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New school approved, despite concerns



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County Hall: Members attend the Extraordinary meeting yesterday (Jan 13)

A NEW school will be built in the Angle peninsula despite concerns over the proposed location.

The proposal will see the closure of Angle VC, Orielton CP and Stackpole VC Schools and a new 3-11 VC school established. At Thursday’s (Jan 14) Extraordinary Meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, it was revealed that a proposed new school on a site in Hundleton was the preferred option. However, concerns were raised over Hundleton’s proximity to Monkton School which some councillors felt might lead to a drop in pupil numbers. There were also suggestions to keep the Stackpole School open because of its size and to put the new school there.

After a lengthy debate a majority voted in favour of the plans for the new school on a site in Hundleton. Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sue Perkins said: “There is a strong level of support for these proposals. A federation was considered but the legislations does not allow for this to happen. “It should be acknowledged that meeting all the needs of the Angle peninsula is a difficult challenge. “The new school will have 120 pupils which is hardly a large school and the proposal is the most sensible and equitable solution.”

Hundleton Cllr John Allen- Mirehouse said: “These have been three difficult years for the schools. All of the schools achieve well, there reports are excellent. One thing that has come out of the reports from the inspector is the ethos of the schools. “These are small rural friendly schools but finance has made it very difficult for Stackpole and Hundleton and the reason for that is the falling numbers of pupils. “People on the peninsula would very much like to keep the status quo but there is a universal agreement that the first choice is not an option. “The new school would be on one of two sites and the preferred site is at Hundleton. “There have been many consultations and there is a minority group that would like to retain Stackpole but that is really not an option. “The future, if an option is not taken up, looks grim for all three schools. It is a difficult choice but a majority want the new school and that will offer what the other three cannot offer of a first class facility. “We are looking at the education of a minority and this will bring educational benefits that will occur for generations to come”

Cllr Tony Wilcox said: “This is a sign of the times and everybody would welcome the new school but it is the location I have a problem with. Most of the children go to the Stackpole School. We own the site and we would only have to use the one bus to get children to and from the school. “We would have to buy land in Orielton and the location may cause problems for Monkton.” Council Leader Jamie Adams said that the council had to be mindful of the roads around Stackpole and that although Stackpole is the largest school, it was about where people travel from to attend the school.

Cllr Viv Stoddart was also concerned about the new location and added that there was no mention of the preferred site in the recommendation. Cllr Adams said that the preferred option was the Orielton site. Cllr Jacob Williams said: “I agree with the concerns. The site at Hundleton would be within two miles of Monkton and I don’t think that is ideal. The Monkton School is too close to this site. “The site at Stackpole is bigger, it has playing fields and is in Pembrokeshire County Council Ownership. The case has not been made that the site needs to be at Hundleton. Why spend extra money on new land at Hundleton?”

Cllr Daphne Bush said: “Travelling from Angle to Hundleton is far better and you cant expect Angle children to travel to Stackpole and Hundleton is a super alternative. Cllr Mike John said it would not be fair to expect children from Angle to travel to the Stackpole School and added that the new school needed to be in a central location. Cllr Tessa Hodgson said she was unhappy with the recommendation as she felt it should include the possibility of looking at the Stackpole site as an alternative. The plans were approved by a majority vote.

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



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



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



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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