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Tributes pour in for Derek

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DerekRobertsONE of Pembrokeshire’s most popular football figures lost his fight against cancer on Sunday night.

Sixty-year-old Derek Roberts passed away at Withybush Hospital where he had worked as an employee for most of his working life.

Many tributes have already been placed on Twitter and Facebook as the sad news spread amongst the community.

Derek played for Haverfordwest County Youth in the team that beat Carew to lift the Wiltshire Cup in 1970. Derek also made his debut in the early 1970s playing as a defender for Haverfordwest County in the old Welsh League Division One. He later played for the highly successful Merlins Bridge team who won Pembrokeshire Football League division one two years on the trot in 1979 and ’80, and the same team won the Senior Cup three times from 1978 to 1980, and achieved the double two years running.

Following his retirement from football he took up many coaching and managerial positions with teams such as Merlins Bridge, Camrose and Haverfordwest County.

He also gained an ‘a licence’ as a football coach with good friend Michael Ellis, and had spells as an academy coach with Cardiff City and Swansea City.

Earlier this year Derek underwent a successful liver transplant in a hospital in Birmingham.

Following his recuperation this summer he felt a lot better and set up his own football coaching school for children at the Bridge Meadow called the ‘Soccer Blast Coaching For Kids.’ All the money raised from these sessions was handed to Birmingham Royal Infirmary and Wales Air Ambulance.

In August, Derek was thrown a surprise 60th birthday at the Haverfordwest County clubhouse where many family and friends celebrated.

Haverfordwest County chairman Rob Summons said: “Derek was a fantastic and genuine man who was a great friend to me. I will miss him greatly but will treasure the memories of all the good times we had together. He was one of the bravest people I have ever known.”Former Bluebirds manager and friend Michael Ellis said: “It is such sad news that Derek has passed away.“I can’t believe it’s happened so quickly. Life is hard to take when someone so special is taken so early in life.”

Pembrokeshire League secretary Brian Hawkins said: “The Pembrokeshire Football League would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the family. Our thoughts are with them during this sad time. He spent a lot of time coaching in Pembrokeshire and will be sorely missed.”

The funeral will take place next Monday, December 11 at Parc Gwyn Crematorium, Narberth at 3.15pm, and after the service the wake will be at Haverfordwest Golf Club.

There will be no flowers and all donations are for the Liver Transplant Foundation in Birmingham. All cheques made payable to Mr Rob Summons, 19 West Street, Rosemarket, SA71 1JH.

Chris O’Sullivan, Haverfordwest County

The Man was a true Gentleman, a proper mans man, always had class about him no matter what he said or did.! This world at times is very unfair, takes all the good ones.! Was an absolute pleasure to play my football in an around the same football club as him for so long, great coach and an absolute great man.. RIP Mr Derek Roberts you will be missed greatly xxx

Adam Raymond, Formerly Haverfordwest County

Absolutely stunned and devastated to hear the news about a true Pembrokeshire football great. My first county coach and the man who gave me so many opportunities in the game. An absolute gentleman and somebody who I could always rely on for advice and guidance. Rest in Peace Derek Rocco Roberts x

Jason Rice Merlins Bridge

The Pembs football community has sadly lost a great man I’m DEREK ROBERTS, it was Derek that gave me baptism of fire debut in Pembs footie as a 17 yr old way back in 1990 down in S’Foot, I came on for last 10 mins for the Merlins Bridge for legend Tony Jones who got injured (shock)!, Derek simply said Ricey I know your keen but just enjoy it, show us what u got but don’t do anything silly, next thing I get nut megged so I just turn around and before the bastard crosses it, bang i take him down… yellow card! Fair play mind Derek after game put his hand on my shoulder and said, well done Ricey, good tackle but next time tuck your balls away and close your legs, even only last year we still laughed about that. brilliant advice by a brilliant coach which I’ve never forgotten. RIP Derek.

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Heatherton expansion approved

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• Committee overturns officers’ objections

• Economic benefits outweigh other impacts

Conditions must not delay development

THE COUNCIL’s Planning Committee voted to approve plans to extend holiday accommodation at Heatherton at its meeting on Tuesday (June 15).

Officers recommended refusal of the plans.

During their discussions, the Committee’s members noted the reasons for refusal detailed by the planning report. They concluded, however, with appropriate conditions in place, the economic benefits of the development outweighed the bases outlined for refusal.

Addressing the meeting, the applicant, Charlie Davies, told Committee members that the changing holiday market meant Heatherton and the area around it would miss out on opportunities to meet the demand for holidays in Pembrokeshire. He added that the planned expansion – to include a further twenty holiday lodges – would secure year-round jobs at Heatherton and have a positive impact on the local rural economy.

Mr Davies said the existing lodge development, approved by the authority seven years ago, improved the viability of Heatherton as an enterprise and would further strengthen the business’ finances.

Officers objected to the plans because they said the development would be outside settlement boundaries and run contrary to environmental policy. 

The report, presented by the Head of Planning David Popplewell, set out a series of concerns regarding the lodges’ visual impact, a lack of screening, and the lack of detail about landscaping plans and construction controls during development.

However, addressing the Committee as one of the local members whose Ward would be affected by the development, Cllr Phil Kidney said St Florence Community Council vigorously supported the application as being of direct benefit to businesses in the village. 

He pointed out that the economic benefits were not only Tenby centric but affected businesses elsewhere in the County.

Phil Kidney told the Committee his visit to a laundry in Pembroke Dock, by chance, revealed that laundry he delivered would be delayed because of laundry being done for the accommodation already on site. 

Cllr Kidney added that, bearing in mind the current furore over second homes, the provision of holiday accommodation on sites such as Heatherton could reduce the demands on local housing and open-up opportunities for local people to live locally.

He fully endorsed the proposal and said he could see no downside to permitting further expansion of a business that delivered jobs to local people, especially young people entering the jobs market for the first time.

Cllr Jonathan Preston agreed with Cllr. Kidney. 

He observed that the regulations regarding what constituted ‘a caravan’ were out of date and out of touch with reality. 

Although the proposed lodges were technically caravans; they were a world away from what most people would expect a caravan to look like and beyond the vision that informed the current rules regarding the term.

Cllr Mark Carter said the problems identified in the planning report could be addressed through the imposition of conditions on the development to offset them.

Mark Carter pointed out issues regarding the detail of landscaping works and lighting could be subject to conditions drafted by officers.

His opinion was warmly welcomed by both Cllrs David Pugh and Vice-Chair Tony Wilcox.

David Pugh said Heatherton was a successful business, employing local people and should be encouraged to continue to offer job opportunities for locals.

Tony Wilcox said Heatherton was one of the three main jewels in Pembrokeshire’s tourist crown. 

He noted the other two destinations – Folly Farm and Bluestone – both recently applied to extend their facilities, and he could see little or no difference between what Heatherton proposed and what officers were prepared to accept elsewhere.

Cllr Tim Evans developed Cllr Wilcox’s theme, observing that officers barely raised an eyebrow about a further eighty pieces of holiday accommodation at Bluestone, which he said had ‘whizzed through’. 

Subject to conditions being brought back to the Committee, he fully supported the application.

Cllr Jacob Williams, Chair of Planning, asked whether the proposed conditions would be back before the Committee for its next meeting in July. 

Having received an equivocal answer he moved that if the Committee approved the scheme, with the proposed planning conditions to offset officers’ objections must come before the Committee on July 27.

Cllr Pugh endorsed that approach by saying nobody wanted the proposal kicked into the long grass.

Councillors approved the plans unanimously by 14 votes to nil, and officers must prepare conditions to attach to the planning permission ahead of the Committee’s next meeting.

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Milford Haven: Christmas cosmetics thief caged

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A MIDLANDS shop lifter caught stealing £2200 worth of cosmetics and skin care products from Boots in Milford Haven just before Christmas, has been jailed.

Magistrates sitting at Haverfordwest Court on Tuesday (Jun 15) accepted a guilty plea from 53-year-old Ion-Gabriel Maimut of Perrott Street, Birmingham.

He was jailed for what the bench described as “offending so serious because the defendant has a flagrant disregard for people and their property.

“And because of the high degree of planning and the high value of the theft.

“And because the theft was aggravated by the defendant’s record of previous offending.”

Maiumut, bang-to-rights, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to a single theft of goods from Boots to the value of £2204.91 on December 4, 2020.

The court confirmed that the defendant’s guilty plea was considered when imposing sentence.

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Blue Gem Wind begins digital aerial surveys for 300MW Valorous floating wind project

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BLUE GEM WIND, the joint venture between TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest energy companies, and Simply Blue Energy, has begun offshore digital aerial surveys for a proposed 300MW floating wind project.

APEM Ltd have been chosen by Blue Gem Wind to deliver 24 consecutive monthly bird and marine mammal surveys of the early-commercial scale Valorous site. The high resolution data obtained will support baseline environmental characterisation of the site and environmental impact assessments for key ecological receptors.

The survey programme commenced in March 2021 and four of the 24 monthly surveys have been completed
to date.

Sean Evans, Environmental Specialist at Blue Gem Wind said, “It is important for us to begin long-lead in items
such as bird and marine mammal surveys as early as possible. These surveys will provide crucial species specific
data on the number, spatial distribution and activity of individuals across the Valorous site. This enables us to
undertake robust environmental impact assessments ahead of our planned consent application submission in
2023.”

Matt Rohner, Senior Consultant at APEM, “APEM Ltd are delighted to be able to support Blue Gem Wind’s
proposed Valorous offshore wind farm with our best-in-class survey design approach. Imagery captured using
state-of-the-art cameras is of ultra-high (1.6cm) resolution, providing industry leading image quality that is
essential for species level identification.”

The Celtic Sea is poised to play a key role in Net Zero, the Committee on Climate Change’s 100GW offshore
wind target, and crucially, the UK Government’s target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030. The ORE Catapult also
estimated that the first GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea could potentially deliver over 3,000 jobs and
£682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

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