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Council elects new Chairman and deputy



COUNCILLOR Tom Richards took over as the new Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council from Cllr Arwyn Williams at the annual council meeting Last Friday.

Cllr Wynne Evans will be his new Vice Chairman after he was chosen over Cllr Phil Baker by 40 votes to 15.

Outgoing Chairman Arwyn Williams said: “This is a sad day for me, but it has been a very happy and enjoyable past 12 months. I am pleased to be handing over the role into the very capable hands of Tom Richards”.

Cllr Williams went on to mention various events that he had the privilege of witnessing during his time as chairman – none more so than his visit with the Queen last week.

He also paid tribute to those who had worked tirelessly during the storms at the start of the year.

He concluded by saying: “I want to thank you, the members, I may not have seen eye to eye with all of you but I appreciate your support. I thank you for the honour you bestowed on me 12 months ago, I’ve done my best”.

Cllr Huw George gave a vote of thanks to Cllr Williams saying: “You can look back with pride on what you’ve done. You’ve done a good job, you’ve done it well”.

Cllr Tom Richards said: “I am looking forward to the next 12 months, not only outside but serving here in the chamber. I hope that we can make decisions for the benefit of our county”.

Councillor Tom Richards joined the Council in its inception in 1996 as the member for the Letterston electoral division.

Sixty-year-old Councillor Richards was born in St Ishmaels to a Pembrokeshire farming family which can trace its roots in the county back to the 1700s.

The family moved to farm in Hayscastle in 1963. Councillor Richards attended St Ishmaels and Hayscastle primary schools and later Haverfordwest Grammar School for Boys.

After school, he went back to the family livestock and arable farm in Hayscastle. The 200-acre farm is now tenanted, and Councillor Richards lives in a former rectory nearby with his wife Mel. He also owns a farm in Croesgoch.

Councillor Richards is vice-chairman of the Corporate Governance, Economy Overview and Scrutiny, and Audit committees, as well as being a member of several other committees.

He has also served as a community councillor since his twenties, and is still on Hayscastle Community Council as well as serving as a governor of Ysgol Ger y Llan.

He and Mel, who also comes from an established Pembrokeshire farming family, have two daughters. The eldest, Sophie, is a chemical engineer in France, and the youngest, Julie, is a consultant for Deloittes in London.

Councillor Richards succeeds Councillor Arwyn Williams of Pembroke as Chairman. He was proposed for office by Councillor David Lloyd and seconded by Councillor Rhys Sinnett.

A vote of thanks to the outgoing Chairman was proposed by the Deputy Leader of the Authority, Councillor Huw George.

The Council’s new Vice Chairman is Councillor Wynne Evans who represents the electoral division of Narberth.

Cllr Evans described it as “A very momentous day for me”.

The ceremony in County Hall, Haverfordwest, was attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, The Hon Robin Lewis OBE.



Pictured left to right are: (seated) Councillor Arwyn Williams, Chief Executive Bryn Parry-Jones, Councillor Tom Richards, Mrs Mel Richards, Councillor Wynne Evans, The Hon. Robin Lewis, (standing) Mrs Elizabeth Williams, Mrs Sarah Parry-Jones, Councillor Rob Lewis, Councillor Jamie Adams, Councillor Huw George, Mrs Gwyneth John (Vice-Chairman’s Consort) and Mrs Judith Lewis

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Milford Haven: Concerns over council refuse collection staff using drugs on duty



PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL have confirmed that they are conducting an ongoing internal investigation.

The probe is relating to “illegal drug use by on-duty refuge collection crews” operating from the Thornton Refuge Depot in Milford Haven.

The Herald understands that following suspicions being raised, drug testing was carried out on refuse crews on Monday (May 10) – all before they left their depot.

This newspaper has been told that a number staff, which includes bin lorry drivers, tested positive for drug use, and that the council called in the police.

That information was passed to The Herald by someone who we have confirmed to be a member of staff working at Pembrokeshire County Council, who did not want to be named.

After a request for a statement, a spokesperson for the council has stressed that none of their vehicles were involved, suggesting that, on the day in question, positive tests were arrived at before any bin lorries had left the depot.

As part of the multi-agency operation the police were called and attended Thornton Refuse Depot, but did not make any arrests, and said they had little involvement in the operation.

Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there is an ongoing internal workplace investigation and can clarify that there was no police involvement on the day in question – no Pembrokeshire County Council vehicles were involved.

“We are not in a position to comment any further at this time.”

Dyfed Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “At the request of Pembrokeshire County Council, officers attended Thornton Refuse Depot to provide [them with] support on the morning of Monday, May 10.

“Officers attended; however they were not utilised.”

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Council’s Planning Committee approves ambitious dockyard plans



PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s Planning Committee this morning (Tuesday, May 18) approved an application for the construction of a new marine engineering project at Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard.
The plans, vociferously opposed by local heritage groups, passed unanimously.

The matter will now go to the Welsh Government, which has reserved its position on the scheme’s approval.
Committee members expressed the view that the balance between heritage and economic development were balanced, with strong views expressed on either side. They decided the balance of the application favoured economic development subject to conditions regarding aspects of the site’s preservation and its ability to be restored in the future.

The Committee members who attended a site visit on Wednesday, May 12, said it was the most informative and best site visit they had this council term. Visiting the site gave them a clearer idea about what was planned and the scale of the project, which would not have been gained from a paper exercise.

While the approval of the scheme was unanimous, one element of the reserved matters caused some members concern: the height and size of the proposed massive new sheds which would be built at a later phase of the project.
Cllr David Pugh, seconded by Cllr Steve Alderman, moved an amendment which would approve the project and delegate reserved matters to officers apart from the sheds’ construction, which would return to the Committee for detailed approval.

Cllr Tony Wilcox and Cllr Mark Carter emphasised the need for certainty regarding the project’s development, a position supported by Cllr David Howlett, Cllrs Pugh, Alderman and Cllr Stephen Joseph said that little delay would be caused to the scheme by bringing the sheds’ development back to the Committee. They noted the significant intrusion of the sheds into the landscape for miles around.

Planning Officer Mike Simmons advised that the project would proceed in five phases and that the applicant, Milford Haven Port Authority, was keen to proceed with the first phase as soon as possible. The first phase would be the infilling of the docks and pool, removing a caisson gate and preserving it, before the building of new slipways.
The Port Authority already accepted the sheds would only be built if there was commercial demand for them.
The amendment proposed by Cllr Pugh passed by six votes to five with two abstentions.

It means before the sheds are built, the Committee will decide the detailed application relating to them.

All other aspects of the development will be decided by officers.

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Further Covid-19 business support packages to become available soon



PEMBROKESHIRE businesses that remain affected by Covid-19 restrictions can check their eligibility for a new package of support from the Welsh Government.

This latest support package will help those businesses eligible to meet ongoing costs through to the end of June as they prepare for re-opening and more normal trading conditions.

Businesses that stand to benefit include:

  • nightclubs and late entertainment venues
  • events and conference venues not covered by the Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF)
  • hospitality and leisure businesses, including restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • supply chain business, which have been materially impacted by restrictions

An eligibility checker has opened on the Business Wales website so businesses can find out how much support they are likely to be entitled to and how to apply.

See more information and check your business’ eligibility at:

Funding will be calculated based on the size of the business and the type of restrictions they are under.

Businesses will be able submit applications to the Welsh Government from 24th May 2021 for grants of up to £25,000 and by the end of the month to Pembrokeshire County Council for smaller fixed Discretionary Grants.

To keep up to date and see the future application process for the Discretionary Grants please see:

The above link will be be updated with the latest information.  

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