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​​Black bags ‘were rubbish’

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County Hall

County Hall

THE COUNCIL is to stop its supply of black bags to domestic households in a bid to save around £83,000 a year.

The council’s Cabinet met on Monday (Nov 30), to discuss stopping the supply and plans to increase fees for garden waste collection from £38 to £41.50 per year.

It was highlighted that Pembrokeshire County Council was one of few authorities in Wales to supply black bags and to stop it now would save money straight away.

Cabinet Member for Environmental and Regulatory Services and the Welsh Language, Cllr Huw George said: “Garden Waste Collections started in 2011, it’s a subscription only service and to date we have approximately 5300 customers and they pay £38 for a 40 week period where there garden waste is collected every fortnight.

“The position I have for Cabinet is that we amend the charges as follows; to increase the garden waste collection to £41.50 per bin per annum from the current £38.

“If the total number of customers remains around the same level it would generate an additional £18,500. In addition to that if we could increase that number it might secure the price of £41.50 as we move forward through the years ahead.

“It’s £2 per collection which is very reasonable. For £2 a fortnight we can take away your garden waste which would secure the service moving forward.

“Every year we supply 52 black bags to domestic properties and this is not a statutory duty and we are one of few authorities who still do so. We have downed the size and made them thinner.

“It is proposed that we, if we cease supplying black bags to households from 2016 onwards, we would save £83,000.

“The reason we are bringing this forward today is that we are about to go out and pay for the black bags coming on so if we can save paying them it means that the money is with us now rather than looking ahead 12 months.

“There are concerns that people, if they don’t have a black bag, would stick things into the orange bag but I must say that the people of Pembrokeshire have been absolutely brilliant with recycling.

“When we brought in fortnightly collections, there were some people who were saying it was the end of the world but the people of Pembrokeshire responded remarkably.”

Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “The costings are based on the net effect of the increase, not dissuading any customers from continuing with the provision of the service.

“We are one the last councils to supply black bags, recognising that we do need to encourage greater recycling, albeit the public has responded very well to that.”

Head of Environment & Civil Contingencies Richard Brown added: “We have increased the price in each of the last three years and each time we have seen an increase in numbers of people wanting to take the service up. This is because people realise how good it is. The service sells itself.

“We are not anticipating a drop, if we did that would be counter-productive but on previous performance we would expect this to be growing.

“In terms of the black bags, in Ceredigion they haven’t had black bags over the last 12 years so it is down to the residents there.

“A lot of people have been critical of the quality of the plastic bags which I would say are standard industry bags but I wouldn’t anticipate general disobedience from the public because we stopped supplying them with black bags.”

Cllr Jamie Adams said that this was part of a consultation process and added that members of the public had said that the council don’t need to supply black bags.

Cllr Alison Lee said: “I really don’t think this is going to be an issue and I think it would encourage more recycling and as Huw already said, the bags weren’t that good anyway.”

Cllr Huw George replied: “They were rubbish.”

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Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the second day of his trial.

James Oulton, 34, of Haverfordwest would put his hands around students’ waists and touch their bottoms, an ex-female pupil said in a video interview played to Swansea Crown Court.

The defendant denies 30 charges of sexual assault at a primary school in Haverfordwest. The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

On the opening day of the trial, court heard that Oulton said the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he always behaved appropriately with children.

On Tuesday, the jury watched the video interview with one of Oulton’s former pupils, who said he was a “friendly person, very chatty and sociable and quite outgoing and wanted to know everything that was going on.”

She added: “Mr Oulton often wanted to know a lot of details on what we had done over the weekend, where we had been, and also who they had been with.”

“At the time I just thought he was trying to be really friendly but now when I look back at it now, it does seem odd.”

The witness also described the defendant as a “very touchy-feely teacher”.

She added: “If he was marking your work or if you approached him to ask him a question, he would put his hands around your waist or around your bum”.

“If he was standing by his desk, he would, like, motion to his knee, so he wouldn’t ask you directly to sit on his lap but he would tap his knee.”

Swansea Crown Court heard that the witness eventually came forward and told her parents parents after she heard them speaking about Mr Oulton being suspended from his job.

“Did you feel under pressure to say something had happened to you?” asked Mr Clee.

The witness answered “No”

Oulton, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, previously told the court he had behaved appropriately.

He also believed letters were sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to parents which encouraged “deliberately false evidence” and collusion between pupils.

The trial continues.

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‘We don’t want it’: councillors object to HGV tanker park plans

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PEMBROKE DOCK town councillors have objected strongly to plans to build a HGV tanker park in the town.

The tanker park would be located on the south-western side of Criterion Way, behind the ASDA petrol station.

However, at a meeting of the town council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday, April 13, councillors were in agreement that it would create more problems for the town.

Councillor Jonathan George said: “I’ve noted the public input on this and they don’t seem very happy about where it’s going to be put.

“It is close to a small park area and I don’t think it’s suitable to put this here. I won’t be supporting this.”

Cllr George Manning added: “There are many aspects of this which are totally inappropriate for Pembroke Dock. There are many other sites available but they haven’t looked at any of them.

“This does not do anything for the Future Generations act and it will bring more disruption to the town.

“This does not bring about any improvements to the existing transport infrastructure. There are lots of things about this, we don’t want it. I don’t think they have looked into it in enough detail.”

Cllr Gordon Goff said that the impact it would have on the public and wildlife would be ‘astronomical’.

He went on to say he was not happy with one of the statements in the application and said they ‘don’t want to be blackmailed’.

One of the documents submitted with the application states that if the development was not approved it would mean that the applicants, Certas, ‘will either have to find a different site’ or ‘will have to cease operating in the area’.

Cllr Terry Judkins said that the Port Authority wanted to ‘use Pembroke Dock as a dumping ground’ and added that he could not support it.

Cllr Maureen Colgan added that she was ‘totally against’ the application and said that the area should be kept for leisure and be developed as an area where people can sit and enjoy themselves.

The application is due to be decided by Pembrokeshire County Council at a later date.

Cllr Paul Dowson has already called in the application for it to be debated by the County Council’s Planning Committee.

In his request he states that it is too near habitation, it is within the Pembroke Dock conservation area and that children have been using the area near the bandstand as play area for over 20 years.

The area had also previously been the subject of an application for a marina and other leisure facilities but that investment was written off in 2017.

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Trial of Haverfordwest primary school teacher starts at Swansea Crown Court

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher who is accused of sexually abusing eleven children thinks he is a victim of a witch hunt by the police, a jury has heard.

But at Swansea Crown Court on Monday (Apr 12), the Clare Wilks for the prosecution said that the defendant had “abused the trust of parents and staff” by sexually touching children in his care.

James Oulton, denies 30 charges of sexual assault against the eleven children who were aged eight or nine years old at the time.

The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

The jury heard how the pupils, now aged between 11 and 17, claimed he touched them sexually.

But the court was also told that Mr Oulton claimed he received cards at the end of term, and he believed letters sent by Pembrokeshire council to parents encouraged false complaints and collusion between pupils.

Oulton, 34, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, told the court he had behaved appropriately.

The jury heard how the alleged abuse occurred while Mr Oulton was working at a primary school in Haverfordwest.

Clare Wilks, prosecuting, said some of the children alleged that they had been assaulted on a daily basis, while others had had given statements to say it only happened the one time.

The trial continues.

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