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Councillor Pugh in a stew

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pugh in a stewPEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s Cabinet member Cllr David Pugh has issued an “unreserved apology” over remarks he made during a sustained and savage attack on Hakin’s Cllr Mike Stoddart at last Thursday’s county council meeting when the controversial property grants in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock were debated.

Cllr Pugh asserted that Cllr Stoddart had made false claims on his website (oldgrumpy.co.uk) regarding the area of rendering at the grant-aided project No. 25 Dimond Street, Pembroke Dock.

According to the website, the area of hack off and re-render to the front and rear elevations in the tender (125 sq m) exceed that shown on the drawings (50 sq m) by two-and-a-half times and the area of paintwork to the same render (300 sq m) by six times.

Cllr Stoddart estimated that this over measurement had let to an inflation of the grant awarded by between £7,000 and £9,000.

But Cllr Pugh said he had visited the premises and, on accessing the backyard, discovered that Cllr Stoddart had failed to take into consideration a “third side elevation” measuring 8 m x 7 m which accounted for most of the discrepancy in the tender.

He told his fellow councillors:

“So whether this was a deliberate untruth, or sheer incompetence on his behalf in not checking the facts, I’ll leave you to decide”.

In response to this attack on his honesty and competence, Mike Stoddart posted photographs on his website that proved conclusively that this “third side elevation” to the rear of No. 25 was a figment of Cllr Pugh’s imagination.

He emailed Cllr Pugh demanding that this slur be withdrawn and on Wednesday morning the cabinet member replied admitting that the “third side elevation” belonged to a different building altogether. Cllr Pugh wrote to Cllr Stoddart, copying in all council members, “I freely admit that we made a mistake in looking at the rear of the properties in Dimond Street and confused Nos 25 and 27. I take full responsibility for the genuine error and hereby offer an unreserved apology for the remarks I made in Council regarding the rendering of no 25 Dimond Street.

“Having said that, I hope you will also take the opportunity to put on record that most of your allegations regarding these grant schemes have proved to be without foundation and incorrect.”

Mike Stoddart told The Herald: “It is rather ironic that, after accusing me of incompetence for not checking the facts, we now find Cllr Pugh admitting that his intemperate attack on me was based on the wrong property.

“At least he was in the right street.

“I would have expected him to have been accompanied on this visit by one of the council’s officers involved with these projects, so it is difficult to understand how he came to make such a schoolboy error.

“And it is a strange sort of ‘unreserved apology’ that is conditional on me admitting I was wrong about everything else.

“Cllr Pugh should realise that all I have ever written on this subject has been founded on careful research, including, as he now knows to his cost, my calculations regarding the rendering at No. 25 Dimond Street.

“During his poisonous attack he also accused me of conducting ‘a campaign of innuendo and smear’ and of making allegations ‘without any evidence – just his unjustified opinions and self-proclaimed expertise’.”

“Not satisfied with that, he concluded that I had made ‘many more spurious claims’ and that ‘getting at the truth is apparently not on his agenda’.”

“He even went so far as to suggest I was, like the fictional Don Quixote, afflicted by madness.

“As his apology is restricted only to his false claims about No. 25, none of this has been retracted.

“That is not a situation that I intend should endure.

“Finally, I hope that, having deployed their block vote to reject my notice of motion calling for more information on these grants to be released to elected members, the IPPG’s lemmings are feeling proud of themselves.

“And I have posted further information on the tender for No 25 on my website that Cllr Pugh might find of interest.”

Cllr Paul Miller told The Herald:

“Cllr David Pugh has, over the last few weeks, viciously attacked both Cllr Stoddart and myself for daring to question the oversight he, cabinet and officers have been giving to these grant schemes in Pembroke Dock. He even suggested during Thursday’s council meeting that Cllr Stoddart’s questioning of the rendering to 25 Diamond Street proved that he was either deliberately misleading council or incompetent. Well, this revelation proves two things. (1) That it is Cllr Pugh who is either incompetent or has been deliberately misleading council and (2) That there is indeed an issue with the grant paid for the rending of number 25 Diamond Street.”

He added: “So, over to the Pembrokeshire Public. Do you trust Cllr Pugh and Cllr Adams to get to the bottom of this? I’m afraid I don’t and I’m also afraid that my confidence in Cllr Pugh has been irreversibly damaged by this very unfortunate episode.”

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Man, 22, charged with murder of John William Bell in Cardigan

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A CARDIGAN man has been charged with murder after a man’s death in Ceredigion.

John Bell, 37, and also from the town, was found on the road to Cardigan Bridge in the early hours of Wednesday.

Dyfed-Powys Police said 22-year-old Ashley Keegan, of Golwg y Castell, Cardigan, has been charged with his murder.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that Ashley Keegan, aged 22, of Golwg y Castell, Cardigan, has been charged with the murder of John William Bell.

Victim: John Bell

“Keegan will appear at Swansea magistrates court on Saturday 24th July 2021.

“John’s family continue to be supported by specialist officers and the investigation is grateful for the support of the community whilst enquiries were conducted.”

This is the second major incident in the same area this month.

Another man was charged with making threats with a knife, he is again from Golwg y Castell.

Dyfed-Powys Police said they received a number of calls reporting a man brandishing a knife towards another man in Maesyfelin, Cardigan, at around 4.20pm on Wednesday (July 14).

Several police units swiftly made their way to the area, but the suspect had fled.

Dean Thomas, aged 25, was quickly located at his home in Golwg y Castell, where he was arrested on suspicion of affray and taken to custody.

Mobile phone footage was gathered from people at the scene, and statements were taken from witnesses.

Cardigan Inspector Owen Williams said: “Thanks to the swift attendance of officers, there were a number of people present who were able to provide evidence to assist with our enquiries.
“Thomas also made a significant statement linking himself with the incident, and was charged within hours of being arrested.

“I hope the speed with which we carried out enquiries into this incident reassures people living in Maesyfelin, who were naturally very concerned by what had happened.”

Thomas was charged with threatening a person with a blade or sharply pointed article in a public place and appeared at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, July 15 where he admitted the offence.

He will be sentenced on July 29 at Swansea Crown Court.

In relation to the murder, anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101 and quoting Op Reedham. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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‘Plan ahead this summer’, says Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE FOLLOWING is a message from the Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr David Simpson:

Hello everyone, I hope you are well and enjoying this lovely weather.

My key message this week is about planning ahead.

This week we have experienced very hot and sunny days and beaches have been full and everyone is enjoying the outdoors.

We are experiencing a high volume of visitors to the county which can at times add additional pressures on our services.

This week, for example, we have seen high demand for car parking spaces, beach clean ups, litter picking and toilet cleaning.

Due to the high footfall please consider where you are going and what you will do when you are there. Some coastal car parks on nice sunny days are filing by mid-morning.

We all also need to be patient when out and about. We are all working together to move forward after the lockdowns, businesses still have to work differently and some are struggling with staff shortages, so please be patient.

As many of us will be staying local for our time off why not consider doing a ‘not visited yet list’.

Consider places in Pembrokeshire you have not explored but would like to – make this the year you go to those places you have always wanted to go to but not had a chance.

Our front line teams are working hard to support our communities and ensure we deliver key services. I would ask for your support to help us to keep Pembrokeshire open and welcoming to all.

I’m aware of issues reported to us regarding litter being left on beaches and grass verges. Leaving litter behind is not acceptable – we have adequate litter bins out and about. Please help us keep Pembrokeshire clean.

Another issue being reported to us is fires being lit in the countryside and beauty spots while people eat and drink in the warm weather.

It goes without saying how dangerous a fire could be given the exceptionally dry weather we have had recently.

If you are thinking about lighting a fire while you are out I would just appeal to you to please think again. The potential consequences are just not worth it.

As you will know, this week we have had an Amber weather warning for heat, so just a gentle reminder to take care when out and about and please take care of your pets.

Our furry friends need extra attention in the heat. Please do not leave dogs unattended in cars and remember the walkways will be hot on their feet.

I’d like to finish this week by thanking everyone involved in our education teams and wish them all a well-deserved summer break.

I hope all our children enjoy the summer – the weather is definitely helping!

Stay safe everyone.

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Devastated family’s tribute to ‘loving and devoted’ son

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THE FAMILY of the 37-year-old man who died in Cardigan in the early hours of Wednesday morning (Jul 21) have said he will be “hugely missed by all that loved him”.

John Bell, who lived in the town, was found on the road to Cardigan Bridge at around midnight.

His family has issued this statement: “We are devastated at the loss of John.

“He was a loving and devoted Son, Brother, Father and Uncle and he will be hugely missed by all that loved him. 

“We ask for privacy at this time.”

John’s family is being supported by specially trained officers.

A 22-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in police custody.

Detective Superintendent Paul Jones said: “Our thoughts go out to John’s family at this very difficult time.

“We are currently focussing our investigation in Golwg Y Castell and the road between there and Cardigan Bridge, where Mr Bell was located.

“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen or heard an altercation in that area during the evening of Tuesday, 20 July, particularly the latter part of the evening, after 10pm, before police attended at around midnight.”

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org. Quote reference: DP-20210720-458.

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