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Hospitality businesses gear up for post-lockdown season

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AS THE COUNTDOWN is on to hospitality reopening, over 40 pubs, cafes and restaurants from across Preseli joined Stephen Crabb in a digital discussion.

In a Zoom call hosted by Stephen Crabb MP, a number of pubs, cafes and restaurants took time away from getting ready to reopen to discuss how they can make best use of the season ahead of them, after a difficult few months due to lockdown.

Joining Crabb was local MS Paul Davies, representatives from Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and UK Hospitality, and an array of hospitality businesses from across the constituency including Martha’s Vineyard in Milford Haven, The Royal Oak in Fishguard and The Ferry Inn in St Dogmaels.

On Monday (Jul 13) hospitality businesses are able to reopen in Wales, following strict guidelines including outside only, 2m social distancing with pre-booking advised. Many establishments in Pembrokeshire without large outdoor spaces will be unable to open, but those who can are working hard to make it as enjoyable and safe for customers as possible and also commercially viable.

Only on Thursday evening, four days ahead of reopening, did Welsh Government publish guidance to help businesses reopening. This delayed support has left some hospitality businesses feeling left behind.

Speaking following the forum, Stephen Crabb said: “I’m delighted to have been able to bring together so many hospitality businesses in what was the largest digital business forum I’ve hosted. There has been huge interest from the sector and I’m really grateful to Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning, licencing and tourism team for joining the call, along with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and trade body UK Hospitality.

“There is a real sense of a ‘Team Pembrokeshire’ approach to the reopening of this important sector, with businesses happy to share ideas and good practice to ensure the local visitor economy opens safely and successfully.”

“All the signs are pointing to a ‘staycation’ boom for British tourism this summer and there is potentially a real prize waiting for Pembrokeshire businesses. But there is a lot of work to be done in the next few days to adapt to new ways of working and it is essential for Welsh Government to issue detailed guidance.”

Paul Davies MS said: “Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses are the backbone of our local economy and so it was extremely useful to hear more about the challenges they’re facing and how Governments at all levels can do more to support them. The Covid-19 pandemic will continue to have an impact on the industry for the foreseeable future and whilst businesses have worked extremely hard to adapt their business models, the fact remains that if further support isn’t forthcoming, then many hospitality businesses simply won’t survive. I will of course, do everything in my power to challenge the Welsh Government on its lack of support for the sector and encourage Ministers to use the levers at their disposal, to better support the sector before it’s too late.”

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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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