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Council EU Funding ‘suspended’

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county hallTHE SCANDAL surrounding the Council’s administration of European grant aid in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock has deepened.

The Pembrokeshire Herald can exclusively reveal that the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) has suspended payments due to be made to Pembrokeshire County Council under the Commercial Properties Grant Scheme until an investigation into the scheme is completed.

A spokesperson from the Welsh Government told The Herald:

“As a precautionary measure, WEFO has temporarily suspended EU funds payments to Pembrokeshire Council in respect of its Commercial Property Grant Scheme while the Council’s review of eligibility of expenditure is underway.”

A Council spokesperson responded by telling us:

“This matter is due to be discussed by Cabinet on Monday. There is no further comment.”

The suspension of payments to Pembrokeshire County Council is a further blow to the credibility of the IPPG Cabinet and beleaguered member David Pugh, who has had responsibility for overseeing the scheme stripped away from him. In December, the IPPG repeatedly attacked Councillors seeking to look at documents relating to the scheme, claiming there were no problems with it and claiming that officers had assured them there were no issues with its administration. Those reassurances were repeated to the Council’s own Audit Committee in January, when the scale of any potential issues was downplayed by officers.

Shortly after documents were made available for inspection by all Councillors, an issue was identified in relation to a separate scheme, the Town Heritage Initiative, where it appeared that one contractor was asked to tender on far more preferable terms than others competing for the same contract. Labour leader Paul Miller told The Herald:

“Having seen the statement obtained by the Pembrokeshire Herald I’m extremely disappointed that serious money, allocated to re-generate towns in Pembroekshire, is now in jeopardy and being withheld. Unfortunately though, I’m not surprised.

“Pembrokeshire Council has failed spectacularly to manage the Commercial Property Grant Scheme in Pembroke Dock. When concerns were raised they steadfastly refused to accept even the possibility there could be a problem and attacked those councillors demanding answers.

Leadership in our county council is non existent. It’s beggars belief that Cllr David Pugh continues in his position despite receiving only 22 votes (of 60) supporting him at the last full council.

“Unfortunately for Pembrokeshire, Pugh’s bungling just came home to roost and it can’t be far short of £1m of inward investment that Cllr Pugh’s failings have just put at risk.”

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Teifion

    April 5, 2014 at 9:25 am

    We all think we know what’s going on don’t we?

    Where are the Police in all this?

  2. mary astles

    April 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    this council are not capable of leading a dog, let alone a council to serve the people of pembrokeshire.

  3. TToommy

    April 9, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Jamie couldn’t run a tap let alone a council without the yay or nay from the public servant Bryn, Bryn would want a new tap as this is the only way to ensure that he is retained as the “best Chief Exec” in Wales – said with a straight face!

  4. Robin Howells, Chair, Preseli Pembrokeshire Labour Party

    April 11, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Another fine mess they have got this county into and the sort of investment that’s needed. Fraud, jobs for the boys and the girls, wasting public money on Paul Kerr QC to justify a grave error of judgement with Bryn Parry-Jones and his pension, election fraud – where will all this end apart from making Pembrokeshire County Council look a complete laughing stock and the county with it. Time for a higher authority to step in and clean up County Hall.

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Community

Education Chief to leave Council

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IAN WESTLEY, Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire County Council, announced to staff and Members on Wednesday (Dec 11) that Kate Evan-Hughes, the Director for Children and Schools, will be leaving the Authority at the end of January, 2020.

She is taking up an appointment as Strategic Director with a local authority in England.

Interim arrangements have been discussed with the Leader of the Council, David Simpson, and the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, Guy Woodham.

Following Kate’s departure Steven Richards-Downes will act up as Chief Education Officer and James White will undertake the duties of deputy.

Discussions about permanent arrangements will begin in the New Year.

Mr Westley said he wished Kate all the very best as she embarks on the next phase of her career.

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‘Just do it’, advises 91-year-old leisure centre member

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ARE you struggling to find the motivation to keep fit?

Then help is at hand! Meet the inspirational Valerie Coleman – one of Pembrokeshire Leisure’s oldest members at 91 years of age.

Valerie attends an astonishing 10 classes a week at Fishguard Leisure Centre, from swimming to Pilates, chair aerobics and back care classes.

Centre manager Lisa Starkey said she was amazing. “Val really is an inspirational woman,” she said. “We are always so pleased to see her once, twice and sometimes three times a day. Her determination to keep healthy and active is inspiring to us all.”

A former nurse, Valerie was also an active PTA member who helped to fundraise for Fishguard’s old Leisure Centre which was replaced by the new centre 14 years ago.

“Val has been involved with leisure for some time and absolutely loves it,” said Lisa. “She has made so many special friends and coming to the leisure centre now is such an important social aspect of her life.

“Her mental health along with her physical health and wellbeing all benefit from her visits to the centre that she loves.”

Valerie praised staff at Fishguard for their support in helping her to recover after suffering a fractured femur, and said the centre had a ‘great atmosphere’.

“They have very helpful and understanding staff who are there for everyone and give encouragement to all of their customers,” she said.

“If you’re thinking about joining a leisure centre, just do it. The staff and facilities are here for everyone and all the encouragement you will ever need will be given.”

For information on leisure centre facilities and classes, or how to join as a member, please visit www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/leisure or pop into your local leisure centre.

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News

Warning to vessels after a dozen shipping containers lost off cargo ship

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MILFORD Haven Coastguard is investigating reports of up to 12 shipping containers adrift in the sea around the island of Grassholm, it has been confirmed.

It is believed the containers may have been lost by the Cyprus-registered Elbcarrier cargo ship, caught in storms while en-route to Dublin from Rotterdam.

Warnings have been given that at least a dozen containers overboard in the Celtic Sea on Sunday afternoon, December 8, after being caught in rough seas.

The drifting containers were spotted in the sea late on December 8, and further reports have stated they may now be near Grassholm Island.

Feetmon.com states: “Container ship ELBCARRIER lost containers overboard in Celtic sea in the afternoon Dec 8, while en route from Rotterdam to Dublin Ireland, being caught in rough weather. 12 drifting containers were spotted at 2330 UTC in vicinity 51 40N 005 50W,. Number of lost containers unknown. The ship reached Dublin in the afternoon Dec 9.”

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