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Wind turbine extension refused

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turbine123PLANS to extend the height of a controversial wind turbine near Castle Cenlas, Mathry, were refused by the Planning and Rights of Way Committee.

The committee met on Tuesday, September 8, to discuss the application which had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

A previous application to the committee for the turbine was made in September 2014 but that was also refused by the committee.

However, the application was subsequently granted on appeal in March 2015.

The application before the committee sought to extend the height of the blade tip from 34.5m to 36.6m.

There were near farcical scenes when the vote was taken as at first the vote had been recorded as six for the application and seven against it.

The agent Martin Horne stood up in the public gallery demanding a recount of those who had voted but it was eventually clarified that six had voted for and seven had voted against.

Objecting as she did at the previous meeting, Annie Lock said: “My husband and I run a luxury camping and yurts business which is near where the turbine will be sited.

“Visitors come for the peace, tranquillity and landscape. We have been through the anxiety and stress of two other turbine applications by this applicant, both of which were refused by the planning committee.

“Over 150 people have objected to this amendment alone. This application is being presented to you as a minor change. This turbine will be over two metres higher and the blade sweep will be over 50% greater than the turbine which you have already turned down.

“The sweep, covering a 50% larger area, will have a devastating impact on the visual amenity and tranquillity of the area and our campsite.

“The recommendation to accept this turbine is just a gamble. Would you choose to go on holiday underneath a large turbine? You answered no to a smaller turbine last time.”

Cllr Brian Hall explained that as he had supported the turbine on the previous occasion he would do so again.

However, a number of councillors felt uncomfortable with the recommendation.

Cllr Peter Stock said: “I’ve always got great concern when we look at anything that could possibly affect the quality of Pembrokeshire.

“Visual impact is very important, and looking at Pembrokeshire now, we have many turbines up and this is possibly detrimental to the county.

“This particular one is higher than what we voted on last time and why when we turned it down before, are we being asked to approve this one?

“I believe that if we approve this today it will have a detrimental effect on that area.”

Cllr Tony Wilcox added: “This is a different application, this is larger and it would have a detrimental effect on the area and there are also two other turbines there so I am not comfortable with the officers’ recommendation.”

Cllr Gwilym Price said: “I can’t support approval here. I think the visual impact is absolutely devastating. I support the community council and the business in this area, tourism is so important to our county and we want to keep it looking as nice as possible. I hate to see too many turbines in an area so I will be voting against this.”

The plans to extend the turbine were refused but the developer still has the green light to go ahead with the existing consent.

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MP calls for cut in beer duty for pubs

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has written to the Chancellor ahead of next week’s Budget calling on him not to increase alcohol duties and to cut the tax on draught sales to help stop pubs going out of business.

Mr Crabb is one of more than a 100 MPs calling for a cut in the ‘keg tax’ to help pubs compete more fairly with supermarket sales of alcohol. 

Currently, beer drinkers have to pay around £1 in tax for every pint they drink in a pub, which is the highest rate in Europe and nearly twelve times higher than in Germany.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Crabb said: “Pubs are at the heart of so many of our communities and when a pub closes down something special is  lost. That is why I am calling on the Chancellor to reduce the beer duty from the keg. A cut will not only bolster our much-loved pubs across our towns and villages, but also have a knock-on boost for British agriculture and employment. 

“Over a hundred Conservative MPs and I hope that after a difficult period the Chancellor will give our pubs and clubs something to raise a drink to this budget.”

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County lines intensification week sees drug supply disrupted into west Wales

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Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police carried out 11 raids during a week of action tackling county lines drug gangs.

COUNTY LINES intensification week (Monday, 11 October to Sunday, 17 October) saw officers carry out warrants, intercepting vehicles potentially involved in the supply of drugs, and working with partners to raise awareness of drug-related crime.

Seventeen people were arrested during the week, with crack cocaine (0.8grams), heroin (77g) and cocaine (6g) seized.

The value of those drugs is estimated to be around £4,500, while officers seized £6,500 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Also seized were an extendable baton and an ammunition magazine.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Cotterell said: “The county lines intensification week was successful for Dyfed-Powys Police, and we had a number of excellent results thanks to the proactive work of officers and police staff across the four divisions.”

As well as the front-line warrants and police work, a lot went on behind the scenes, leading to:

  • More than 2,000 people educated about County Lines and exploitation during the intensification week in the community and partner agencies.
  • Some 50 letting agencies/estate agents educated about the dangers of criminality, such as County lines activity in rented properties.
  • More than 150 businesses educated about county lines, with an emphasis on those who provide mobile top-up services and the use of ‘burner phones’.
  • 50 ‘at-risk’ or vulnerable children, young people and adults received targeted safeguarding support on a 1-2-1 basis and in group settings.

DCI Cotterell added: “Few people are aware of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to support victims, or the measures we put in place to stop people from becoming repeat victims of drug-related crime.”

“It is very important to us as a force that while we act on all new intelligence to disrupt county lines, we also take a victim-oriented approach to working with those affected by these gangs to protect them from becoming repeat victims.”

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Pembroke Dock: Pensioner sentenced to 20 years for child sex offences

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A PENSIONER from Pembroke Dock has been given an extended sentence of 20 years in prison with a further year on licence after being found guilty of historical rape of a child in the 1980s.

Barry Lake, aged 70, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court today (22 October) having been found guilty of 10 counts of rape of a child and two charges of gross indecency with a child last month.

Lake, now of Newton-le-Willows in St Helens, had denied all 12 charges relating to offences between January 1986 and January 1989.

Lake was first questioned by Dyfed-Powys Police in April 2020 in what would become an intensive and complex investigation.

Investigating officer DC Claire Lewis said: “Lake denied all charges, putting his victim through the ordeal of a trial.

“As they have done throughout the investigation, they showed great courage and dignity in the face of adversity to help us convict their abuser.

“This was a long and intensive investigation with a lot of work to achieve this outcome today.

“This sentence shows that it doesn’t matter how long ago a victim has suffered sexual abuse, we as police are here to listen and take seriously any person who has suffered any form of sexual abuse albeit a day or 35 years after.

“Please do not be scared to come forward, we are here to listen to you.

“Once again, I would like to commend the victim for their bravery for coming forward and achieving this outcome today.”

After serving 20 years in prison Lake will serve another year on licence.

He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register indefinitely and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

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