian Group; Hywel Dda University Health Board;  Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre; Pembrokeshire Historic Buildings Trust; Pembroke Civic Trust; Naval Dockyards Society; The Commodore Trust; Ridgway History Group.

Not all of those organisations objected to the principle of development. For example, Hywel Dda expressed concern about the potential effect on access to South Pembs Hospital and patient care. However, most criticised the impact on the historic environment of the Royal Dockyard. Individual objections also expressed the same concerns.

The Naval Dockyard Society points out that the Dockyard construction was the reason for Pembroke Dock’s creation as a town. Without it, the town would not exist.

The Society continues: ‘The proposed scheme would severely damage Pembroke Dock Conservation Area and crucial listed buildings. 

‘The Grade II* Graving Dock would be infilled and partially built over, the Grade II Timber Pond infilled and built over, and the Grade II Building Slips Nos 1 and 2 partially demolished and removed. It would also be detrimental to the adjacent Grade II Carr Jetty setting, which adds to the group value of these threatened structures at Pembroke Dockyard.

‘These structures are the last and most important features of the magnificent and unique assemblage of thirteen slips, graving dock and timber pond constructed and functioning 1809–1926. 

‘Pembroke Dock specialised in building warships during the transition from wood to iron and steel, sail to steam and turbines. 

‘While the eastern slips were sacrificed in 1979 for the Irish ferry terminal and the deep-water berth Quay 1, we now live in a more responsible era, when significant community assets merit planning protection.

‘The Royal Dockyard established at Pembroke Dock from 1809 was unique: the only one in Wales, the only one on the west coast of Britain, and the only one created solely as a shipbuilding facility. 

‘It built over 260 warships for the Royal Navy, including many of the most prestigious warships of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as five royal yachts. Many of these vessels were built on the two large slipways at the western end of the yard threatened by the current development proposal’.


William Gannon represents Pembroke Dock Town Council on the Milford Haven Port Authority. Mr Gannon recently hosted an online event that reviewed the application and gave local people the chance to express their views.

We asked him what the public had to say about the plans.

Listening to the community: David Gannon (photo credit: David Steel)

William Gannon told us: “The feeling of the Community following our Zoom Meeting was that we welcome the 1800 jobs and the £63 Million of investment that the Pembroke Dock Marine Project has promised. 

“However, the Community is concerned about the Pickling Pond and The Graving Dock’s loss, which will be buried beneath the new slipway. Both The Pickling Pond and The Graving Dock are Grade 2 Star listed heritage assets.

“The Community are also concerned about the size of the two ‘super sheds’ that may be built. It is felt that these sheds are both too large and ugly, and they will damage the appearance of the Dockyard and The Haven and could damage Pembroke Docks plans to develop Tourism in and around the Dockyard.

“Our Community is looking to strike a balance between the need to develop the Dockyard and to preserve our Heritage Assets. 

“We believe that we can do this by working with The Port to develop a solution that allows for both.”

The Port Authority plans to infill the dock and pond in such a way as to preserve the structures and excavate them in the future. Once they are built over, however, the circumstances that would be possible or even likely are unclear. 

The Port Authority also proposes to use digital media to provide an ‘augmented reality’ experience to show visitors what the Royal Dockyard looked like before its development.

The Port says that part of the land, the Carriage Drive, would be enhanced and restored under its plans for the site.
The balance between preserving heritage and creating future jobs in one of its pet project areas is one the Welsh Government will wrestle with on this application and others.

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Primary school teacher would ‘moan’ as he touched female pupils, court hears



A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher would “moan” while he touched his female pupils in a sexual way, a witness said in Swansea Crown Court.

In total, 11 former pupils, who were all under 13, have come forward and accused James Oulton, 34, of sexually assaulting them.

Oulton denies all the charges – saying the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he had behaved appropriately all times.

One of the pupils, who was in year four at the time, opened day four of the trial by giving evidence via a video link.

The girl told the court: “He would put his arm around by back and backside.”

Under cross examination Chris Clee QC, for the defence, asked the witness: “Did you tell the police that you were touched in an inappropriate way?”

The witness answered: “Yes, teachers should not be touching in that way.”

James Oulton

Asked if what he was doing wrong, the witness replied:

“Yes, very wrong”

In cross examination letters and cards were produced, made the witness whilst in school, where she had said Mr. James Oulton was “the best teacher in the whole world.”

One of the cards said: “You’ve made my life complete”.

Another card said: “Thank you for being so nice, and thanks for everything that you’ve done for me.”

The witness added: “Despite what he did do, he was a good teacher.  

“He used to buy us treats.

“He was nice caring and a sweet and fun teacher – but not what he was doing.

Referring to the cards, she said: “I would definitely not be saying that stuff now.”

Explaining how she told her parents the witness said: “Once I realised that [x] was in his class, I asked her ‘did he do this stuff to you?’

“She said yes.

“I realised more and more it was wrong and it was time to grow up now, and to speak.

“As soon as I found out that this was happening to [x] I stood up and told my parents.

Asked if she had seen inappropriate behaviour happening to anybody else the witness answered: “He did it to most of the girls in the class, but he had his favourites.

Asked if she had spoken to other girls about the touching, the witness said: “Yes, I was just curious was it just me, or was it normal?”

“Teachers should most definitely not be doing that to students.

“Doing what?”, the witness was asked, “You said in your police interview that he would pull you off your chair and make you sit on his lap, is that true?”

“Yes,” was the reply.

“Did you try and stop him?” she was asked.

“Yes, I tried to push him off sometimes and said, ‘get off its weird’, but I didn’t want to make a scene.

“He would make me sit on his lap whilst he was marking my work.”

When asked by the defence barrister how she was sat on her teacher’s lap, and if it was under a desk, the witness answered: “No, not under the desk, as both of our legs wouldn’t fit under.”

The witness also said that when she was sat on the defendant’s knee he would make “a low grunting noise.”

Asked if she had spoken others about this case, the girl said: “Police told my mum and dad that there were very many people involved in the case.

“I thought it was just me and [x] that was going to be at court, I only recently discovered that others had come out.”

A second female pupil was also giving evidence via video link. She was 9-years-old at the time of the alleged offending.

Firstly, a pre-recorded interview was played in court in which the witness said: “My teacher, Mr. Oulton always put his hand up my leg like that and up my t-shirt.”

She added: “If he calls you over and he pulls you onto his lap, if you don’t, he pulls your chair over and makes you.”

“How would he make you?” the QC asked.

“He would grab your arm, push you, and then pull you in”, she replied.

When asked if this was a one off, the witness said that the defendant “did it every day.”

“How would you be sat on his lap?”, she was asked.

“He would have one arm on my stomach, then the other arm would be rubbing my leg.”

“He would swap arms and then put one arm up my t-shirt.”

When asked to clarify if it was under her t-shirt the girl explained: “Yes it was under my t-shirt rubbing his hands up and down.”

The witness added: “If I tried to get up for work, he would just grab my arm.”

“He would make a funny sound like a hissing airplane.”

“We had a helper in the class, and when he came in, he would stop, and then I could go and sit down.”

The trial continues.

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New trees planted to help town



SEVERAL new trees have been planted on Riverside Avenue in Neyland.

They were planted by Grandiflora, courtesy of the Town Council which recently pledged to plant more trees in the town in an attempt to help the environment.

As well as helping the environment, the trees will prevent vehicles from being parked on the grass verges on Riverside Avenue, which had been severely churned up over the winter and looked unsightly.

The Town Council will be working with Pembrokeshire County Council regarding parking issues in Neyland.

The trees will be tended and watered over the summer period to ensure they reach their maximum potential and enhance the area for residents and visitors alike.

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