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Pembroke: Councillor charged with child sex offences to retain seat

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THE COUNCIL ward of Pembroke St Mary North still has a representative after it was revealed that Cllr Dai Boswell, referred to in Thursday’s (Mar 8) Full Council meeting as Cllr X, has complied with the attendance requirements.

It was believed that Cllr Boswell had not been present at a meeting of the council since August 14, 2017 and the Council had been urged to declare his seat vacant.

However, the council took external advice from James Goudie QC, who believed that a meeting, held on November 22, 2017, which Cllr Boswell attended, did constitute a council meeting.

Members went along with the recommendation of the Monitoring Officer who stated that Section 86 of the Local Government Act could not lawfully be invoked.

Dai Boswell was elected as Councillor for the Pembroke St Mary North Electoral Division in 2017 but has failed to attend the legal minimum number of meetings in order to keep his seat.

Mr Boswell is also facing trial for historic allegations of child sex abuse, a completely separate issue to his failure to comply with attendance requirements.

The Council’s Monitoring Officer has taken the position that a seminar and other meetings, which Mr Boswell has attended, does count as a council meeting, and therefore he should remain a councillor, something which was questioned by the Association of Labour Councillors.

They have sent two letters to the Council, urging them to declare Mr Boswell’s seat vacant, but have yet to have a reply from the Council’s legal department.

If seminars were Council meetings, the Council’s Legal Department would have been able to provide minutes of those meetings.

Council meetings, by law, are subject to rules in relation to publishing the agenda, setting out the timetable, clear rules in regards to voting, and minute taking but these rules do not apply to seminars.

Councillors have also been a sent a document by the monitoring officer, warning them not to say anything which might prejudice criminal proceedings.

The matter was brought to a head at the Full Council meeting on Thursday (Mar 8), where a question from a Mr D Edwards was read out.

He asks: “Does the Leader agree with the Monitoring Officer’s view that non advertised, informal, unminuted, private, members only seminars are meetings as described in Section V para 85 (2) of the Local Government Act 1972?”

The leader, Cllr David Simpson responded saying that it was difficult to recognise the members seminar as a meeting as set out by the Local Government Act of 1972.

But, he went on to say that having received the advice of QC Mr James Goudie he was contempt to accept that attendance at Seminars does satisfy the attendance requirements.

Cllr Simpson also referred to a meeting hosted jointly by the Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in November 22, 2017, which Cllr Boswell attended.

Later on in the meeting, members were asked to discuss the Pembroke St Mary North Electoral Division in private session.

Councillors instead decided that the matter should be held in public and in a recorded vote, 26 voted to go into private session, with 31 voting against.

Cllr Josh Beynon said he disagreed with the Monitoring Officer’s opinion and said the matter was all about interpretation.

Cllr Mike Stoddart said if the Richardson case was correct anyone could get elected, never come to a meeting and after five years pick up a salary of £65,000 for attending 10 meetings of a planning committee as a spectator, adding: “If that is the law, it needs changing.”

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “The first set of advice was very unclear but there was a complete change of tone in the second one. The Monitoring Officer was not aware of the Green Infrastructure meeting and the budget seminar that Cllr X attended.

“What’s happened since is an attempt to bolster this council’s view.

“The Green event is the one the QC is pinning the most weight on. The LUC was appointed to advise the council and the QC places a lot of weight on this as an important event. This was not open to the public, not open to councillors, it was a select few that were invited by the company.”

Cllr Mike Stoddart concluded by saying that Cllr X had complied with the law and therefore section 85 of the Local Government Act should not be invoked.

That was supported by all but one member, Cllr Rhys Sinnett, who abstained from the vote.

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‘Multiple serious injuries’ after Haven Hotel incident, say police

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POLICE arrested a man who caused “mayhem” in a Milford Haven pub on Sunday evening (Mar 17).

Police said that a male suspected of causing “multiple serious injuries” had been detained, but the investigation was ongoing into reports of serious violence. Milford police were assisted by officers from Tenby in tracking down and arresting the suspect.

A witness told The Herald that a man, who was not a regular customer of the premises “went mad” – knocking an older drinker, a gentleman, off his stool – punching the licensee in the head – and breaking the arm of a barmaid.

It is not known why the man acted violently in the premises, and it is understood he was not known to the management or other customers.

The witness said: “I saw three or more police vehicles outside The Haven – maybe five officers – there was a lot of confusion. The suspect in the case has already fled, but was later found and arrested – possibly in another pub nearby.”

“I saw one injured person, a female, being treated in an ambulance.”

A police Twitter account posted: “Police have responded to an incident last night at around 8.15pm where multiple people received serious injuries. Police were on scene at Hamilton Terrace quickly and the suspect was arrested. The investigation is still ongoing.”

“Code B response team would like to thank PCSOs Brown and Osmolak for staying on duty to assist and also to the attending Tenby police officers for providing resilience.”

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Milford Waterfront development promoted at prestigious international property event

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MILFORD WATERFRONT was one of six Welsh projects to be showcased by the Department of International Trade at MIPIM, an international property event.

Part of Wales’ first property portfolio, which is worth £1.19 billion, the Milford Waterfront development is being recognised as a leading investment opportunity in Wales, with a focus on the development of a 10,000m² indoor immersive digital experiential leisure attraction.

The Milford Waterfront development represents the ambition of the Port of Milford Haven to significantly increase visitor numbers to Milford Haven, both drawing on and supporting the thriving tourism industry in Pembrokeshire, by developing a leisure-led, mixed-use destination that significantly expands the facilities and assets surrounding the existing 300-berth marina.

Neil Jenkins, Development Director, Port of Milford Haven commented: “Being acknowledged as one of the leading developments not only in Wales but in the UK is an incredible recognition for Milford Waterfront.

“This is a bold project but one that we are passionate about. It forms part of a wider business strategy to diversify into new markets and create new economic opportunities not just for the Port but for the entire region. We have a fantastic opportunity to revitalise the marina and docks and create a unique destination that Pembrokeshire and Wales can be proud of and we are excited to be showcasing that at MIPIM.”

The event took place in Cannes, France between March 12 and March 15.

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Residents ‘let down’ over new Jameston homes

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38 NEW homes could be built in Jameston, Tenby, if approved by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s officers.

Members of the Park’s Development Management Committee gave their support for delegated approval to be given and there were no less than 31 conditions attached to the application.

The new homes could be built on land opposite Bush Terrace but there were objections from residents and Manorbier Community Council.

Cllr Phil Kidney raised concerns about the affordable homes being built on a separate part of the site to others saying it would create a ‘them and us’ situation.

He went on to state his unease with the plans and said the residents felt ‘very let down’ by the National Park.

Objecting to the plans, Mary Sinclair said: “Planning notices were not seen, if they were seen, they were not there. Nobody saw a notice advertising this application.

“The National Park doesn’t have a policy to prevent these being sold off as second homes. The proposal is also contrary to Welsh Government’s policy on farmland.

“In 2017, a replacement system was introduced which has to be used. This is the best and most versatile land and should be protected for future generations.

“The wall crossing the site cannot just be moved, it is part of the landscape. We would be left with a stark line of homes with no childrens playground, no safe walking route to school.

Where is the well-being of future generations? There are no solar panels, the gardens aren’t large enough and this project is building over land with the highest protection possible.

There has to be an extra-ordinary reason for you to approve this.”

Applicant Harry Thomas responded to some of the points raised saying: “The application is presented as it is. We don’t have the scale and size to build affordable homes and sell them off.

“We will be using a smaller developer, using local trade.

“Jameston will not see 38 new homes built in the next 12 months. We have been working on this application with the National Park for many years. To go at a fast pace would be far worse.

This allows us to create more work in the winter months.”

Cllr Kidney then read out a letter from Mr Ray Hughes, chairman of Manorbier Community Council.

He stated that many issues had not been considered fairly and that over 30 members of the public attended a meeting discussing the application.

Mr Hughes also spoke on the Government’s policy to encourage children to walk to school adding that a footpath should be installed.
Cllr Tony Wilcox said he found it ‘difficult’ how there was no section 106 agreement towards a footpath to the school but an officer stated that a footpath could be installed in the future.

Cllr Mike Evans questioned what affordable housing was adding that these new homes would be social housing which would be rented out by a registered landlord.

Cllr Kidney then gave his own views on the application saying: “There is a lay-by in front of Bush Terrace and there are going to be two entrances.

“I have got no problem with the development, the stone wall has been a big feature of Jameston. This is creating a development with affordable homes separate to the others. That is just creating a them and us situation and that is a big fault. The affordable housing should be integrated in.

“There is a lot of concern here. There is no problem with space so I don’t know why we need to encroach. We could make bigger gardens, this is about giving everybody a fair crack at the whip. There is a lot of discomfort about it, the residents feel very let down that none of the points raised were considered. It is not fair on them but there is not a lot we can do about it and I want to state my unease with this development.”

When it was put to a vote the committee were unanimous in giving delegated authority for the plans to be approved.

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