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Calls for STP hall to be kept

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COUNCILLORS have called for the main hall at Sir Thomas Picton School (STP) to be kept as part of any new school to be built on the site.

At a meeting of Full Council on Thursday (Jul 26) members were presented with a report from the Task and Finish Group that recommended the STP site as the preferred option for the new school.

Members voted by a clear majority to accept the STP site as the preferred location of the new school but were told that the cost of refurbishing the hall would be greater than that of a newly-built school.

Cllr Jamie Adams spoke of the challenges that still existed with Portfield School pupils travelling to the STP site adding that they must meet their needs.

He added: “There are significant elements that do not need to be demolished but if STP is to be the preferred site there could be a partial new-build and partial re-generation.”

Cllr David Bryan said: “This has been a long arduous journey with a lot of obstacles put in place. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I hope that light isn’t another train coming.”

Cllr Jacob Williams added that the council could ‘at least’ investigate the possibility of a part refurbishment and part new build.

He went on to say: “The school hall is very well built, it may not be in the greatest condition and the acoustics would never be built to those standards these days. It would be a great shame to lose the hall as it is. I have concerns that if a new hall was built that it would not be built to the scale to what it is now.

“The BBC Wales orchestra also performs in the hall and it would be a great loss to Haverfordwest as a venue for that type of activity.”

Cllr Tom Tudor said it had been a ‘rollercoaster ride’ but that they had finally got the solution that everyone in Haverfordwest had wanted.

Cllr Paul Rapi said: “This is quite a unique hall for its size and the way it can be used. There are a lot of things that you can’t get anywhere else. I think it would be better money spent on refurbishing the hall and making it an asset to the school and the people of Haverfordwest and Pembrokeshire.”

Head of Highways and Construction Darren Thomas told members that the Welsh Government had received the technical note from the council and added that he had not had any negative comments back.

He also told members that they would be holding a meeting on Monday.

Cllr Bryan asked what would happen to the Tasker Milward site but Cllr Bob Kilmister said that was yet to be decided.

Cabinet member for Education, Cllr David Lloyd said: “There has been considerable tumult and difficulty in resolving this issue. The overwhelming demand was for the STP site and that is to be fulfilled.

“With regards to the music hall, there are difficulties in keeping a building for many years but the way to do this work is with a new build.”

Cllr Paul Miller added: “The authority has not covered itself in glory; we could have been on site delivering a school and been half way through. We can’t see this process happen like this again. I’m very positive that we have the right outcome. The work we need to do now will determine exactly what the new school will look like.”

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Ongoing incident closes busy Haverfordwest road

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A MAJOR road in Haverfordwest has been closed due to a police incident this afternoon (May 5)

A man was seen holding onto the outside railings of a bridge, talking to police officers.

The police said: “We are dealing with an ongoing incident, with concern for the welfare of a male, which has meant the A487 between Cartlett Road and Thomas Parry Way in Haverfordwest has been closed.

“Motorists are asked to avoid the area and find alternative routes.

There are reports of long queues for motorists in and around Haverfordwest with some drivers messaging The Herald saying “Town is gridlocked.”

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James Oulton found not guilty of 30 counts of sexual assault against 11 ex-pupils

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JAMES OULTON, 34, the primary school teacher who was accused of 30 charges of sexual assault against pupils has been found not guilty of all charges at Swansea Crown court today, following a lengthy trial (May 4).

The charges, now dismissed, had related to his time as a Haverfordwest primary school teacher, between 2012 and 2018.

Mr Oulton had described the accusations as a “witch-hunt”.

He confirmed he had made a formal complaint against one officer involved.

Speaking after the verdict, James Oulton said: “I am glad two years and eight months of hell for my family, colleagues and friends has come to an end.”

“I’m just glad it’s over and that the jury came to the right verdict.”

The press was only able to report on the prosecution case, but not the defence case – because Oulton him self via his barrister had made an application to the court for a press restriction.

The Herald feels that this press restriction on the reporting of both sides of the case, once granted, was unlawful, and is appealing to the Court of Appeal on a point of law.

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Nineteen arrests and weapons seized during knife crime action week

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NINETEEN people were arrested and a number of weapons were seized as police took part in a national week of action against knife crime, police have said.

Dyfed-Powys Police has released its results from Op Sceptre, which ran from April 26 to May 2, during which officers across the force took part in activity to crack down on crime involving blades.

The week was led by the force’s roads policing units (RPU), with a focus on targeting operations in key areas throughout the four divisions.

Neighbourhood policing teams were instrumental in engaging with shopkeepers, creating educational videos for communities on social media, and working with RPU on joint patrols in crime hotspots.

Inspector Andrew Williams said: “There have been some excellent results forcewide  from this year’s Op Sceptre, and as a result of the increased proactivity in key areas, there has also been a vast amount of other offences detected.

“This was thanks to some outstanding work by roads policing units, neighbourhood policing teams, the joint firearms unit and response officers.

“Our approach was to educate our communities on the laws around carrying and selling knives, and the dangers associated with having a blade on your possession, which was backed up with operational activity across the force.

“This has been very well received, and will be continued during the next operation.”

During the week 20 stop searches were carried out, resulting in seven arrests and numerous weapons being seized.

Twelve people were arrested for drug driving following stop checks on vehicles, one of which led to the discovery of a cannabis cultivation in the Cardigan area.

Traffic offence reports were issued to 41 drivers, and two people will be dealt with for failing to stop for officers when requested.

Neighbourhood policing activity saw engagement with 95 shop owners and community leaders, with officers and PCSOs reassured to find that most businesses were complying with the Challenge 25 policy. Those who were not will be dealt with accordingly.

Insp Williams said: “Our work to tackle knife crime will continue as we consider intelligence logs that were submitted during the operation and develop targeted plans to deal with concerns in our communities.

“We would also like to remind people that while our knife amnesty has now concluded, the best way to dispose of an unwanted blade is to take it to your local recycling centre.”

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