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Motions ‘kicked into the long grass’

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County Hall

County Hall

MEMBERS of the Corporate Governance Committee felt that two notices of motion were being ‘kicked into the long grass’ on Monday.

Cllrs Viv and Mike Stoddart both saw their motions sent to the Constitutional Issues Working Group, a group which has not met since April 2014.

The working group was the subject of much debate and Council Leader Jamie Adams stated that he was happy to commit to the group meeting by the end of February but other councillors were not convinced.

Cllr Mike Stoddart proposed that a person putting forward a Notice of Motion, if he/she wishes, could propose that it be debated on the day and the council would vote on the matter.

Cllr Michael Williams said: “I find the recommendation a bit strange because in the leaders’ meeting last week there was a general acceptance that the Constitutional Issues Working Group was at best in a state of complete torpor. When did it last meet? This is certainly a boot into the long grass”.

Acting Head of Paid Service Ian Westley added: “This particular issue was raised by myself because whilst I understand there are issues about how often this group has met and how affective it might have been, the issue that was raised at that meeting was in fact that it is still in place and we should bring it back on track and use it for its intended purpose. This is nothing to do with kicking things into long grass”.

Cllr Kilmister added: “We already have a constitution which says how a notice of motion should be dealt with and that should be that it goes to this committee for a decision and then it goes on to council. This committee is being used in the wrong way. We need to put it back to council and stop referring these things. We shouldn’t be extending this process. We need to determine this and if it goes to the working group it will be lost for months to come. They haven’t once looked at the notices of motion and it is a complete farce!”

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “These issues do not need to go off to a Constitutional Issues Working Group, which is, in my opinion, kicking it into the long grass and I would also disagree that this committee should be able to kick it there without it going back to council”.

Cllr Viv Stoddart proposed that non-executive members should be allowed to ask questions or comment on an agenda item at an executive meeting.

She said: “My motion seeks to close the gap at Pembrokeshire County Council. A non-executive member can send representations to the Cabinet member who may inform the Cabinet of the issues brought to his or her attention. The key word there is ‘may’. Non-executive members should not have their representations subject to the whim of the Cabinet member. This discretion affords the Cabinet member an opportunity to abuse their positions of power.

“If we go back to autumn 2013, when the proposed merger of schools in my ward was on the agenda for the November Cabinet meeting, I emailed my contribution to all members; did the cabinet member raise my email? There wasn’t a word from the cabinet member.

“There is no equality of arms between the non-executive member and the cabinet member. The Cabinet member, during the debate, can make the case for his ward. This gives them an unfair advantage over the non-executive members.

“When it comes to scrutiny, in September, the leader accepted that Cabinet members needed to be more inclusive in the way they dealt with members.

“If this is accepted it will be seen by the public as being more open and transparent”.

Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “We need to recognise that the process of undertaking a complete review of the constitution is the way forward to provide a firm footing for the council to operate.

“The opportunity is with us to shape how we operate in the future; we’ve got an opportunity in our grasp within three months we could have that on the table. I would suggest our efforts be concentrated on that rather than adopting well-meaning aspects of change when we can have a fundamental review”.

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “I completely support the proposal and it is interesting as the leader says it’s got merit so I can’t see why he would be keen to kick it into the long grass. We’ve got to grab the bull by the horns and get on with it”.

Cllr Kilmister stated that Cabinet should be more accessible and that it was time for councillors to speak for themselves.

Ian Westley added: “I share your frustrations. As officers we are being told of the need to redraft elements of the constitution, it’s in all of our interests to do. You’ve heard the leader commit to calling a meeting of the Constitutional Issues Working Group before the end of this month and his commitment to attempt to get the constitution redrafted by the annual council which is not four months away”.

Speaking earlier in the meeting, he stated that he saw the recommendations for the two agenda items as a positive way of moving forward.

Council Leader Jamie Adams added: “It has proved difficult and we’ve probably got bogged down which is why we agreed a set of principles to guide the council forward. If we’re chipping away at the current constitution I don’t believe we would be doing ourselves much of a service and I gave the commitment at the leaders meeting and I am happy to do it again here that I see a real opportunity to get a new working constitution to council by the AGM this year. I’d like to think that is a far better way forward”.

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Community backs fundraiser to help injured Pembrokeshire paramedic

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OVER six thousand pounds have been raised to support a local paramedic who was badly injured in a road traffic collision involving a motorbike and a car last Sunday (Jan 29).

Sean Luby, has served as a paramedic for more than three decades.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has been told that he was on his way to work the night shift when his Honda motorbike was involved in a collision with a grey Audi A3 car on the A4076 near the Horse and Jockey public house. The road was closed for several hours.

His condition is now critical but stable after undergoing a 12-hour operation yesterday on Friday (Feb 3), with more surgery expected soon.

His colleagues have set up a JustGiving to support Sean’s family through this difficult time and to help cover their travel and accommodation costs during Sean’s stay in hospital.

Marco Siso, who set up the appeal along with fellow DAV paramedic Simon Clark said: “The response has been really overwhelming”

Marco added: “He’s a lovely bloke and this has hit the staff hard. It has brought us together and we want to do what we can to help.”

As a paramedic of such experience Sean has helped save the lives of hundreds of Pembrokeshire people when he has been both on and off duty.

He is currently one of the dedicated ambulance vehicle (DAV) paramedics at Withybush Hospital, working primarily with the maternity and paediatric services.

Dyfed-Powys police is asking anybody who witnessed the collision, on the on the A4076 Steynton Road, Milford Haven at about 5.10pm on Sunday January 29, to get in touch.

Witnesses can contact police 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-20230130-274.

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Business

Site visit for National Park planners considering caravan park improvements

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NATIONAL PARK planners, expected to allow officers to approve an application to relocate caravans in a caravan park, will instead attend a site visit there.

Huw Pendleton, of Celtic Holiday Parks, had applied for a change of use of land for the siting of nine relocated static caravans and associated infrastructure improvements at Meadow House Holiday Park, Summerhill.

The application, before the February meeting of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s Development Management Committee, had been recommended for delegated approval by officers if a string of conditions were met.

Delegated approval for the application at the 200-pitch site bordering the national park was mooted despite Amroth Community Council objecting to the application; recommending refusal.

A report for planners said 47 static pitches were previously permitted under a change from 55 touring pitches; nine of these static pitches now being proposed for relocation to an area of land within the holiday park.

It stated the overall number of pitches within the site is not proposed to be increased.

Correspondence had been received which raises concerns on the privacy impact from the proposed static caravans on existing residential properties, as well as the potential for noise and disturbance from occupiers of the site.

It was recommended for delegated approval with a string of conditions including the completion of a Section 106 agreement.

At the February 2 meeting, concerns were raised by neighbour Dorian Evans on amenity grounds, and by local county councillor Alec Cormack, who asked for deferment pending a site visit, saying there would be a “significant impact” on neighbouring properties, which was disputed by agent Gerald Blain.

Following a proposal by Councillor Simon Hancock, members agreed to attend a site visit.

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Wales 10 – Ireland 34: Clinical Ireland outfox wasteful Wales

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RUGBY is often described as a game of inches, where the tiniest errors significantly affect games’ outcomes. That was the case on Saturday, where Ireland won convincingly by making fewer unforced errors than Wales.

As a contest, the game was all but over in the first 25 minutes. Ireland did nothing flash, nothing extraordinary. They were just better at the basics. It’s what you’d expect when the first-ranked team in the world play the ninth.

Conceding a try after two minutes was a bad start, but again and again thereafter, Wales either coughed the ball up or conceded penalties in clutch positions.

Ireland’s game management showed the confidence of being a settled group under a single coach with a defined game plan. Ireland’s players constantly worked off the ball to close gaps and shut off running lines. The Irish slowed down the Welsh ball and applied pressure with clinical precision. The Irish scrum and lineout gave the visitors’ backline time to play.

Whatever the Welsh game plan was before Wayne Pivac left as the coach (answers on a postcard for that one), on Saturday, Wales showed signs of trying to create a pattern of play based on phase play creating the space to allow Wales’s backs to punch through stretched defensive formations. However, a plan is only as good as its execution. And Wales repeatedly created good positions only to make sometimes desperately disappointing mistakes.

Twice Wales had the throw near the Irish line, and twice Irish forwards picked off the ball. On another occasion, Wales went long at the lineout in their half, only for the ball to land on the Irish side. Add that to a crooked throw in a promising position, and Wales lost momentum at crucial stages.
Ireland stormed into an early lead with their first attack ending with Number Eight Doris smashing his way over from close range. It got worse six minutes later when James Ryan scored with almost a carbon copy play.

Wales’s best chance of the opening quarter came when Irish full-back Hugo Keenan got to a loose ball over the Irish line before Welsh winger Rio Dyer.

Although Biggar got the home side off the mark with a penalty, within minutes, a telegraphed pass ended in the hands of Lowe, who streaked over unopposed for Ireland’s third try.

24-3 down soon became 27-3 following another Sexton penalty following Welsh indiscipline at the breakdown. Realistically, that score ended the game. However, in the half’s dying moments, Wales again applied pressure. Jac Morgan, who had a good game in a losing cause, crossed the Irish line only to be held up by a strong Irish defence.

It looked grim at half-time. Wales had been disorganised and disjointed, while every time the Irish got the ball in the Welsh half, they looked like they would come away with points.

Whatever Warren Gatland said at half-time got the Welsh players’ attention.

Wales came steaming out of the blocks in the second half, looking better organised and less frantic. Good phase play opened a gap in the Irish midfield, and Liam Williams sped through the gap to touch down near the posts, making Biggar’s conversion a formality. Wales continued to work through the phases, and only an uncharacteristically poor pass from Justin Tipuric spoiled a good chance for Rio Dyer to get a clear run at the Irish line.

Wales still tried to keep up the pressure but lacked accuracy at key moments when cooler heads might have produced more. As if that wasn’t bad enough, with fifteen minutes of normal time to go, Liam Williams was – maybe a little unluckily – yellow-carded for making contact with the ducking, bobbing and weaving Jonny Sexton’s head.

The man advantage was all Ireland needed to break Wales’s stranglehold on the match. They kept kicking for space behind the Welsh midfield and used Bundi Aki as a midfield battering ram to keep the Welsh players tied in at the breakdown. With Wales stretched and gaps appearing in the defensive live, Van der Flier had the simplest of tasks to add a fourth try for Ireland.

As the clock ticked down – and with Wales 34-10 down – the Irish pressed for the score that would give them a record win in Cardiff. Wales tried again to break out for a consolation score, more in hope than expectation, and it was all Ireland when the final whistle blew.

Warren Gatland said he was “strangely not that disappointed” after the game.

The Wales coach said: “The things I’m disappointed with are things we can put right: the slow start and giving away needless penalties. When you look at the game we put ourselves in positions we could’ve taken advantage of. We can take away the positives, look at our second half performance and improve on that.”

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