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County Court holds first remote hearing

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by Tess Delaney

THE FIRST hearing to be held under Coronavirus distancing rules at Haverfordwest County Court last Friday upheld the right of access needed by Chrystia and Keith Hertogs to run their sustainable holding in Llanycefn.
The court considered whether the holding’s use of the historic stone road from Rhydwilym towards Maenclochog and Llanycefn, was limited by the public bridleway rights that also make use of the same road.
The hearing ended with all parties agreeing that the Hertogs’s holding has ‘the right of road or way’ along the stone road, ‘at all times and for all purposes’, with an injunction in place to protect their use.
Chrystia Hertogs explains: ‘Local roads like this one have many uses, added over centuries of local history. Farms and houses often have private rights of access, which are in no way reduced or limited, by the road’s also later being designated as a public bridleway.’
Groundwork contractor John Llewellyn from Crymych, who was a remote witness in the hearing, commented: ‘I was born in Glan Rhydwilym. I know that whole area like the back of my hand. Those upper fields of Dolfelfed farm were always run, using that stone road.
“I went to school, and to friends’ houses, along it. My sister’s best friend went to school at Nant-y-Cwm, and lived at Cefn Mwynant.
“Aged 17, I drove out hay myself, from the fields of Keith’s holding, over the same stone road.’
Mr Mark Dyson, a retired planning lawyer, acted as McKenzie friend (legal supporter) to Dr Hertogs.
“My own view,” said Mr Dyson, “is that, since we are at the tipping point into massive climate catastrophe, access to land should urgently be made easier for the increasing number of people who want to do the work of sustainably improving soil carbon, and planting trees. These are now mainstream aims of Wales and UK policy, and I’m pleased with today’s decision.”
Keith and Chrystia Hertogs find, after ten years of regenerative agriculture, tree-planting and use of local biomass to improve the depleted pasture soil, that salad, fruit, and vegetable crops now produce well.
“The United Nations’ Farming and Agriculture Organisation estimates that 30% of the world’s soils are degraded, so Wales is not alone in needing regenerative action.” Keith said.
He continued: “European farm soils were formed during millennia of tree-cover, and have now been used for a couple of centuries without replenishment. Regeneration re-creates soil from planted trees, nitrogen-fixing perennials, green manure, sustainable, brief, grazing rotation, and silvipasture.”
The Welsh Government’s target is to plant 1000 km2 of new trees, an area about the size of Pembrokeshire, by 2030, spread throughout Wales.
Dr Hertogs said: “The Welsh Government’s sustainability policy, ‘One Wales, One Planet’ is uniquely forward-looking. It’s strongly based on environment and economic evidence, not the wishful dream of limitless consuming, exceeding global resource limits, which is – right now – destroying our planet.
“The policy’s One Planet Development thinking, deserves to change the norm, to provide low-impact work, housing, and new food-growing by ordinary people across Wales.’
“One Planet Development fits perfectly with the work I did in the NHS, encouraging physical work and healthy food, to help people avoid diabetes and heart disease.”
During their delivery round of greens and salads, Keith and Christyia havre found many local people, including young people, have started growing their own during the coronavirus lockdown.
Keith concluded: “This is exactly the time for all of us as new, successful gardeners, to plan and plant trees and nitrogenous bushes, so we can feed our soil, keeping it healthy and productive for future generations.”

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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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