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Councillor Pugh in a stew

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pugh in a stewPEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s Cabinet member Cllr David Pugh has issued an “unreserved apology” over remarks he made during a sustained and savage attack on Hakin’s Cllr Mike Stoddart at last Thursday’s county council meeting when the controversial property grants in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock were debated.

Cllr Pugh asserted that Cllr Stoddart had made false claims on his website (oldgrumpy.co.uk) regarding the area of rendering at the grant-aided project No. 25 Dimond Street, Pembroke Dock.

According to the website, the area of hack off and re-render to the front and rear elevations in the tender (125 sq m) exceed that shown on the drawings (50 sq m) by two-and-a-half times and the area of paintwork to the same render (300 sq m) by six times.

Cllr Stoddart estimated that this over measurement had let to an inflation of the grant awarded by between £7,000 and £9,000.

But Cllr Pugh said he had visited the premises and, on accessing the backyard, discovered that Cllr Stoddart had failed to take into consideration a “third side elevation” measuring 8 m x 7 m which accounted for most of the discrepancy in the tender.

He told his fellow councillors:

“So whether this was a deliberate untruth, or sheer incompetence on his behalf in not checking the facts, I’ll leave you to decide”.

In response to this attack on his honesty and competence, Mike Stoddart posted photographs on his website that proved conclusively that this “third side elevation” to the rear of No. 25 was a figment of Cllr Pugh’s imagination.

He emailed Cllr Pugh demanding that this slur be withdrawn and on Wednesday morning the cabinet member replied admitting that the “third side elevation” belonged to a different building altogether. Cllr Pugh wrote to Cllr Stoddart, copying in all council members, “I freely admit that we made a mistake in looking at the rear of the properties in Dimond Street and confused Nos 25 and 27. I take full responsibility for the genuine error and hereby offer an unreserved apology for the remarks I made in Council regarding the rendering of no 25 Dimond Street.

“Having said that, I hope you will also take the opportunity to put on record that most of your allegations regarding these grant schemes have proved to be without foundation and incorrect.”

Mike Stoddart told The Herald: “It is rather ironic that, after accusing me of incompetence for not checking the facts, we now find Cllr Pugh admitting that his intemperate attack on me was based on the wrong property.

“At least he was in the right street.

“I would have expected him to have been accompanied on this visit by one of the council’s officers involved with these projects, so it is difficult to understand how he came to make such a schoolboy error.

“And it is a strange sort of ‘unreserved apology’ that is conditional on me admitting I was wrong about everything else.

“Cllr Pugh should realise that all I have ever written on this subject has been founded on careful research, including, as he now knows to his cost, my calculations regarding the rendering at No. 25 Dimond Street.

“During his poisonous attack he also accused me of conducting ‘a campaign of innuendo and smear’ and of making allegations ‘without any evidence – just his unjustified opinions and self-proclaimed expertise’.”

“Not satisfied with that, he concluded that I had made ‘many more spurious claims’ and that ‘getting at the truth is apparently not on his agenda’.”

“He even went so far as to suggest I was, like the fictional Don Quixote, afflicted by madness.

“As his apology is restricted only to his false claims about No. 25, none of this has been retracted.

“That is not a situation that I intend should endure.

“Finally, I hope that, having deployed their block vote to reject my notice of motion calling for more information on these grants to be released to elected members, the IPPG’s lemmings are feeling proud of themselves.

“And I have posted further information on the tender for No 25 on my website that Cllr Pugh might find of interest.”

Cllr Paul Miller told The Herald:

“Cllr David Pugh has, over the last few weeks, viciously attacked both Cllr Stoddart and myself for daring to question the oversight he, cabinet and officers have been giving to these grant schemes in Pembroke Dock. He even suggested during Thursday’s council meeting that Cllr Stoddart’s questioning of the rendering to 25 Diamond Street proved that he was either deliberately misleading council or incompetent. Well, this revelation proves two things. (1) That it is Cllr Pugh who is either incompetent or has been deliberately misleading council and (2) That there is indeed an issue with the grant paid for the rending of number 25 Diamond Street.”

He added: “So, over to the Pembrokeshire Public. Do you trust Cllr Pugh and Cllr Adams to get to the bottom of this? I’m afraid I don’t and I’m also afraid that my confidence in Cllr Pugh has been irreversibly damaged by this very unfortunate episode.”

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School staff video spreads positive message to students

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A VIDEO featuring hundreds of Pembrokeshire educators, teachers and support staff is spreading a positive message to their students and around the world.
The video, set to the Madness hit ‘It Must Be Love’, features all staff from the education world in Pembrokeshire from hub schools to staff in their own homes, writing uplifting and supporting messages to their students.

It has been a difficult time for teachers, staff and students, with schools closed for the vast majority of pupils due to the coronavirus outbreak.
And the video underlines that the education world, including teachers, is thinking of their students and urging them to remain upbeat.
Positive messages include ‘keep moving forward’, ‘keep calm, stay safe, look after each other’, ‘keep smiling’ and ‘we will get through this’.
There are also messages of support for key workers and NHS staff.
And the final video – which went from idea to release in just two days – has been a hit on social media, reaching more than 33,000 people in less than a week.
It has attracted supportive comments from Canada to Australia.
Educators rallied to the call to get involved in the Together Educate project which was the idea of Kelly Monroe, Schools Curriculum Manager with Really Pro who provide innovative alternative education services to secondary schools across the county.
Kelly, along with teachers from HHVC school Kate Hudson-Brown, Mollie Hughes, Rhian Owens, and videographer Dean Harries from We The Dee set about getting all educational staff involved in the project.
As well as filming at hubs which have remained open to cater for children of key workers, such as Milford Haven and Haverfordwest High School, an essential ingredient was to get school staff who are currently are at home to join via video link.
And when the time came, the response from the educational world was incredible.
“We didn’t really know what the response would be,” Kelly explained.
“But when we turned on we were absolutely blown away.
“We had to get extra screens just to try to fit everyone in. We had about 300 people wanting to get involved.
“The whole idea was about bringing people together and what shone through is the way that teachers and school staff are missing their students, missing the buzz and the noise of school life and missing what they are fantastic at – educating and teaching.”
The messages that have flooded in following the video have been full of support.
One from a NHS worker said they had suffered a bad day but the video had greatly lifted their spirits.
Kelly added: “The response has been overwhelming. It was a balancing act to bring some joy without being flippant at the situation.
“It was eerie filming in some of the empty classrooms and corridors.
At times I felt quite tearful and overwhelmed because when you love this profession seeing an empty classroom is actually hard to absorb especially when you know what’s going on outside in the world, and you care about the kids.
“But the video’s aim was not to focus on the situation but be full of positivity and the message is that those classrooms and corridors will be full of life again.
“We may not know exactly when but they will and when they are all the amazing educators, support staff and teachers will be there ready to greet our pupils with energy and gratitude”
Together Educate Facebook page has also re-released a video entitled ‘The Gift of Kindness’ filmed in Milford Haven School with Really Pro and the staff and pupils from the school which was originally shared on social media in December 2019.
The video has taken on extra meaning in the current circumstances.

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Pembrokeshire suspends car parking charges for NHS, health and social care workers

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is to waive charges in its car parks for NHS, health and social care workers from Thursday, April 2.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licencing and Major Events, Cllr Phil Baker, said: “We are very aware that the car parks provide our NHS, health and social care workers with access to essential services such as food and medical supplies.

“The Council will, from today, waive car park fees for this group of workers and this will remain in place during the current lockdown.

“These critical workers will be encouraged to display supporting evidence in their windscreen, such as photocopies of their work pass – with any sensitive information removed – or a letter of evidence from their employer as their parking permit.”

Councillor Baker said the decision would be reviewed in line with Welsh and UK Government guidelines.

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Public bus services change in Pembrokeshire

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Due to the current situation there are a number of changes required
to public bus services in Pembrokeshire.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing
and Major Events, Councillor Phil Baker, said: “Changes are required
in order to respond to the Coronavirus situation, and to continue to
maintain services to key locations such as hospitals, GP surgeries,
pharmacies and certain food stores.

“The timetable information on the Council’s website will be kept up-to-
date but unfortunately it is not possible to update the information
displayed at all bus stops.

“These arrangements may be subject to further change at short
notice, and I would ask that anyone wanting to use public transport
services to please visit our website or ring 01437 764551 for the latest
up to date information.”

The one-day-a-week timetable for Coastal Buses (387/8, 400, 404
and 405) will remain until further notice.

Both Community Transport and the Bus Buddies service are

A full list of all public bus services in Pembrokeshire and the current
service provision is listed below. A number of services will be
operated on a dial-a-ride basis.

suspended until further notice.

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