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Major parties begin Parliamentary campaigns



POTENTIAL voters in south Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen west were introduced to their Westminster candidates this week, as election fever builds in the run-up to the May election.

Conservative Simon Hart, the incumbent MP launched his re-election campaign by pledging to continue to provide robust support to people in their hour of need and to put people above politics.

Mr Hart told the Herald:  “In Westminster I have been proud to successfully champion our part of Wales in the heart of Government.

“Since the last election I have dealt with 9,000 inquiries in my office in Whitland, held nearly 40 public meetings, visited countless schools, businesses, clubs and institutions and, most importantly, spoken to literally thousands of local people.

“I am delighted that – despite Ed Miliband’s predictions – unemployment is down over 30% from 2010, that inflation is at 0%, that interest rates are low and that business start ups and growth are at their highest for years. Who would have thought Britain would be the fastest growing economy in the world?

“Locally I have been so delighted to support local projects such as the successful bid to bring S4C to Carmarthen, the campaign to get Network rail to renovate the station buildings in Whitland, to sort out speeding problems in villages across the area and to lead the charge for our tourist industry in getting George Osborne to scrap a higher rate of vat on caravans amongst countless other important local issues.

“There is always more to do, more battles to be fought, but I hope I have been able to convince people that I have a successful track record and deserve another term.”

His rival, Labour candidate Delyth Evans, also launched her campaign this week, in Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock, where former Welsh secretary Peter Hain showed up to offer his support.

Ms Evans spoke confidently about Labour’s plan for the next five years, building a better Britain based on an economy that works for working people, supporting the NHS, creating more apprenticeships and opportunities for young people, and abolishing the Bedroom Tax.

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Among those attending the launch was the local Labour party’s oldest member, 93-year-old Betty Farrar from Amroth.  Backing Ms Evans, Betty said that “our communities need a strong voice in Westminster.

“Times are still tough for families.  I worry for older people like myself that if the Tories get their way, social care will be cut badly taking away the services that people need every day.

“I remember a time before the NHS. People today have no idea what it was like.  I was one of seven children and when we were sick I don’t remember ever seeing a doctor.  So the creation of the NHS was so, so vital. I do worry about the National Health because if the Tories get back in, they will hack away at it.”

Ms Evans told the Herald that Betty’s concerns are widely felt:  “Betty shares many of the concerns that I have been hearing on the doorstep over the last two years. Concerns about austerity and concerns about the public services. Voters in South Pembrokeshire want to be reassured that the next government will work for them and that they have an MP who understands and shares their concerns. This constituency can make the difference as to which party will govern the country. If you want change, you can get change by voting Labour on May 7th.”

The race for the seat looks too close to call, and even LSE analysts, while predicting that the Conservatives may shade it admit they ‘wouldn’t bet the house’ on the result.  In 2010, Simon Hart achieved a majority of nearly 3,500 over Labour’s Nick Ainger, but a stronger showing for Labour and a surge in popularity for UKIP show the Conservative lead slashed from double-figure percentage points down to 0.8%.  The success of these campaigns could very well have a major impact on which party carries South Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West in May.

Full list of candidates for this seat:

Delyth Evans Labour Party

Elwyn Williams Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales

Simon Hart Conservative Party

John Atkinson UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Gary Tapley Green Party

Selwyn Runnett Liberal Democrats

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Heatherton expansion approved



• 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



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



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

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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