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‘Bigoted, small minded council’ are ‘wrong’ to object to home for the autistic

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A COUNTY COUNCILLOR and planning committee member has blasted a community council on Facebook for objecting to a care home being opened in Haverfordwest because there could be too many autistic people near to a school.

A shocked Cllr Joshua Beynon told the Herald: “If this was about black people or Muslims then this would be national news”.

On Facebook the Councillor wrote: “I was outraged to read that members of Merlins Bridge Community Council were concerned about ‘the level of autistic residents’ in their letter objecting to the care home.”

He added: “This bigoted, small minded response should not be tolerated from anyone in the 21st century, especially members of a council and this should be called out at every opportunity.”

Rachel Johnson, Clerk to Merlins Bridge Community Council was asked by its members to write to Pembrokeshire County Council to raise objects to the proposed development. The project is to enable adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to live in the community, in a caring, domestic environment, with an existing pair of semi-detached dwellings which need little alteration on order to accommodate this change of use.

One of the objections raised in the letter, in addition to the likelihood that property prices would be adversely affected, was ‘concerns about the level of autism that residents are living with’.

The letter of objection added: “This can vary largely and there are worries about the proximity to the school.”
In response, Pembrokeshire County Council Planning Committee member, Joshua Beynon, has written to the community council asking them to explain their bizarre, and potentially prejudicial, objection.

In his email he wrote: “Yesterday we were deciding whether or not to approve the care home at 57 & 59 St Issells Avenue.

Disgusted: Cllr Beynon

“I too researched the business on Companies House and could see the potential home was registered under the nature of business code 87200, meaning those with learning difficulties.

“I was saddened to see the objection from Merlins Bridge Community Council which stated it objected due to the ‘level of autistic residents and close proximity to the school’. Whilst at first I thought I had misinterpreted the statement I found it to be offensive to anyone who would read it as it implies that the council would not want anyone severe on the autism spectrum living in the community.

“I fail to see how ‘level of autistic residents’ could be interpreted in any other way.

“I am hoping the council can address this at the next council meeting as other members of the wider community feel the same way.

The planning application for the care home development has been brought by James Ross Donald of C & C Pembs Limited. The company was incorporated in August last year, but Mr Donald says that he has many years’ experience in the care field.

The applicant said: “Care in the Community at this level has no detrimental impact on surrounding areas and the integration of the residents of the proposed home will have a positive bearing, not only in their own lives, but also on the community as a whole.”

Lee Hind, Chair of the Pembrokeshire Sibling Group – who work with a lot of families with autistic children – said: “I am stunned that these attitudes still exist in 2018!

“The idea that disability should be used as an objection in this way is abhorrent to me and works against the ethos of inclusion that every public body should be working towards.

Ward member, County Councillor John Cole told The Herald that it was he who called in the application to full planning committee therefore preventing its approval by officers under delegated powers. Cllr Cole also sits as a member of the community council.

Speaking on Wednesday (Mar 14) he said: “I called in the application because I was asked to by residents to do so. I do not have any objections myself personally to this application but I must represent the people of my ward. There has been a petition with 29 signatures on it against the home.”

He added “I do not feel that the community council had enough information in front of them at the time they made the decision to object to the application.

“For example, they did not have the main document ‘Design and Access Statement’ explaining exactly what the application was about.

“I am going to ask the Clerk of the Council to get this information for us in time for the next meeting tonight.”

When asked if the community council would not have objected had they had all the documents, Cllr Cole said he was unable to comment.

A mother of autistic teenagers who attended the meeting said that, after listening to councillors, she felt that their position had been misrepresented.

Lisa O’Sullivan of Pembroke Dock told The Herald: “The Community Council have no objection to any cared for individual being in the community. The original document sent to the County Council has been paraphrased and their concerns’ emphasis misplaced.

“Their main concerns are the safety of their residents from badly planned increases to traffic flow and the dangers this will increase on the residents living nearby. They feel there would be other, much more suitable buildings within the community

“The main thing I took away from meeting was they seemed upset that any offense had been caused.

“Obviously there are documents mentioning autism – they’re sorry for that as it was never meant to be a factor.

“I went there as an unknown with a massive autism mom bag on my shoulder. I don’t think anything about autism was supposed to be put across, and if it was it was done mistakenly – more as them wanting information what was going on.

“I have been shown certain documents which would suggest a low level of care as there’s only going to be one support worker through twilight hours.

“This would suggest a high volume of visitors etc, as it will be like my boys having a flat there with support in day.

“I think all documents are available online but whether county council kept original one that I was shown I don’t know, but they should be held accountable for stirring up a witch hunt.”

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Haverfordwest: Man caught with large blade trying to enter public house

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DOOR STAFF working at the Lower Three Crowns in Haverfordwest successfully tackled a man carrying a large kitchen knife as he tried to enter the licensed premises.
The incident happened on Friday evening, with door staff saying that the suspect had the blade tucked in his clothing.

Jack Crimlis posted the photograph of the blade on Facebook, saying: “Well not every night on the doors in Haverfordwest that you see local door staff tackle a man with this down the back of his trousers!”

He also said that no one was hurt in the incident.

Many took to social media to praise the actions of the doormen.

A spokesperson for RyCal Security and traffic management posted on social media, saying: “Tonight in Haverfordwest, well done to the door staff for carrying out their duties and made everyone safe. 
“Door supervisors putting their lives at risk to keep public safe on nights out – Be safe ladies and gentlemen

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Milford Haven: Camp Valour director quits veterans’ project

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MAJOR Fabian Sean Lucien Faversham-Pullen retired from the armed forces after 25 years’ service.

So states a prospectus prepared by Camp Valour CIC, the organisation behind the ambitious project to convert the semi-derelict Palmerston Fort Hubberstone in Milford Haven into accommodation for former services personnel.

DATES CONFUSION EXPLAINED

As local Cllr Mike Stoddart points out on his Old Grumpy Blog: ‘A more worthy cause it is difficult to imagine.’

However, he also raises an issue in respect of the text of the brochure produced by Camp Valour.

Directly quoting from the booklet produced by Camp Valour CIC, Cllr Stoddart repeats the following words: “The Director, Fabian Faversham-Pullen, served in the armed forces for a period of 25 years, serving in various conflicts around the world.
“Upon leaving the military with the rank of Major, Fabian completed a law degree at Liverpool University.
“Along with his business partner he THEN (Mike Stoddart’s emphasis) helped to form a charity and became a trustee of D-DAY REVISITED, the charity’s aim was to assist Veterans of the Normandy campaign to return to the battlefields to take part in the annual commemorations.”
According to the Community Interest Company’s registry entry at Companies’ House, Major Faversham-Pullen was born in August 1974.

The same date of birth appears on the Charity Commission website for D-Day revisited, of which Major Faversham-Pullen is also a trustee.

The problem with those dates is that if it was AFTER leaving the military at Liverpool University and THEN founding D-Day Revisited in 2008-2009, the twenty-five years of service claimed are chronologically impossible.

The earliest date the Major could have entered the forces was after August 1990. For twenty-five years’ service to accrue, the date he ceased service would have been in 2015.

As Cllr Stoddart notes, an error in expression could be an innocent explanation for any confusion.

In order to clarify the situation, we approached Camp Valour CIC to resolve the point.

Nicola Wilcox, Chief Operations Officer for the Company told us: “Fabian’s 25-year service was earned during time served in both the regulars and reserves. If you would like to investigate further any serviceman or woman can be employed or study whilst being a member of the reserves unless they are on deployment.”

The original brochure produced by the CIC does not make clear that the Major’s 25-years’ service included a period as a reservist. The clarification now obtained by The Herald seems to tally with a possible chronology that Major Faversham-Pullen left the regular forces in or around 2005, completed a law degree and THEN founded the charity D-Day Revisited.

A SERIES OF COINCIDENCES

Jac o’the North, whose blog often examines the housing issues affecting Wales, drew attention to an unusual coincidence in the address of Camp Valour CIC and a dissolved company called Baron Security (UK) Ltd.

The sole director of Baron Security (UK) Ltd is shown as Sean Keven Patrick Pullen.

Sean Keven Patrick Pullen’s date of birth is shown as August 1974 in the information filed at Companies’ House.

The address of Baron Security (UK) Ltd is the same as that for Camp Valour CIC.

We put the coincidence to Camp Valour CIC.

Nicola Wilcox told us: “Sean Pullen and Fabian Faversham-Pullen are twin brothers evidence of this can be provided. They have both been supporters of the RBL both in the UK and overseas. Sean did indeed own a security company; however, this company failed. After retiring from the RBL in January, he lives and manages a company in Gibraltar.

Sometime ago Fabian took over some of Sean’s duties whilst Sean pursued other interests. This includes Sean’s place as treasurer of the D-DayRevisited charity. The charity is due to close this year due to the ageing population of Veterans.
“Sean has no connection to Camp Valour and Fabian had no connection to Baron Security.”

Ms Wilcox also confirmed that Major Faversham-Pullen served in the forces using his mother’s maiden name.

The clarification that Sean Keven Patrick Pullen and Fabian Sean Lucien Faversham-Pullen are twin brothers with a forename in common, both former service personnel active in the Royal British Legion, and both connected to bodies using the same registered office addresses the issue of identity raised by Jac o’ the North.

After expressing concern that the CIC had been “subjected to a witch hunt that is making us question if Camp Valour has made a wise decision in choosing to restore Fort Hubberstone”, Nicola Wilcox also told The Herald: ‘Camp Valour C.I.C will be making an official complaint to Pembrokeshire County Council regarding the behaviour of Cllr Mike Stoddart, and his abuse of position in his seat of authority.
‘We are furthermore undertaking legal advice to ascertain what can be done about the lies and mistruths initiated by Royston Jones (Jack o the North) and Cllr Stoddart.’

CAMP VALOUR THANKS THE HERALD

Local councillors had raised concerns about the accommodation available to house servicemen in need and the pressure on local services that would come with such a large influx of people into one Council ward.

Mike Stoddart pointed out at the public meeting that the fact that the Fort was designed to accommodate 250 people in the nineteenth century, does not mean it meets the standards for accommodating that number in the twenty-first.

Cllr Rhys Sinnett enquired about the impact on local health and welfare services but was told medical care would be delivered by specialists ‘in-house’ at the Fort.

Nicola Wilcox said to us that the organisation was concerned about negative attitudes towards its project and could reconsider the scheme.

However, in spite of BBC reports, a spokesperson calling herself ‘Nicola’ and asking for her surname to be omitted from publication issued a statement to another newspaper confirming Camp Valour’s commitment and complaining “[W[e have been under constant attack from a local paper where they are putting two and two together and making nine.”

We do not know which local newspaper that could possibly be.

In an email to this writer, Camp Valour’s Chief Operations Officer, Nicola Wilcox, said: “I am happy that you have at least allowed Camp Valour the opportunity to respond to these ludicrous insinuations from various parties.”

We reassured Ms Wilcox that this article relates solely to ‘questions which you have answered and raised points which you have clarified.’

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Police ask for help following death of 25-year-old woman on Dredgeman Hill

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POLICE have issued an appeal for a driver who picked up a 25-year-old woman at the junction of Glebelands and the A4076 in Johnston, Pembrokeshire, at around 8.30pm on February 20 to come forward.

The appeal is being made as part of the investigation into the fatal road traffic collision that happened at 11.10pm that same date at Dredgeman Hill, Haverfordwest.

Officers are keen to speak to the person who picked up the female at the A4076 and Glebelands junction, which is opposite the Nisa store, at around 8.30pm. As part of the investigation, they are trying to establish the movements of the 25-year-old prior to the collision. Please get in touch by calling 101 and ask for the serious collision investigation team.

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