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Politics

Welsh Government ‘has questions to answer today’ says Leanne Wood

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PLAID CYMRU leader Leanne Wood has said that the Welsh Government has an opportunity to make devolution count as Wales faces the biggest industrial crisis since the Assembly was established. Leanne Wood said that her party had put options on the table to support the industry and help secure a lasting future for the steel industry in Wales.

Plaid Cymru has called for Welsh Government support through investment in the plant and business rates, for the Welsh Government to draw down European funding to support the plant, and for all options to be considered – including the possibility of entering into a joint venture with the company.

Leanne Wood said that Wales is facing the worst industrial crisis since the 1980s, but unlike last time Wales now has its own government. She said:

“Plaid Cymru is committed to working for an outcome where steel remains a core industry in this country, and I want the people of Wales and everyone involved in the steel industry to know that the Party of Wales will do everything it can to make that happen.

“There are serious questions for the Welsh Government to answer. The last time we faced an industrial crisis of this nature, there was no devolution. A Tory Government in Westminster freely allowed the de-industrialisation of so many of our communities back then, with no plan to provide alternative work to replace those jobs lost.

“And now, they are prepared for the sequel.

“This time, the Welsh Government has an opportunity to make devolution count. Labour promised that if elected, it would stand up for Wales against the Tories in Westminster. It is more important than ever that we have a Welsh Government fighting in the interests of Wales. Why is that not happening?

“Until now the Welsh Government has done little to secure the future of steel production here, and has failed to stand up to the UK Government as it presides over the de-industrialisation of our communities.

“Plaid Cymru has been constructive and proactive in this process from the outset. We will work to ensure a future for the steel industry. The Welsh Government and UK government have sat back for too long, it’s time for them to stand up, to prove the worth of devolution, and to join with Plaid Cymru and take action to save our steel industry.”

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Politics

Council Leader confirms intention to stand down

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Council Leader Cllr David Simpson has confirmed his intention to stand down next month.

Cllr Simpson, who has been Leader since May 2017, will not seek re-election as Leader of the Council at the Annual General Meeting in May.

Chairing his final Cabinet meeting as Leader on Monday, Cllr Simpson said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

Cllr Simpson said: “I would like to thank my fellow Cabinet Members for their commitment to their roles and their support to me personally over the last seven years.

“I also want to put on record my gratitude and thanks to all Council staff for their hard work across all departments.

“I know just how dedicated these staff are, striving to improve lives here in Pembrokeshire.

“I must also thank the people of Pembrokeshire.

“It has been the honour of a lifetime to be the Leader of your council and the best part of the job has been meeting so many people who are committed to making this county a better place to live and work.”

Cllr Simpson will continue to serve as the County Councillor for Lampeter Velfrey.

A new Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council will be elected at the AGM on Friday May 10.

The meeting begins at 11am and will be webcast as normal.

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Politics

Conservative win for seat vacant after death of late Cllr Reg Owens 

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A FIVE-WAY fight for a new county councillor for the Pembrokeshire ward of St Ishmaels, vacant after the death of the late Reg Owens, has seen a Conservative win.

Earlier this week, Conservative candidate Claire Victoria George was elected county councillor for St Ishmaels after securing 297 votes, beating fellow ‘Tish hopefuls Richard Leighton Jenkins (242), Janie Anne Harwood (69), Robert Simister (52), and Terence ‘Terry’ Worsley (25).

The St Ishmaels county council ward includes the surrounding areas of Dale, Herbrandston, Marloes, St. Brides, Tiers Cross and Walwyn’s Castle.

Following her win, Cllr George said: “I am truly grateful and humbled by the trust the residents of the St Ishmaels ward have placed in me to serve as their county councillor.

“This by-election has been tough for me personally as my father passed away shortly after nominations closed with his funeral was just days before polling. I take comfort in the fact that he would have wanted me to keep campaigning in my ambition to serve the community.

“I am passionate about Pembrokeshire and the assets and opportunities the county offers.  Having worked across the private and public sectors in Pembrokeshire and further afield, I bring a wealth of solutions and experience to the complex world of local government.  My strength lies in working in partnership and maximising the skills and contributions of all.

“Having served as chair of One Voice Wales Pembrokeshire Area Committee for four years and community councillor for Tiers Cross Community Council for 10 years, I understand the concerns of residents and what makes a difference to their daily lives.

“Pembrokeshire, and indeed the St Ishmaels ward, is blessed with creative and responsive communities who come together to support each other.

“As a director of Pembrokeshire Lottery, I recognise the importance of small businesses to our economy and employment.  We must ensure small businesses are encouraged and grown through all the levers Pembrokeshire County Council has from procurement, industrial sites provision to skills and training opportunities.

“I will remember Cllr Reg Owens as a staunch local champion for all the villages and residents of the St Ishmaels ward and I look forward to building upon all his hard work.

“I look forward to working with Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority to respond to the needs and ambitions of the residents of St Ishmaels ward.”

The seat became vacant following the recent death of Councillor Reg Owens.

Councillor Owens, who represented St Ishmaels as an Independent Group member, had served as a county councillor since 2012, and had also served on Herbrandston Community Council, as chair on numerous occasions.

He was also a member of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for more than a decade, and was chair of its planning committee for five years.

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Politics

Apshalt plant go-ahead expected despite town council concerns

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A RETROSPECTIVE application for a mobile asphalt batching plant in a Pembrokeshire industrial estate is expected to be approved despite concerns raised by the local town council.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee, meeting on April 23, is recommended to approve the application by Mr Harries for the retention of the mobile plant at 10 Waterloo Industrial Estate, Pembroke Dock, despite is going against the local development plan.

A report for planners says: “The batching plant is a mobile unit which is raised above the ground on a chassis and wheels to a maximum height of 13.6m above ground level. The batching plant is sited centrally within the site with a stock shed in the western part of the site. There are staff parking and turning areas within the site, welfare facilities and a stock holding area.”

Pembroke Dock Town Council has objected to the plans, citing a lack of information presented with the application, a lack of detail in respect of potential flooding and contamination, no traffic management plan, and no details of a recently erected steel building.

One letter of objection has also been received, saying it’s unclear how the plant can be mobile and raising concerns about the retrospective nature, the accuracy of plans, traffic and highway safety, and potential contamination.

The application – partly in a flood zone – is before the committee as it is contrary to development plan policy but is recommended for approval, with conditions including works ceasing pending remediation if any contamination is found, and associated safety and environmental conditions.

The report adds: “In terms of potential impact on residential amenity, there are no nearby residential properties to the application site.

“The Head of Housing and Public Protection has stated that due to neighbouring business premises it would be appropriate to provide a form of noise abatement which could take the form of full or partial enclosure of fixed noise generating equipment or the provision of a close-boarded fence of sufficient height around the perimeter of the site to reduce the noise levels.

“This could be secured by way of imposing a condition. In addition, the application site has a historic use as a landfill, and it is possible that the land may contain some historic contamination.”

It goes on to say: “Whilst a conflict is identified with [policy], the development is a mobile asphalt batching unit, and whilst the intention is that this is for long term use it would be possible for the plant to be temporarily relocated should there be an impending flood event (tidal flooding is predictable).

“Even if the plant was to remain in the same position within the site, the majority of the plant is raised above ground level by approximately 1m and therefore any consequences of flooding would be minimal. On this basis it is considered that this is a material consideration of sufficient weight to outweigh any identified conflict.”

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