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St Florence land fraud woman jailed

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swansea crown courtA WOMAN who fraudulently sold land in west Wales to unsuspecting holidaymakers was jailed for three years this afternoon (Feb 13).

Carolyn Jane Henderson, aged 50, pretended “for years and years” that land at two locations could be used for new homes, log cabins, caravans and tents.

But planning permission had not been granted and Henderson had not even bothered applying for any.

Swansea Crown Court heard how Henderson netted £159,000 before she was arrested. She was now bankrupt and there was no prospect of her paying back any of the money.

Henderson, more recently of Beynons Court, Tavernspite near Whitland, had admitted five offences of fraud by falsely representing between 2010 and 2011 that land for sale at Briar Paddock, St Florence, could be used for caravanning and camping.

The victims were David Harries, Diane Morgan, Paul Stewart, Glyn Coward and John Boswell.

Henderson also admitted possessing an article for use in fraud, a “document of truth” purportedly signed by a C Hastings.

She also admitted between 2005 and 2006 fraudulently obtaining a money order for £15,000 from Roland Evans by claiming that land at Hafod Wen, Llanteg, was suitable for planning permission and that if permission was not granted she would return the money.

Henderson also pleaded guilty to advertising land at Hafod Wen for sale while falsely claiming it was suitable for caravanning and camping.

During an earlier hearing, Henderson’s sister, Amanda Victoria Henderson, aged 42, of Hafod Wen, had denied four charges of fraud relating to land at Hafod Wen. The pleas were accepted and she was discharged after the judge had entered formal verdicts of not guilty.

Huw Rees, prosecuting, said Carolyn Henderson had lived at Hafod Wen with her sister but they had run into difficulties keeping up with mortgage repayments.

Carolyn Henderson began advertising for sale parcels of land at Hafod Wen, where the sisters had five acres of agricultural land, as suitable for caravans and tents. Buyers were duped by an offer by Henderson to buy back the land within three years should there be difficulty with planning issues.

Mr Rees said Henderson went on to carry out similar frauds at Briar Paddock, this time advertising the plots as suitable for houses or log cabins even though she didn’t even own the land.

Mr Rees said Henderson managed to achieve several sales, one alone for £25,000, before getting round to actually buying the land from Anne Marie Wilkinson for £53,000.

He said Henderson made £52,900 out of Hafod Wen and £94,500 from Briar Paddock.

Mr Rees said Henderson, apparently acting on behalf of Hafod Wen Organics, went on to commission a company to drill a water hole on land she owned at Wolves Newton, near Usk. But she refused to pay the £8,500 bill and, in an effort to avoid making payment, forged an invoice from another company in a bid to make it look as if they had carried out the work.

She admitted possessing an article in the use of fraud.

Mr Rees told a packed court room that Henderson’s previous convictions included one for the fraudulent importation of goods and for obtaining property by deception.

Her barrister, Nathanial Wade, said Henderson suffered from complex health issues, both physical and mental, and would find a prison sentence very difficult.

“Many people would like to see her punished, understandably so. She would like to repay them but cannot.

“She is now bankrupt and living in social housing. Hafod Wen has been sold or is about to be sold,” he added.

Judge Huw Davies said Henderson has been “cunning, bold, calculated and persistent” in her offending.

“You knew there was no prospect of getting planning permission because you had already had brushes with the planning authority.”

Judge Davies said many of Henderson’s victims had lost money they would not be able to replace.

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Council’s Planning Committee approves ambitious dockyard plans

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s Planning Committee this morning (Tuesday, May 18) approved an application for the construction of a new marine engineering project at Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard.
The plans, vociferously opposed by local heritage groups, passed unanimously.

The matter will now go to the Welsh Government, which has reserved its position on the scheme’s approval.
Committee members expressed the view that the balance between heritage and economic development were balanced, with strong views expressed on either side. They decided the balance of the application favoured economic development subject to conditions regarding aspects of the site’s preservation and its ability to be restored in the future.

The Committee members who attended a site visit on Wednesday, May 12, said it was the most informative and best site visit they had this council term. Visiting the site gave them a clearer idea about what was planned and the scale of the project, which would not have been gained from a paper exercise.

While the approval of the scheme was unanimous, one element of the reserved matters caused some members concern: the height and size of the proposed massive new sheds which would be built at a later phase of the project.
Cllr David Pugh, seconded by Cllr Steve Alderman, moved an amendment which would approve the project and delegate reserved matters to officers apart from the sheds’ construction, which would return to the Committee for detailed approval.

Cllr Tony Wilcox and Cllr Mark Carter emphasised the need for certainty regarding the project’s development, a position supported by Cllr David Howlett, Cllrs Pugh, Alderman and Cllr Stephen Joseph said that little delay would be caused to the scheme by bringing the sheds’ development back to the Committee. They noted the significant intrusion of the sheds into the landscape for miles around.

Planning Officer Mike Simmons advised that the project would proceed in five phases and that the applicant, Milford Haven Port Authority, was keen to proceed with the first phase as soon as possible. The first phase would be the infilling of the docks and pool, removing a caisson gate and preserving it, before the building of new slipways.
The Port Authority already accepted the sheds would only be built if there was commercial demand for them.
The amendment proposed by Cllr Pugh passed by six votes to five with two abstentions.

It means before the sheds are built, the Committee will decide the detailed application relating to them.

All other aspects of the development will be decided by officers.

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Business

Further Covid-19 business support packages to become available soon

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PEMBROKESHIRE businesses that remain affected by Covid-19 restrictions can check their eligibility for a new package of support from the Welsh Government.

This latest support package will help those businesses eligible to meet ongoing costs through to the end of June as they prepare for re-opening and more normal trading conditions.

Businesses that stand to benefit include:

  • nightclubs and late entertainment venues
  • events and conference venues not covered by the Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF)
  • hospitality and leisure businesses, including restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • supply chain business, which have been materially impacted by restrictions

An eligibility checker has opened on the Business Wales website so businesses can find out how much support they are likely to be entitled to and how to apply.

See more information and check your business’ eligibility at: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/

Funding will be calculated based on the size of the business and the type of restrictions they are under.

Businesses will be able submit applications to the Welsh Government from 24th May 2021 for grants of up to £25,000 and by the end of the month to Pembrokeshire County Council for smaller fixed Discretionary Grants.

To keep up to date and see the future application process for the Discretionary Grants please see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

The above link will be be updated with the latest information.  

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£50,000 funding windfall for low carbon community projects

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OVER £50,000 of funding has been awarded to local projects through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

Since June 2020, the Fund has focussed on supporting community-led projects that contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency. These can include:

·       Installing renewable energy generation facilities, such as solar panels, to a community building

·       Transport initiatives that promote reduced carbon emissions

·       The installation of community facilities that minimise waste, such as water fountains

·       Any other community-based carbon reduction initiatives.

Tenby RFC were among those to benefit from the most recent round of grants with an initiative to install recycling bins and litter pick stations at each of the sports facilities in the town.

There were two successful applications from the Solva area – one for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at Solva Community Clubhouse, and the other from the Community Organised Allotment for Solva Tenants (COAST) to help with set-up costs.

Others to be awarded an SDF grant were the Paul Sartori Foundation and the EcoDewi community group. The Paul Sartori Foundation’s project involved fitting of tracking devices onto warehouse vans to enable route optimisation and increased fuel economy; while EcoDewi secured funding to support a part-time role organising community engagement events and volunteering activities, and developing wider community partnerships.

Jessica Morgan, Funding and Grants Officer for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust said: “It’s been wonderful to see such variety in the applications we’ve received, and the innovative climate emergency solutions suggested by communities in the National Park.

“We look forward to receiving the next round of applications, and would encourage any community-led group or organisation that needs support to fund projects that will help reduce carbon and/or respond to climate change to apply as soon as possible.”

The next deadline for SDF applications is Friday 10 September 2021.

To find out more about SDF grants, and to apply online or download the application form please visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/sdf.  

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