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New Sainsbury’s and housing estate get the go ahead

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720 new houses to include 180 ‘affordable homes’

New £30m Haverfordwest supermarket promises 310 jobs

Plans include petrol station, sewage plant and roundabout

Council admits ‘slightly negative’ effect on the town centre

 

 

PEMBROKESHIRE County Council’s planning committee gave the provisional go ahead for a major development of over seven hundred houses, and full planning permission for Sainsbury’s to build a £30m flag ship store and petrol station on green field on Tuesday.  The site, to the north of Thomas Parry Way in Haverfordwest, has been earmarked for development for nearly ten years.

The multi million pound scheme promises bring 310 permanent and part time retail jobs to Haverfordwest as well as creating further employment over the lengthy construction phase of the project.

In the face of objections form the Haverfordwest Civic Society, two local councillors and some nearby residents, Cllr Brian Hall told a packed committee room: “What message does a refusal to this application send to a major developer. This is a massive injection of cash. Haverfordwest is supposed to be the county town, but it has now slipped.”

Joking that Pembroke Dock had now taken over as the new shopping destination of Pembrokeshire Cllr Hall said: “This development will bring a massive amount of jobs and by building these projects is how we get out of economic recession.”

“This project will lead to a massive increase in footfall to Haverfordwest. At the moment, people are encouraged to travel east to Carmarthen” he added.

“I have the great pleasure in moving this application for approval” Cllr. Hall concluded.

Committee member Cllr Peter Stock said: “I have looked at this very carefully and although we need to look after the existing residents we have to consider that there are not enough plots in Haverfordwest. We as a Council, recognise the need for building.”

He continued: “My great love is for both Pembrokeshire and Haverfordwest, and I would die for those two places. What we are trying to do is improve the centre of our town, and here’s an opportunity to work with a major developer. We are loosing out to Carmarthen at the moment.”

Cllr Stock said: “Car parking in Haverfordwest is also a concern. In summer months every car park is chock-a-block. This new development adds free three hour car parking spaces within walking distance of the town centre. Haverfordwest Chamber of Trade supports this development. They know this development will draw people into the town centre. For too many years we have let our river go. We need plans to strengthen it. We can take this as a chance to put things right. No one complains about Tesco! Sainsbury’s will not have so many houses next to it as Tesco.”

He finished: “I have got to support this, but I will be careful to safeguard the residents.”

Councillors Lyndon Frayling, IPPG, and Thomas Tudor, Labour, were given permission address the Planning Committee because their wards were in or near the development site. They said the project would not be in the interests of the residents of Oakwood Grove, Sycamore Grove and Slade lane areas. Cllr Frayling said: “The location of this development is detrimental to nearby houses, there will be a high level of traffic, noise pollution and light pollution from the supermarket. There are also concerns that a roundabout will cause long delays encouraging people to drive back onto City Road rather than use Thomas Parry Way, which was designed as a relief road. I advise refusal for those reasons.”

Cllr. Tudor spoke of “the serious detrimental effects” of the development on its neighbours and highlighted evidence from New Scientist about a study in France where researchers found that “Children living next door to a petrol station had a quadrupled risk of leukaemia. And the risk of developing acute non-lymphoblastic leukaemia was seven times greater compared with children who lived in the same area, but not next to a petrol station.”

Councillor Tom Tudor read a letter of objection he had sent to the planning department which we have reprinted in full in the letters pages of this edition.

Cllr. Sue Perkins countered these arguments by saying: “I have a Tesco in my ward but no problems with lighting or noise pollution. It will be fine.”

David Jones, agent for Conygar, the company developing the site told the committee: “I commend the council’s officers for a report on this development which is coherent and well balanced. It includes a number of robust submissions. Financial realities have meant that there has been little progress with this site in seven years. Sainsbury’s now makes this all possible. The new store will cross-subsidises the wider development. This project includes 180 affordable homes, a new sewerage treatment works, a £30m investment by Sainbury’s and a further investment of £5m-£6m in additional infrastructure for the town. This development will bring further choice, reduced prices for consumers and help prevent the leakage of business to other counties through this truly sustainable development. Sainsbury’s in the UK’s greenest grocer. They stock over 3,000 locally sourced products and are the biggest buyer of Welsh lamb.”

Richard Evans, retired, who lives at one of the houses nearest to where the supermarket will be built raised objections. “I think the greater majority of people think that supply already outweighs demand where supermarkets are concerned. I have read the Council report. It states ‘there is no retail need for a large store at Slade Lane South’.

Mr Evans also questioned if there was a need for new houses in the area: “Cawdor barracks will be closing soon putting the whole of the Cashfields Estate onto the housing market” he said.

“In the documentation we can see that all sorts of environmental considerations have been made for badgers, foxes and other wildlife, but not much consideration for the residents who will be blighted by this totally unnecessary development plan. This is another nail in the coffin for our town. The Haverfordwest Civic Society discussed this on March 6, and concluded that there is no need for this development and recommended refusal.

Cllr Pugh said at the meeting: “The deliverability of hosuing is important. The proposal will deliver housing at a time when there are currently 4068 people on the housing waiting list in Pembrokeshire. We live in a county where housing is desperately needed. In regards to the retail, I have had meetings with the Chamber of Trade and Town Council . The Chamber of Trade see this as a key development for the centre.”

“This is a huge investment showing confidence in Haverfordwest. I have no hesitation in supporting this” he added.

Cllr Keith Lewis added his view: “I find myself at the end of such eloquence its left me with little to say. Let’s make it clear to the developer that we welcome this project. Cllr Frayling make good paints on behalf of the residents but the planning department will take into consideration the points that he raised. Additional car parking on the town side would be a good idea, to help people get to the units in the town centre. That will secure Haverfordwest town centre for years.”

He concluded with a demand to his fellow Councillors: “Lets grasp this with two hands and say YES! We’ll go ahead with it!”

On a vote, the application for the homes and supermarket were passes unanimously with one member, Cllr. Price, obtaining because of a financial interest.

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Simon’s Hart to Hart with Pembroke constituent

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SIMON HART has got into a heated doorstep discussion with a Pembroke pensioner whilst canvasing for next week’s general election.

Michael Hart, 70, who is no relation to Simon Hart, contacted The Herald at lunchtime today (5 December) to say that he had been in a heated discussion with the Tory incumbent, who was out door-knocking on his street.

The argument was sparked by the swastika saga – as exclusively reported in last week’s Herald – in which Simon Hart REFUSES to account for the appearance of offensive Nazi graffiti on one of his election placards, two years after it was taken down from public display.

Simon Hart photographed the placard in question in 2017 – at which point the only evidence of graffiti it bore was written text. But he posted a new photograph of the same placard to kickstart his re-election campaign last month, in which two swastikas are visible where none appeared before.

The MP is still refusing to give any public explanation, and has threatened legal action against those speculating over what he says is “demonstrably untrue.”
Since being reported by his favourite local weekly, Michael Hart tells us that he noticed how Simon Hart was still keeping quiet on the swastikas’ appearance – despite being approached by journalists reporting on the matter for the Independent, Daily Mirror, iNews and Western Mail titles.

Earlier this week WalesOnline reported that, when approached, Simon Hart failed to offer “an explanation as to how the swastika signs ended up on the election board, or who might be responsible”, but he told them: “Any suggestion that I had anything to do with this is malicious, false and defamatory and lawyers have been instructed”.

Michael Hart tells the Herald that he became aware Simon Hart was out campaigning on Kingsbridge Drive at lunchtime, when the candidate’s poster landed on his doormat.

The retiree says that the swastika issue led to the disagreement – in which words were exchanged and threats of legal action were inferred made towards him by the government minister.

Michael Hart, a retired teacher and mechanical engineer, said that he tackled Simon Hart to explain how the swastikas came about. He says his prodding produced what he calls a “tentative explanation” from the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire incumbent, which he finds “hard to believe”.

“I opened my door and went out to the drive, and politely said I did not want the poster. A few moments later, Simon Hart came up the road and onto my drive.

“I complained to him about two things – the Conservatives’ illegal proroguing of Parliament, and all that I’ve read about his publishing of the photo on his Facebook page of his defaced election board with the swastikas on.

“When I asked him about the signs, he got agitated, angry, and threatened me with legal action, and said he would pursue anybody who made out that he had anything to do with it”.

“On pushing him further, he told me how he thinks they got there. He says when his signs were in storage in a shed, that the shed was broken into, and a large number of placards including the swastika placard were ‘damaged or defaced’ for a second time!

“It really is quite some theory – and if it is true now, then it was true last week when the issue was first exposed. So why didn’t he mention this before now, when the Herald and other papers started asking him questions, or why didn’t he contact the police?

“Why was it when he put the poster on Facebook did he not then explain how the swastikas got there?

“I’m not sure why but he was recording our conversation on his phone. At the end of the visit no one from Mr Hart’s party would accept the poster back – so I threw it in the road and then it was picked up.”

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Jeremy Corbyn 100% confirmed to visit Pembrokeshire this weekend

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LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn will be visiting Pembrokeshire this weekend to shore up support for Labour candidates in the area.

Although the exact itinerary has not yet been confirmed, Labour HQ in Cardiff has confirmed to The Pembrokeshire Herald that Mr Corbyn will definitely be in attendance.

Mr Corbyn will be keen to rally votes for Philippa Thompson, who is standing in the Preseli Pembrokeshire seat – the second most marginal in the UK.

At the 2017 election she lost to Stephen Crabb by just 314 votes.

An email sent out to Labour members states: “Jeremy Corbyn will be in Haverfordwest to talk about how we win a better society, and we hope you can join him.

“This election is a once in a generation chance for us. Together we can reverse a decade of austerity. Take power from the billionaires, the bad bosses and the big polluters and give it to workers, young people, communities and everyone the Tories have failed for so long.

“We’re coming together to make our voices heard in Haverfordwest this weekend. This is about getting together, being inspired, and making a difference in the final week.”

The exact location will be sent out to those who register to attend, the email ads. The indoor rally is expected to start at 5.30pm.

Corbyn’s supporters said they hope that their leader will also attend an outdoor rally taking place in Haverfordwest town centre, at a location to be confirmed, the same afternoon.

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Haverfordwest boy caught taking drugs by officers thirty miles away

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A TEENAGE boy was arrested in Haverfordwest last week, after he was caught smoking cannabis on CCTV cameras which are monitored in Carmarthen (on Nov 28).

As part of the ongoing effort to crack down on anti-social behaviour in the town centre, known as Operation Spitfire, Haverfordwest Inspector, Reuben Palin, was at police headquarters, where the cameras are monitored, when he spotted the boy on-screen.

He saw a group of teenagers known to police, and the camera operator was able to zoom in for a closer look at their activities. After a call to local officers, they quickly arrived at the scene. The group was searched and one of the youths was arrested for possessing the class B drug.

Insp. Palin said: “We’re doing all we can to address community concerns about anti-social behaviour in Haverfordwest, and this includes putting the town’s new CCTV system to best use.

“Seeing the capability of the cameras in live-time has shown that CCTV is not just useful when an incident has occurred, but can also help us monitor what’s happening in town, and will hopefully deter bad behaviour.

“Obviously this can’t replace good old fashioned foot patrols, and we have a plan that sees CCTV complementing a visible police presence.”

The teenage boy arrested on suspicion of possessing the small amount of cannabis admitted the offence, and will be dealt with by the Youth Offending Team to ensure he gets support for his drug use.

He continued: “We are also working with other agencies, in particular the council, which has recently opened a drop-in centre for young people at No 2 Old Bridge, with the aim of offering a wide range of activities and opportunities that reflect their interests.

“While we have a strategy to minimise anti-social behaviour in this area, we would like to remind parents that the actions of their children are not the responsibility of the police. We urge you to be aware of what your children are doing, and where they are spending their time.

“No one should have to put up with anti-social behaviour and I would encourage the community to contact Haverfordwest Police to report any issues or concerns.”

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