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St Davids: Premier Inn plans approved

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THE APPLICATION for a Premier Inn Hotel and other homes in St Davids has been delegated to National Park officers to approve after members of the Development Management Committee gave their support.

The Committee met at a packed Ty’r Pererin Hall on Quickwell Hill in St Davids today (Jun 6).

Members of the YoPI (Yes to Premier Inn) and NoPI (No to Premier Inn) campaigns were also in attendance and gave their views to the committee.

The plans will see the hotel, 38 affordable homes and 32 open market dwellings built on land at Glasfryn Lane.

St Davids County Councillor David Lloyd said: “Prior to the interest of Premier Inn to locate in St Davids the homes were to have been developed by the St Davids Peninsula Community Land Trust, following seven years of preparatory work, with a view to employing the profits from the sale of the open market homes to match fund the replacement of the local swimming pool closed in 2009.

“The controversy surrounding Premier Inn’s interest, however, resulted in the Community Land Trust having to withdraw from the project causing the plans to create a new pool to be abandoned. Fortunately, the badly needed provision of affordable housing for local people remains part of the application. It is in my view imperative that these homes are built.

“Ysgol Dewi Sant’s School roll dropped from over 500 pupils to as few as 390 in 2016. As is well known, in January 2016, the school was scheduled for closure. It narrowly survived, but at the price of losing its sixth form. In my view it is unthinkable that the chance of underpinning the school’s future should not now be grasped.

“With regard to the Premier Inn element of the application, notwithstanding the blow of losing what in my view will be the only chance of replacing the pool, I support the application.

“The 63 new bedrooms would serve to replace the 55 2/3-star hotel rooms that have been lost in recent years following the closure of Whitesands Bay Hotel, St Nons Hotel, Glan Y Mor Hotel and the change in status of Twr Y Felin Hotel. In my view St Davids is seriously under provided for in mid-range hotel accommodation, a view shared by Keith Griffiths, proprietor of what is now the five-star Twr Y Felin.

“The experience of Tenby, which is wholly reliant on tourism, as is St Davids, has shown that the arrival of Premier Inn has been a major boost to trade in both the accommodation and retail sector. I am confident the same will apply to St Davids.

“Finally I turn to the question of the nature of the joint application. While it would not be accurate to say that Premier Inn is enabling the provision of housing within the joint project it would be fair to say that by sharing the significant cost of the various site surveys and the cost of planning application itself, it has made possible the almost unique proportion of affordable houses, some 54%, that make up the housing element of this application. It is a remarkable opportunity for the St Davids Peninsula and indeed for the Park and one too great to lose.”

Cllr Paul Harries felt that the application could have been better than what it was while other members were concerned about the hotel being three stories high.

Cllr Phil Baker said he was concerned about the need for 63 beds and questioned why it had to be three-storey.

Mr Ted Sangster moved that the recommendation to delegate to officers be approved and that was seconded by Cllr Peter Morgan.

Cllr Mike Evans also sought assurances that the first lot of rented homes should go to local people.
The application was approved unanimously.

The decision was met with applause by some members of the audience.

Following the decision, Cllr Lloyd added: “I felt that the meeting was conducted fairly and everybody had the opportunity to give their views and this was acknowledged by members of the committee and the outcome was one that I very much support.”

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Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the second day of his trial.

James Oulton, 34, of Haverfordwest would put his hands around students’ waists and touch their bottoms, an ex-female pupil said in a video interview played to Swansea Crown Court.

The defendant denies 30 charges of sexual assault at a primary school in Haverfordwest. The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

On the opening day of the trial, court heard that Oulton said the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he always behaved appropriately with children.

On Tuesday, the jury watched the video interview with one of Oulton’s former pupils, who said he was a “friendly person, very chatty and sociable and quite outgoing and wanted to know everything that was going on.”

She added: “Mr Oulton often wanted to know a lot of details on what we had done over the weekend, where we had been, and also who they had been with.”

“At the time I just thought he was trying to be really friendly but now when I look back at it now, it does seem odd.”

The witness also described the defendant as a “very touchy-feely teacher”.

She added: “If he was marking your work or if you approached him to ask him a question, he would put his hands around your waist or around your bum”.

“If he was standing by his desk, he would, like, motion to his knee, so he wouldn’t ask you directly to sit on his lap but he would tap his knee.”

Swansea Crown Court heard that the witness eventually came forward and told her parents parents after she heard them speaking about Mr Oulton being suspended from his job.

“Did you feel under pressure to say something had happened to you?” asked Mr Clee.

The witness answered “No”

Oulton, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, previously told the court he had behaved appropriately.

He also believed letters were sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to parents which encouraged “deliberately false evidence” and collusion between pupils.

The trial continues.

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‘We don’t want it’: councillors object to HGV tanker park plans

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PEMBROKE DOCK town councillors have objected strongly to plans to build a HGV tanker park in the town.

The tanker park would be located on the south-western side of Criterion Way, behind the ASDA petrol station.

However, at a meeting of the town council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday, April 13, councillors were in agreement that it would create more problems for the town.

Councillor Jonathan George said: “I’ve noted the public input on this and they don’t seem very happy about where it’s going to be put.

“It is close to a small park area and I don’t think it’s suitable to put this here. I won’t be supporting this.”

Cllr George Manning added: “There are many aspects of this which are totally inappropriate for Pembroke Dock. There are many other sites available but they haven’t looked at any of them.

“This does not do anything for the Future Generations act and it will bring more disruption to the town.

“This does not bring about any improvements to the existing transport infrastructure. There are lots of things about this, we don’t want it. I don’t think they have looked into it in enough detail.”

Cllr Gordon Goff said that the impact it would have on the public and wildlife would be ‘astronomical’.

He went on to say he was not happy with one of the statements in the application and said they ‘don’t want to be blackmailed’.

One of the documents submitted with the application states that if the development was not approved it would mean that the applicants, Certas, ‘will either have to find a different site’ or ‘will have to cease operating in the area’.

Cllr Terry Judkins said that the Port Authority wanted to ‘use Pembroke Dock as a dumping ground’ and added that he could not support it.

Cllr Maureen Colgan added that she was ‘totally against’ the application and said that the area should be kept for leisure and be developed as an area where people can sit and enjoy themselves.

The application is due to be decided by Pembrokeshire County Council at a later date.

Cllr Paul Dowson has already called in the application for it to be debated by the County Council’s Planning Committee.

In his request he states that it is too near habitation, it is within the Pembroke Dock conservation area and that children have been using the area near the bandstand as play area for over 20 years.

The area had also previously been the subject of an application for a marina and other leisure facilities but that investment was written off in 2017.

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Trial of Haverfordwest primary school teacher starts at Swansea Crown Court

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher who is accused of sexually abusing eleven children thinks he is a victim of a witch hunt by the police, a jury has heard.

But at Swansea Crown Court on Monday (Apr 12), the Clare Wilks for the prosecution said that the defendant had “abused the trust of parents and staff” by sexually touching children in his care.

James Oulton, denies 30 charges of sexual assault against the eleven children who were aged eight or nine years old at the time.

The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

The jury heard how the pupils, now aged between 11 and 17, claimed he touched them sexually.

But the court was also told that Mr Oulton claimed he received cards at the end of term, and he believed letters sent by Pembrokeshire council to parents encouraged false complaints and collusion between pupils.

Oulton, 34, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, told the court he had behaved appropriately.

The jury heard how the alleged abuse occurred while Mr Oulton was working at a primary school in Haverfordwest.

Clare Wilks, prosecuting, said some of the children alleged that they had been assaulted on a daily basis, while others had had given statements to say it only happened the one time.

The trial continues.

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