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Councillor queries Old Coronation School grant payments

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queriesA MILFORD HAVEN county councillor has raised queries about grants payments for work claimed to have been done to buildings using public funds.

County Councillor Mike Stoddard has posted on his internet blog, Old Grumpy, information and photographs which he suggest shows that money has been paid out for improvements to a property which have never been carried out.

The claims relate to Old Coronation School in Pembroke Dock, which is owned by an Irish property developer.

Cllr. Stoddard posted:
“I managed to find the information during the public audit inspection in August. This was after the County Council refused my request for the full and final costings for projects under the Haven Towns Regeneration Scheme on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. I am waiting for the Information Commissioner to rule on whether that decision was correct.

“I was particularly interested in the two large chimneys/turrets at the Coronation School. The rebuilding of these had been costed at almost £14,000 (including scaffolding) in the final account for the grant-aided project.

“When I visited previously, I came away with the impression that these chimneys/turrets were still in their original condition. I heard, however, that Cabinet members were assured that they have been rebuilt and that the final account certificate is accurate. So, I made a return visit and took some photographs.

“One thing I noticed on closer inspection was the extensive plant life on the south facing wall of the left hand chimney.

“I realise that Coronation School is in a conservation area, but this is taking biodiversity to ridiculous extremes.

“I will leave it to readers to decide whether this sort of growth is possible in the period since these chimneys were, allegedly, rebuilt.

“Mind you, on reflection, this could all be part of the £20,000 planting scheme that also appears in the final account. £20,000 was supposed to buy a landscaped and sympathetically planted area. What it appears to have purchased is a truckload of gravel.

“The final account includes: slate felt and batten £46,924 and ridge tiles £3,645.

“The photos show what that £50,000+ has actually bought. “The Council has published a press release saying the scheme has been a great success. But I think they are cherry picking relative successes to disguise serious failures.”.

Controversial Cathal McCosker’s ability to corner the market in European grant aid in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock has already hit the headlines in Pembrokeshire’s Best Magazine. The sister publication to The Herald revealed that Mr McCosker or companies with which he was involved, had circumvented the upper limit on receipt of grant aid for building projects in Pembroke Dock.

This was done by using different companies to apply for European grant assistance for his projects. Christening Mr McCosker “The Baron of the Bedsits”, the magazine revealed that there was at least one instance where a grant was provisionally offered to Mr McCosker before he had completed his purchase of the property in question. It is not suggested that Mr McCosker did anything unlawful by attracting grant funding for his projects by using different corporate vehicles to obtain the grant money.

Earlier this year, a stormy meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee threw out an application made by Mr McCosker for retrospective planning permission for bedsits in the old NatWest branch in Meyrick Street, Pembroke Dock.

Council officers had backed the grant of planning permission, even though the meeting revealed that they had withheld information from Councillors on the committee about criminality and antisocial behaviour at the premises.

Shortly after that meeting, Pembrokeshire’s Best reported that the Council had agreed with Cathal McCosker for a scheme to convert buildings near the iconic Pembroke Castle into yet more bedsit accommodation.

Mr McCosker later withdrew from the scheme in the face of local opposition to his plans.

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Two vans and outbuilding broken in to in Milford Haven – Police investigating

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating reports of two vans and an outbuilding being broken in to sometime overnight on Tuesday 12 to Wednesday 13 October, at Vaynor Road, Milford Haven.

Items including tools, cash and bicycles were stolen. Following enquiries, two men have been arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft. The 20-year-old and 23-year-old, both from the Milford Haven area, remain in police custody at this time.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20211013-043. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Nathaniel Nuttal charged over serious assault in Monkton

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A 32-YEAR-OLD man who was arrested following a serious assault in Monkton on Wednesday Morning (October 13) has appeared in court this morning charged with Grievous Bodily Harm with intent.

Police were called to a property in Tenby Court, Monkton, at approximately 5.35am on Wednesday Morning following a report of a serious assault.

A 40-year-old man has been taken to hospital with serious injuries.

32-year-old Nathaniel Nuttal from Monkton was arrested at the scene and has subsequently been charged with section 18 assault (GBH with intent).

Nuttal appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court this morning.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson told this newspaper: “The 32-year-old man that was arrested at the scene, was subsequently charged with Section 18 Assault.

“Nathaniel Nuttal from Monkton, appeared before Llanelli Magistrates Court this morning (Friday, October 15).”

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Schools gearing up for Shwmae Day

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THE Criw Cymraeg (Welsh Crew) at our schools in Pembrokeshire have been busy preparing a whole host of exciting activities to celebrate ‘Shwmae Day’ today! (Friday, October the 15th). 

Shwmae Day is a celebration of the Welsh language and all things Welsh. Seren and Sbarc (the Welsh Language Charter mascots) are asking children to dress as Welsh superheroes or in their best red, white and green outfits to celebrate the day and kick start their Language Charter journey this year.

Bro Ingli Welsh Crew (pictured) have organised several activities for Shwmae Day. Every child and even the staff will come to school dressed in a Welsh cape like Seren and Sbarc. The Criw Cymraeg have arranged a competition between each year for one winner to win a specially designed Seren a Sbarc water bottle. Parents will have the opportunity to have a cup of tea and Welsh cakes when dropping off their children at school in the morning and having a Welsh conversation with the Criw Cymraeg or even being taught a few phrases! The donations will be given to the Wales Air Ambulance. The Criw Cymraeg have also arranged with the kitchen for everyone to have Welsh soup and Welsh cakes for lunch.

Roch School are also dressing up as superheroes. Their Criw Cyrmaeg have arranged lots of exciting activities throughout the day for children to use their Welsh skills from crafts, mocktail making, listening to Welsh music and quizzes to teddy bear picnics. Children will have an extra surprise as they host some special superheroes at their picnic who will join them playing Welsh language games in the playground and sharing a sandwich at the teddy bear picnic.

Scores of teams have also registered for the Big Welsh ‘Dim Clem’ quiz hosted by Menter Iaith Sir Benfro for our English medium primaries. We’ll see which school will be crowned the winner!

And finally, to top off the excitement, all schools will have access to an online gig by Welsh artist Gwilym Bowen Rhys to enjoy during the day.

“What a fantastic effort by our schools to celebrate the Welsh language and to kickstart their Language Charter journey,” said Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Welsh Language. “I wish everybody a great, fun-filled day.” 

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