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Councillors defy officers over £6m development

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defy officersPEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s planning and rights of way committee met on Tuesday to discuss a major development at Heatherton.

The multi-million pound project to develop 33 log cabins, 16 yurts and the development of attractions was recommended for refusal by planning officers. Some of the new attractions would include a BMX track, Zip wire, Segways and Body Zorbs. Cutting through the red tape, forward thinking councillors defied the officers’ recommendation by approving the project. The £6m being spent at Heatherton is an opportunity to ‘raise the tourism bar’ said Councillor David Pugh. The new development would also create around 30 jobs, something which councillors felt was very important. Phil Kidney, council member for St Florence, said:

“Heatherton has been open for 20 years and only shuts for three days a year. The application before you today, if successful will add another 29 jobs. Due to the current economic climate there is a very great risk that Heatherton would have to close during the winter months”.

Alison Belton, former chief executive of Pembrokeshire tourism said to councillors: “Heatherton offers a wide range of events, activities and sports for all ages. I don’t need to tell members of the importance of tourism”.

Councillor Brian Hall added: “Heatherton is a fantastic tourist attraction, it is one of the top five in Pembrokeshire, but regrettably I have to move the recommendation for refusal simply because it’s contrary to our policies”.

However, Cllr Hall’s motion was not supported and Cllr Jacob Williams then moved that the proposals be accepted and said:

“I am disappointed that this is down for refusal, I could not support this more, now is the time to get on with it. It’s a well-established business; I think we should applaud Heatherton for wanting to do this”.

Cllrs Keith Lewis, David Pugh, Peter Stock and Phil Baker also gave their support to the application.

Cllr David Pugh added: “We have a county that relies very heavily on tourism. It doesn’t charge for entry, it has a range of activities that appeal to a wide range of families. This is an application that has been two years in preparation, let’s get on with it”.

Cllr Peter Stock said: “The benefits of this project outweigh the other objections. It’s in an excellent location, it’s a natural progression and this is the type of development we must look for in the future”.

Cllr Stephen Joseph added: “This is crucial for Pembrokeshire going forward”.

They were then asked to give their reasons why they had gone against the original decision and all councillors were of the opinion that the economic benefits outweighed the recommendations for refusal.

Heatherton director Charles Davies said: “Diversifying the business model by including accommodation as well as increasing the range of activities will enable Heatherton to be successfully marketed to a wider range of customers which in turn will generate increased income and jobs to Pembrokeshire and spread those benefits throughout the year.

“I would really like to thank the forward thinking of the council members in supporting our application and those that helped in its preparation”.

The only councillor that was against the scheme was Cllr Brian Hall who said: “Regrettably, I have to move the recommendation for refusal as it goes against a number of policies”.

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Large emergency service mobilisation to assist driver who went over cliff near oil refinery

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POLICE, ambulance, coastguard, and RNLI and two helicopters were all involved in the extraction of a casualty from a vehicle which had gone over a cliff and landed on the beach at Popton Fort very near to Valero Oil Refinery on Thursday morning.

The emergency call came just after 6.30am, with a large number of rescuers arriving quickly to assist the driver of the vehicle.

Valero oil refinery confirmed that the incident did not involve their facility.

RNLI Angle posted on social media saying the following: “Our crew were paged at 6:37am to a vehicle over the cliff near Popton Fort.

“A vehicle had left the road and fallen onto the beach below.

“Police, ambulance, the fire service and St Govans and Tenby coastguard rescue teams were already on scene, however the lifeboat was requested to assist with evacuating the casualty due to the difficult location.

“Following assessment and stabilisation by paramedics, it was decided that the casualty’s injuries were potentially too severe for transfer by sea, but not ruled out completely due to the incoming tide.

“With this, a request was made for the air ambulance to attend.

“With the air ambulance paramedics now on scene, their assessment was that evacuation by helicopter would be the most appropriate, therefore a further request was made for the a coastguard rescue helicopter to attend and evacuate the casualty.

“With the option of evacuation by lifeboat still a possibility, the all-weather lifeboat stood off should it be required.

“With the coastguard helicopter now on scene, the casualty was handed over into the helicopter for onward transfer to hospital.

“The lifeboat was stood down to return to station, arriving back at 8:30am.”

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National Park Trust supporters take a walk on the wild side

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SUPPORTERS of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust were treated to a dazzling display of wildlife during a recent guided walk through Skrinkle Meadow.

The event, which took place against a backdrop of glorious summer weather, was arranged as a way of expressing thanks to Trust supporters and highlighting the importance of meadows and the Trust’s Make More Meadows campaign.

The Make More Meadows campaign has been running since April 2019, and seeks to reverse a dramatic national decline in wildflower meadows over the last 75 years. So far, it has raised enough money to support 13 meadow sites, covering a total of 132 hectares and providing vital habitats for pollinators and other wildlife.

Director of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust Jessica Morgan said: “The Walk and Talk event at Skrinkle was an excellent opportunity to showcase the colourful results of meadow restoration, and our thanks go to National Park Authority Ranger Service Manager Libby Taylor, whose expertise turned this into a thoroughly enjoyable visit. National Park Authority Wardens have worked for years to improve biodiversity at Skrinkle Meadow, and seeds from the meadow have been used to create other wildflower meadows in the Park.

“On this occasion, six-spot burnet moths stole the show, but in previous years Skrinkle Meadow has provided some of the best orchid displays and richest variety of wildflowers in the county.”

The meadow regeneration theme was of particular interest to many of the attendees, who either have meadows of their own, or are considering establishing new ones.

To learn about the work of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust and exclusive supporter events like this, sign up to the newsletter at https://pembrokeshirecoasttrust.wales/

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Paddleboarder with suspected wrist fracture assisted by Fishguard RNLI

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ON SATURDAY (Aug 13), a female paddleboarder, who decided to take a swim when located at Aber Bach, unfortunately fractured her wrist when diving from a nearby rock. Her female companion called for assistance which resulted in Fishguard RNLI’s inshore lifeboat being tasked to the scene, located between Fishguard and Dinas Head.

The inshore lifeboat, with three crew members, launched at 2.20pm and arrived on scene at 2.40pm. Her injury was assessed by a crew member, who is a practicing doctor, and she and her companion were transferred to Pwllgwaelod beach where their car was located and they drove to Withybush Hospital for further treatment.

The lifeboat then returned to base at 3.00pm.

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