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‘Ambivalent’ label blamed on admin error

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admin errorMILFORD HAVEN Councillor, Viv Stoddart has received an apology after her views regarding the amalgamation of Hakin and Hubberston schools were misrepresented by Pembrokeshire County Council.

Cllr Stoddart told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Despite ticking the box for opposing the merger of the two schools, and attendant comments against the proposal, some functionary labelled me in the public document as “ambivalent.” Given the strong feeling amongst my constituents, this label is potentially damaging. The explanation from the Council was an admin error.”

Kate Evan-Hughes said in an email to Viv Stoddart: “Further to your comments regarding misrepresentation of your views in the consultation document, I have now been able to undertake a review of the correspondence and your online submission and can confirm that you did indeed make it clear that you objected to the option to amalgamate Hakin and Hubberston schools. Please accept my apology for this.”

“To remedy the situation the Cabinet member will make it clear at the start of the agenda item that we have received correspondence from you that your views have been misrepresented and that due to an administrative error the report will need to be amended to reflect the error. This will ensure that there is a formal minute of the change and this will then in turn be available publicly via the Council website.”

At the Cabinet meeting on Monday, February 10, Jamie Adams, leader of the Council, told committee members: “I have received a letter from Cllr Viv Stoddart which I will read out to you”.

Cllr Stoddart’s letter read: “The responses the authority has received are articulate, thoughtful, and responsible. Over 90% of the comments from the Hubberston School community are against the proposal to merge the two schools. The proposal needs to be set in context. Hakin and Hubberston are a single community.

“Parents are as one in supporting a long-overdue new build for Hakin Community School. This was promised when Hakin Infants and Juniors agreed to amalgamate in 2010/11 under the umbrella of the 21sC schools programme. The drive to amalgamate Hakin CS and Hubberston VC School came from this authority only last year, not from the community. There is no grass roots support for a merger, which will destroy much-valued parental choice. As the director reports, there is little appetite for the proposal. Hubberston School governors have been steadfast in their opposition to a merger.

“Estyn says that both schools currently offer a sound basis for developing primary education in the area in the future. Large schools do not automatically perform better than small schools. There is ample research to say this is not the case. And within the county Wolfscastle Community Primary School with just 36 pupils was recently ranked fourth amongst the best primary schools in Wales. It was the only one in the county to make the top twenty. Estyn also notes that the key factor in a school’s success is good leadership.

“There is a precedent for maintaining Hubberston as a separate school. Llangwm and Burton schools amalgamated some time ago, and are now housed as Cleddau Reach VC School (193 pupils aged 3-11) in a new building on the edge of Llangwm. Hook (94 pupils aged 3-11) which is less than a mile away from Cleddau Reach chose not to merge.

The authority seems comfortable with this situation, and the education provided by this thriving small school, which is akin to the good education provided by Hubberston VC school (134 pupils aged 3-11).”

The statement concluded: “If the consultation process is to be meaningful, I ask you to fulfil the promise this authority made three years’ ago to the community: to construct new premises for Hakin Community School; and to listen to the many voices in the community who oppose the proposal. They wish for Hubberston VC School to continue as a very successful, all-through primary school.”

There were three recommendations in the report: To establish a single all-through medium school, to retain the status quo and to deliver a new build just for Hakin School.

However, after considering the letter from Cllr Stoddart and the view that there was little support for those proposals, it was decided that they should defer from making a decision to further consider the options available.

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Police Tasered teenager in Hakin following car theft

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A SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD boy who resisted arrest after stealing a vehicle and driving it around Glebelands in Hakin in the middle of the night had to be Tasered, police have said.

The Herald understands that police were called after the teenager took a white car at 3am and started doing loops around the estate. Police units moved in blocking off side roads to keep the vehicle within a confined area, and finally he was arrested and taken into custody.

Some residents in the street who had been woken up by the incident contacted this newspaper.
The boy was not hurt.

A witness said: “The police wanted him detained but he was having none of it, chopsing the police. Next minute they fired and he fell straight to the floor like a log, but not before he had been chased through someone’s garden.”

“He was acting extremely aggressively and I think the police had no option.”

A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald in a prepared statement: A 17-year-old male was arrested in Glebelands in Hakin on suspicion of aggravated taking a vehicle without owner’s consent, driving without a licence and driving without insurance, at around 3.35am on Friday, 16 October.

The male resisted arrest and was Tasered to prevent him causing any injury to himself or members of the public.

He did not require any medical attention.

He has been charged to appear at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on November 6.

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Vulnerable man targeted by rogue trader

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A ROGUE trader has been ordered to pay almost £2,000 by a court after carrying out shocking DIY work for a vulnerable Jameston man.

Pembrokeshire Trading Standards prosecuted 20-year-old Douggie James Whitbread who traded as Wales and West Property Solution.

Haverfordwest Magistrates were told on Friday (Oct 23) that a joint investigation with Dyfed-Powys Police discovered that Whitbread of 8 Coldwell Terrace, Pembroke, first approached the 66-year-old victim in the summer of 2019.

After agreeing to cut the man’s grass, Whitbread made regular accompanied visits looking for other jobs and pressurising the pensioner to have them done.

The victim did not know him as Douggie Whitbread as the defendant gave a false name.

Whitbread offered to fit new floor lino in the toilet and small adjoining passageway of the victim’s home, saying he would do a good job. Instead, the court heard, he and a fellow worker spent less than an hour and charged £300.

The standard of the work was shocking and showed Whitbread’s inept ability. Jagged edges and numerous gaps were left where it had not been fitted correctly, exposing the existing floor underneath.

Despite there being enough lino on the two metre by two metre roll, Whitbread told the victim he needed more to finish the job.

A few weeks later the victim was approached by Whitbread at a bus stop near his home. He said he would return the next day to finish the work and that he wanted another £300.

The victim informed a neighbour and Pembrokeshire County Council’s Trading Standards team and when Whitbread returned he was arrested by police.

Whitbread was also questioned about another incident involving hedge-cutting for an elderly lady and admitted taking away the waste as advertised on his business flyer. However, he did not hold a Waste Carrier Licence at the time.

Whitbread admitted four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These were: carrying out work not fit for purpose; trading without professional diligence; omitting to give required information for doorstep contracts and advertising and conducting waste removal services when not licensed.

A £200 fine was imposed for each offence together with £1,000 costs plus a £110 victim surcharge. A compensation order for £300 was also awarded to the victim and a restraining order imposed prohibiting Whitbread from approaching the pensioner indefinitely.

“I am appalled by the standard of work and how this vulnerable gentleman has been hounded and taken advantage of” said Sandra McSparron, Lead Trading Standards Officer. She added that the incidents had left the victim anxious and unwell.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cris Tomos, said: “This court case sends a clear warning to rogue traders that targeting the elderly and vulnerable for financial gain will not be tolerated. We will pursue and prosecute all those who commit such despicable crimes.”

Councillor Tomos also said the case showed the great community spirit of Jameston residents looking out for one another and was a fine example of successful partnership work between the police and Trading Standards.

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Drug driver arrested in Milford Haven after driving through stop sign and into roadworks

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A DRUG driver who drove through a stretch of roadworks on the wrong side of the road, before hitting a parked car and trying to hide from police has appeared in court.

Christopher John Brown led Dyfed-Powys Police officers on a pursuit through Milford Haven on Friday afternoon (October 23), putting pedestrians and other road users at risk.

Pembrokeshire Roads Policing Unit have thanked people for their help in tracing the 31-year-old, of Meyler Crescent, after the manner of his driving became so dangerous they could no longer follow him.

A Roads Policing Officer had attempted to stop Brown at around 1pm when he was seen driving out of The Mount estate at speed.

However, he failed to stop when requested and sped away in his BMW.

As police followed, Brown drove on the wrong side of the road, overtook a number of cars waiting at roadworks, and drove through a stop sign, forcing an off duty officer to take evasive action as the defendant drove towards him.

Police deemed the danger level too high to continue the pursuit when Brown drove through a coned area of roadworks where there were a number of people working.

At this point, members of the public pointed out to officers which direction he had driven in.

Brown went on to collide with a parked car, before getting out of his vehicle and attempting to hide behind another. He was found by a PC, who arrested him on suspicion of dangerous driving and administered a drug wipe.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesman said: “This was a highly dangerous incident, during which Brown put a number of people’s lives at risk.

“Driving through a stop sign and into a coned area of roadworks was simply beyond comprehension, and could have had a tragic outcome.

“As we decided to end the pursuit, we were assisted by a number of people, and the team would like to thank members of the public in Milford Haven for their help in tracing Brown.

“Your support is greatly appreciated.”

Brown was charged with dangerous driving, driving with no insurance, driving while disqualified, failing to stop when requested by police, and possession of cannabis.

His vehicle, which had no insurance, tax or mot, was also seized.

He was remanded to appear in front of the next available court, and admitted all five offences at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, October 24. He also pleaded guilty to an additional charge of driving whilst unfit through drugs, which was laid on at court.

He will be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on November 16.

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