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Home Office to operate Penally asylum seeker camp without planning permission



PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has said that it is ‘disappointed’ after learning of a Home Office plan which will see it running the former Penally Training Camp for asylum seekers without planning permission. The news follows confirmation last month from the Home Office that the camp was being wound down, with asylum seekers being moved into alternative accommodation, such as hotels.

A council spokespersons said: “We acknowledge this latest update is unsettling and we will continue to work to ensure community cohesion can be restored following this disruptive decision.”

But the Home Office has confirmed that it is preparing a planning application to allow the temporary use of the camp, which has housed up to 250 male facility users, to continue for a further six months.

The current six months permission for use – granted under the Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order – expires on March 21, but application for the next consent is not due to be submitted until mid April.

As the site would be in use without the planning consent, the council would have the power to take enforcement action, but the Authority has not yet confirmed its intentions.

A spokesman for the council, said: “The Home Office has recently re-confirmed to the Council that they are preparing a planning application to allow the temporary use of Penally Training Camp to continue for a further 6 months (beyond 21st March 2021).

“However, the Home Office have now made it clear that any planning application will not be submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council until around mid-April 2021.

Police and protestors in stand off in Penally in 2020 (Pic: Herald)

“The Home Office advise that their appointed consultant are working to complete the majority of the technical reports, including a Phase 1 Ecological Survey, Noise Assessment, Heritage Report, Transport Report and Flood Risk Assessment.

“The Home Office have advised that they will begin the required pre application consultation, a formal 28-day period for public consultation process, in mid-March.  Following the consultation period, the responses will be collated and the Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) Report prepared.

“This means that the site will therefore be under occupation, but without the requisite planning consents being in place, whilst the application process is followed.

“The Council have been in continual contact with the Home Office and their planning consultant over the last 5 months, seeking clarification around their planning intention. This recent correspondence confirms their intention to progress a planning application.

“We are disappointed that the Home Office have only now made their intent clear. It is of concern that they have not been able to submit a planning application within the required timescale.

The cost of policing the camp has been higher than expected, running into millions of pounds (Pic Herald)

“The Council has always challenged the Home Office as to the suitability of the accommodation. We have also always tried to work with key bodies involved to ensure those in the camp and the surrounding community are kept safe, treated with dignity. We acknowledge this latest update is unsettling and we will continue to work to ensure community cohesion can be restored following this disruptive decision.”


County councillor for Penally, Jonathan Preston, is pressing a local MP for answers to many still unanswered questions for surrounding Penally Training Camp; stating that it appears that the Home Secretary is unaware of how the Home Office took control of Penally camp last September.

In a charged letter, Cllr Preston is pushing for Simon Hart MP, Secretary of State for Wales, to clarify points following The Home Secretary’s promise to engage.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said in Parliament: “We will consult with everybody; I can give that assurance.”

Mrs Patel added: “In the broadest possible sense, we cannot have this situation where local authorities literally refuse to engage with us, while at the same time saying that consultation is not taking place.”

Writing to Mr Hart MP, Cllr Preston said: “I am confident that PCC have not refused to engage on this issue with the Home Office, however given that you, along with Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire County Council were not consulted prior to Penally camp being repurposed, it appears that the Home Secretary is unaware of how the Home Office took control of Penally camp last September.

He added: “Please could you advise why the Home Secretary believes that consultation has taken place and if this assumption provided the basis on which the Home Office proceeded to repurpose Penally camp last September?”

The Pembrokeshire Herald has approached the Home Office for comment.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is facing calls to close former barracks in Penally and Folkestone


Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online



NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.


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Trial date for son accused of killing mum



THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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