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Badger and the difference

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badger84imageAND SO, readers, the massed forces of law and order have spoken and determined that there is no evidence of criminal conduct by anyone involved in the unlawful scheme to allow local authority fat cats to cash in on the supine and crass stupidity of those councillors charged with assessing whether they should be paid in guineas or gold doubloons. Now: Kevin Maggs, the Beloved Leader of the People’s Republic of Carmarthenshire, of whom Badger has written before, and a man renowned as one who cannot see a belt without hitting below it, is full of praise for the Police’s good sense in agreeing with the opinion that he says he held all along. Never one to miss out on the opportunity to place his own spin on events, the Council’s very own “Mr Expenses”, Jamie Adams, claimed: “1 have always maintained that though the decision in question may have been procedurally flawed, no individual had used their influence improperly.”

He then invites people to believe that – even though he rolled over and asked the Wales Audit Office to tickle his belly when faced with the prospect of defending the indefensible in Court — there was nothing “inherently unlawful” about allowing Bryn to avoid tax on his publicly-funded pension pot. What a weasel-word “inherently” is, readers! Let’s try a sample sentence to see how it works: There is nothing inherently dishonest about Jamie Adams’ intellectual position. There is nothing inherently immoral about rewarding
failure. There is nothing inherently wrong in giving a tax break on pensions to those at the top while screwing down the wages of those at the bottom. Yes: I think we can all see Jamie’s point. Weasel words for a weasel, after all.

Like most of his IPPG comrades, Jamie lives in a world devoid of ideals, idealism or principles. The ends, for Jamie, ALWAYS justify the means. Jamie likes to say that “It’s all about outcomes not processes.” Well Jamie, a flawed processes of which you were part had an outcome that landed the authority with legal bills and experts’ fees running into tens of thousands of pounds; the same flawed process has exposed the moral bankruptcy of your administration and its grovelling dependence on officers; the same flawed process has put local government in this county into disrepute. Yes, Jamie: it’s all about outcomes.

If Jamie didn’t think that Mac O’Velly was an Irish manufacturer of agricultural machinery, you’d think that his proclivity – like a Renaissance prince – for dishing out patronage and remunerated favours like sweeties was derived from actually doing his own reading, rather than being told what to think by reading about it on the back of an officer’s fag packet. How dim must Jamie be not to realise that the issue is not about what is lawful or unlawful? The issue is a moral one. There is not so much a moral vacuum in Jamie’s political understanding ‘°’ a moral black hole from which no light can escape. When it comes to political principles and moral choices, Jamie may as well be asked to translate Parsee into Linear B. He’s a bit like Mr Heslop in Porridge, in that regard, is Jamie.

“I read a book once. Green it was.” And that, readers, is the difference between Jamie and those like him and the rest of the world. Badger watched Huw George a few months back as he claimed — in Welsh — that Bryn had to be in the meeting discussing his pay to advise the Senior Staff Remuneration Committee. Not actually advise, you understand. But there so his advice could be called upon if required. Sort of being influential without offering any direct influence. An entirely novel approach to the issue which his leader has, rather pointedly, not repeated. And almost certainly not repeated to the Gloucestershire plod. Even on the !PPG benches there are those who can tell the difference between right and wrong. On those benches there are those uneasy about the contortions of language their leader and others have used again and again to defend a policy they know is both morally wrong and politically disastrous.

Even Huw George cannot be that stupid. Not with one head. They are rather like Tory backbenchers in the dying days of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. Aghast at the unwinding of a policy that was an unmitigated failure and a political canker, Tory backbenchers were loyal in public — to a point — but fretful in private. That festering realisation of impending doom, focussed a lot of Tory minds in November 1990. Suppurating away with resentment on the IPPG side of the Council chamber, there are decent people who are the prisoners of Jamie’s patronage.

In hock to allowances both internal and external, they have realised that whether they vote for Christmas or not, the turkeys don’t have much of a future. Jamie cannot easily lance that infection, not least because he publicly continues to defend an officer – and a policy affecting that officer — who has not so much lost the confidence of the Pembrokeshire public, as he has become a byword for a complacent, self-serving and self-regarding approach to local government. Mary Tudor, Bloody Mary, it was who is alleged to have claim that the word “Calais” would be found engraved upon her heart after death, as a memento mori of her greatest failure. Jamie and the !PPG will collectively be found with the words “Bryn Parry Jones” upon theirs.

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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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