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Cllr David Simpson: ‘I wasn’t sacked, I resigned’



Cllr Jamie Adams: Simpson says he is 'a capable boy with bad judgement'

Cllr Jamie Adams: Simpson says he is ‘a capable boy with bad judgement’

THE HERALD can reveal the story behind the shock departure of popular and respected County Councillor David Simpson from the Council Cabinet. In an official statement, the Council have claimed he was sacked. Councillor Simpson, however, a Justice of the Peace, told The Herald that the truth is that he resigned.


CONCERN about the conduct of a fellow Cabinet member was one of the reasons why David Simpson decided to step down from the Cabinet and leave the IPPG.

Councillor Simpson described the efforts of Cllr Rob Lewis to derail the investigatory committee into Bryn Parry Jones as the key reason for his decision to resign.

Speaking with our assistant editor Jon Coles on Friday afternoon after his departure from the Housing portfolio he has held for eight years, Councillor Simpson said:

“I decided to go that because of some of the things that have gone on. Two members came to me, Peter Morgan and Mark Edwards: Mark was very, very concerned that Cllr Rob Lewis the Deputy Leader was trying to intimidate Peter; particularly that pressure was being applied to stop Peter appearing before the Committee (investigating CEO Bryn Parry Jones) next Monday. Rob Lewis was doing his best to dissuade Peter from attending.

“I had heard about this over the preceding days while I had been away on holiday. I met with Peter and Mark yesterday evening and what they said was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I made a decision then that I would resign.”

Cllr David Simpson: "the straightest and best man on the whole Council", said Cllr Peter Morgan

Cllr David Simpson: “the straightest and best man on the whole Council”, said Cllr Peter Morgan

The Herald spoke to The Havens representative Peter Morgan about what David Simpson had told us.

Cllr Morgan told The Herald: “David is the straightest and best man on the whole Council. If there was ever anyone you want to talk to about a problem you are having, it is him; everyone on the Council will tell you that about him. Pembrokeshire County Council can’t afford to do without him.”

He added: “I spoke with David last night and said that Rob Lewis has spoken to me about appearing before the investigatory committee. My position is that pressure won’t work on me. I will do what is right. When I spoke to Jamie Adams last night, I told him the same thing.”

Pembrokeshire Herald readers will recall that it was Cllr Rob Lewis who acted as Bryn Parry-Jones’ intermediary when Peter Morgan and Mark Edwards were summoned to meet the CEO and subjected to a foul-mouthed tirade for voting that he should be asked to return money paid to him unlawfully by the Council. Cllr Lewis was also suspended from the Council for his underhand activities in using the Council’s facilities to run the IPPG’s last election campaign. He is widely credited with creating the dodgy dossier handed by Monitoring Officer to Tim Kerr QC ahead of February’s vote of no confidence in Bryn.

The Herald understands that Rob Lewis arranged a meeting between Peter Morgan and Laurence Harding, the Council’s own Monitoring Officer who is supposed to ensure members abide by the Code of Conduct. We understand that the meeting took place in the members’ room at County Hall, where Peter Morgan found the Monitoring Officer waiting to see him.

We put Laurence Harding’s involvement to Peter Morgan, who confirmed: “Laurence Harding met with me to discuss my attendance at the investigatory committee on Monday (Sep 29). He told me that if I didn’t want to attend, if I just left him a signed note it would all be okay and I wouldn’t have to go.”

Monitoring Officer Lawrence Harding: Cllr Simpson said he told him he didn't have to attend Bryn investigation meeting

Monitoring Officer Laurence Harding: Encouraged Cllr Peter Morgan that he could make a written submission instead of being questioned by councillors on Monday’s CEO disciplinary investigation.



On the subject of his meeting with Jamie Adams this morning, David Simpson said:

“I met with Jamie Adams, the Leader, this morning (Friday, Sept 26). I have had concerns for several months, if not two years, about the make-up of the Cabinet, about the dissemination of information down to the Cabinet, and the fact that the Cabinet is a two tier system. You have the leader and his two deputies and then the rest of the Cabinet; the rest of the Cabinet are just kept in the dark.

“I have been unhappy with this for the last two years and I have told Jamie that on many occasions and have been dissatisfied. There have been several instances over the last few months that I have been unhappy with.

“Last night, after meeting with Mark and Peter, I spoke to Ian Westley, the acting Head of Service, to tell him of my resignation. I also phoned Lyn Hambidge, who has been especially supportive during my time in Housing. She was vital to the achievement of my first goal in housing, which was to drive down the amount the Council was paying in bed and breakfast for homeless people. That was over a million pounds a year when I started and I think was under £20,000 last year.”

County Hall: News of Simpson's departure from cabinet a shock to many

County Hall: News of Simpson’s departure from cabinet a shock to many


When The Herald discussed the morning’s events with David Simpson, a very different picture emerged than that reported by the Council. Cllr Simpson told us:

“I met with the leader this morning. He told me he was getting rid of the two deputies, which is something I had hoped for, although I was disappointed they were remaining in the Cabinet, and there were also two members coming out of Cabinet. One was David Pugh, which I thought was a good move after the debacle with the grants scheme, and then he informed me that the other one was going to be me. I was aghast and reminded him that I put more hours into my Cabinet role than he did, or any other member of Cabinet and I have never embarrassed him like others have in the past and have been very supportive of him.

Cllr Simpson added: “When the email from Bob Kilmister suggesting that I could be a leader of a “Grand Alliance” came round, I knew nothing about it. I laughed about it really and thought it was a marvellous thing to do – from Bob Kilmister’s point of view – to put the cat among amongst the pigeons.

“I told Jamie that I had not envisaged being sacked and I came here this morning intending to resign – and that can be verified by Ian Westley and Lyn Hambidge – and so I told him, before you ask me to step down, I resign.

“I drove five minutes down the road to County Hall; phoned Sue Sanders, who does administration for members and asked for the form to sign as I was resigning from the Cabinet and the Independent group – I think it was impossible for me to remain in the group and preserve my own integrity – and she said: “Haven’t you looked at the website yet?”

“It was clear everything had been pre-planned, but the fact remains I resigned.


On the subject of the Leader, Cllr Simpson said: “I think Jamie Adams is a very capable boy at public speaking but has a lot of bad judgement in the people he appoints. I haven’t got a lot of time for him anymore. I fully supported that man as leader. I told him I was there to support him. I told him that Cabinet was there to support him. But unfortunately he doesn’t confide in Cabinet.”

“I have told Jamie Adams that under no circumstances would I stand against him. For the last two years I have been asked to stand against him on a number of occasions. On each occasion I have refused because I thought he needed a chance to get on with the job. I have also had disputes with him in as much I do not like some of the decisions and appointments he has made. But I was Cabinet member and he was the leader.”

“I have no intention of starting a campaign for me to be leader against Jamie Adams. I never wanted it. I don’t want it now.”

One of the key points the Justice of the Peace made when we spoke to him he said “I can see the downfall of the Independent group.”

“Brian Hall is trying to form his own group at the moment and he supposedly has several members. If you take three or four people out of the Independent Group plus Brian Hall, you are taking votes away from Jamie and his majority.

“Jamie will lose his position. He is doing it himself. He is on the self-destruct button.


“Housing has been my passion for the last eight years. I have been wonderfully supported by the housing staff over the last eight years. I can tell you that everyone in that department gives 110%. They are fantastic and helped make my job a lot easier. Where I go from here I don’t know. Being in the opposition was the furthest thing from my mind in my entire political career.”

The full report of David Simpson’s straight-talking interview will be in next week’s Pembrokeshire Herald: Issue 66, Friday October 3.

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Approval recommended for dockyard plans



A CONTROVERSIAL plan to develop part of Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard comes before the County Council’s Planning Committee next week.

Despite many objections from heritage organisations, Council planning officers recommend the development’s approval.

However, the Planning Committee will only indicate whether it is ‘minded to approve’ the proposal instead of giving it the go-ahead.

The Welsh Government has called in the application for decision by the next Welsh Government minister responsible for planning and infrastructure developments.

That means the Welsh Government will consider the Report presented to the Committee and weigh it against the objections received.


The application is to develop a brownfield site within the former Royal Dockyard.

It seeks outline planning permission for the demolition or part demolition and infill of various buildings and structures, modification of existing slipways, erection of buildings and ancillary development. 

The development is intended for port-related activities, including the manufacture of marine energy devices, boat manufacture, repair and erection of plant.

The application is for outline planning permission. All matters relating to access, appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale are reserved for consideration as part of reserved matters applications. In practice, as many councils – including Pembrokeshire – have discovered, once outline planning is granted, reserved applications tend to proceed despite potential negative impacts.

A similar situation arose with Milford Haven Port Authority’s hotel development at Milford Marina, where councillors’ concerns were largely overruled by the existence of outline planning permission for the development.

Part of the proposal would see the former graving dock and timber pond infilled, the part demolition of existing slipways, and some buildings on site.

Both the graving dock and timber pond are Grade II listed. Buildings near the development are also listed, including the iconic Sunderland flying boat hangars.

The existing caisson gate currently in situ at the dock’s southern end would be removed and conserved. It is unique in Wales and a rare example. The planning report states that the caisson gate would remain within the marine environment without development and deteriorate. 

The development would include a new ‘super slipway’ built over the land extending into the River Cleddau and the construction of massive new industrial sheds to accommodate new marine technology.


The planning report claims the facilities erected will support anywhere between 288 and 975 full-time equivalent jobs in Pembrokeshire and make a substantial contribution to the local economy. However, the report also notes that the numbers of jobs claimed cannot be corroborated.

This proposal is linked to the establishment of the Marine Energy Test Areas (META), the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) and the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone (PDZ). These collectively comprise the Pembroke Dock Marine (PDM) project. 

The project forms part of the Swansea Bay City Deal to facilitate the next generation of marine renewable energy technology.

Companies who could potentially gain from the development have signalled their support from the proposal.Although their enthusiasm is predictable, the economic potential for local businesses cannot be ignored.


However, a raft of objections also exists.

The Council received representations from, among others: The Victorian Society; The Georgian Group; Hywel Dda University Health Board;  Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre; Pembrokeshire Historic Buildings Trust; Pembroke Civic Trust; Naval Dockyards Society; The Commodore Trust; Ridgway History Group.

Not all of those organisations objected to the principle of development. For example, Hywel Dda expressed concern about the potential effect on access to South Pembs Hospital and patient care. However, most criticised the impact on the historic environment of the Royal Dockyard. Individual objections also expressed the same concerns.

The Naval Dockyard Society points out that the Dockyard construction was the reason for Pembroke Dock’s creation as a town. Without it, the town would not exist.

The Society continues: ‘The proposed scheme would severely damage Pembroke Dock Conservation Area and crucial listed buildings. 

‘The Grade II* Graving Dock would be infilled and partially built over, the Grade II Timber Pond infilled and built over, and the Grade II Building Slips Nos 1 and 2 partially demolished and removed. It would also be detrimental to the adjacent Grade II Carr Jetty setting, which adds to the group value of these threatened structures at Pembroke Dockyard.

‘These structures are the last and most important features of the magnificent and unique assemblage of thirteen slips, graving dock and timber pond constructed and functioning 1809–1926. 

‘Pembroke Dock specialised in building warships during the transition from wood to iron and steel, sail to steam and turbines. 

‘While the eastern slips were sacrificed in 1979 for the Irish ferry terminal and the deep-water berth Quay 1, we now live in a more responsible era, when significant community assets merit planning protection.

‘The Royal Dockyard established at Pembroke Dock from 1809 was unique: the only one in Wales, the only one on the west coast of Britain, and the only one created solely as a shipbuilding facility. 

‘It built over 260 warships for the Royal Navy, including many of the most prestigious warships of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as five royal yachts. Many of these vessels were built on the two large slipways at the western end of the yard threatened by the current development proposal’.


William Gannon represents Pembroke Dock Town Council on the Milford Haven Port Authority. Mr Gannon recently hosted an online event that reviewed the application and gave local people the chance to express their views.

We asked him what the public had to say about the plans.

Listening to the community: David Gannon (photo credit: David Steel)

William Gannon told us: “The feeling of the Community following our Zoom Meeting was that we welcome the 1800 jobs and the £63 Million of investment that the Pembroke Dock Marine Project has promised. 

“However, the Community is concerned about the Pickling Pond and The Graving Dock’s loss, which will be buried beneath the new slipway. Both The Pickling Pond and The Graving Dock are Grade 2 Star listed heritage assets.

“The Community are also concerned about the size of the two ‘super sheds’ that may be built. It is felt that these sheds are both too large and ugly, and they will damage the appearance of the Dockyard and The Haven and could damage Pembroke Docks plans to develop Tourism in and around the Dockyard.

“Our Community is looking to strike a balance between the need to develop the Dockyard and to preserve our Heritage Assets. 

“We believe that we can do this by working with The Port to develop a solution that allows for both.”

The Port Authority plans to infill the dock and pond in such a way as to preserve the structures and excavate them in the future. Once they are built over, however, the circumstances that would be possible or even likely are unclear. 

The Port Authority also proposes to use digital media to provide an ‘augmented reality’ experience to show visitors what the Royal Dockyard looked like before its development.

The Port says that part of the land, the Carriage Drive, would be enhanced and restored under its plans for the site.
The balance between preserving heritage and creating future jobs in one of its pet project areas is one the Welsh Government will wrestle with on this application and others.

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Primary school teacher would ‘moan’ as he touched female pupils, court hears



A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher would “moan” while he touched his female pupils in a sexual way, a witness said in Swansea Crown Court.

In total, 11 former pupils, who were all under 13, have come forward and accused James Oulton, 34, of sexually assaulting them.

Oulton denies all the charges – saying the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he had behaved appropriately all times.

One of the pupils, who was in year four at the time, opened day four of the trial by giving evidence via a video link.

The girl told the court: “He would put his arm around by back and backside.”

Under cross examination Chris Clee QC, for the defence, asked the witness: “Did you tell the police that you were touched in an inappropriate way?”

The witness answered: “Yes, teachers should not be touching in that way.”

James Oulton

Asked if what he was doing wrong, the witness replied:

“Yes, very wrong”

In cross examination letters and cards were produced, made the witness whilst in school, where she had said Mr. James Oulton was “the best teacher in the whole world.”

One of the cards said: “You’ve made my life complete”.

Another card said: “Thank you for being so nice, and thanks for everything that you’ve done for me.”

The witness added: “Despite what he did do, he was a good teacher.  

“He used to buy us treats.

“He was nice caring and a sweet and fun teacher – but not what he was doing.

Referring to the cards, she said: “I would definitely not be saying that stuff now.”

Explaining how she told her parents the witness said: “Once I realised that [x] was in his class, I asked her ‘did he do this stuff to you?’

“She said yes.

“I realised more and more it was wrong and it was time to grow up now, and to speak.

“As soon as I found out that this was happening to [x] I stood up and told my parents.

Asked if she had seen inappropriate behaviour happening to anybody else the witness answered: “He did it to most of the girls in the class, but he had his favourites.

Asked if she had spoken to other girls about the touching, the witness said: “Yes, I was just curious was it just me, or was it normal?”

“Teachers should most definitely not be doing that to students.

“Doing what?”, the witness was asked, “You said in your police interview that he would pull you off your chair and make you sit on his lap, is that true?”

“Yes,” was the reply.

“Did you try and stop him?” she was asked.

“Yes, I tried to push him off sometimes and said, ‘get off its weird’, but I didn’t want to make a scene.

“He would make me sit on his lap whilst he was marking my work.”

When asked by the defence barrister how she was sat on her teacher’s lap, and if it was under a desk, the witness answered: “No, not under the desk, as both of our legs wouldn’t fit under.”

The witness also said that when she was sat on the defendant’s knee he would make “a low grunting noise.”

Asked if she had spoken others about this case, the girl said: “Police told my mum and dad that there were very many people involved in the case.

“I thought it was just me and [x] that was going to be at court, I only recently discovered that others had come out.”

A second female pupil was also giving evidence via video link. She was 9-years-old at the time of the alleged offending.

Firstly, a pre-recorded interview was played in court in which the witness said: “My teacher, Mr. Oulton always put his hand up my leg like that and up my t-shirt.”

She added: “If he calls you over and he pulls you onto his lap, if you don’t, he pulls your chair over and makes you.”

“How would he make you?” the QC asked.

“He would grab your arm, push you, and then pull you in”, she replied.

When asked if this was a one off, the witness said that the defendant “did it every day.”

“How would you be sat on his lap?”, she was asked.

“He would have one arm on my stomach, then the other arm would be rubbing my leg.”

“He would swap arms and then put one arm up my t-shirt.”

When asked to clarify if it was under her t-shirt the girl explained: “Yes it was under my t-shirt rubbing his hands up and down.”

The witness added: “If I tried to get up for work, he would just grab my arm.”

“He would make a funny sound like a hissing airplane.”

“We had a helper in the class, and when he came in, he would stop, and then I could go and sit down.”

The trial continues.

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New trees planted to help town



SEVERAL new trees have been planted on Riverside Avenue in Neyland.

They were planted by Grandiflora, courtesy of the Town Council which recently pledged to plant more trees in the town in an attempt to help the environment.

As well as helping the environment, the trees will prevent vehicles from being parked on the grass verges on Riverside Avenue, which had been severely churned up over the winter and looked unsightly.

The Town Council will be working with Pembrokeshire County Council regarding parking issues in Neyland.

The trees will be tended and watered over the summer period to ensure they reach their maximum potential and enhance the area for residents and visitors alike.

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