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Officers thought request for information ‘unreasonable’



A CONTROVERSIAL application due for consideration by the County Council’s Planning Committee was removed from the agenda of its meeting last Tuesday (Oct 5).
The application due for discussion relates to a massive housing development of 729 houses on land off Slade Lane, Haverfordwest.
Head of Planning David Popplewell sprang the surprise move on the morning of the meeting.
The Committee was asked to consider scrapping an affordable housing commitment in the development under matters reserved from the existing planning permission.
The existing permission contains a condition that 25% of the houses built would be affordable homes.
The applicant now claims meeting that condition would make developing the site commercially unviable.


Invited to explain the late decision by a clearly frustrated Cllr Jacob Williams, Mr Popplewell told the Committee: “There has been consideration of a number of matters since publication of the agenda relating to development viability. “We consider the viability study prepared by the district valuer should be before the Committee and the report before members today does not, perhaps, give the full range of information to inform their judgment on the recommendation to approve the changes the developer seeks.”
Cllr Williams responded by lifting the veil on preparations for Planning Committee meetings.
The day before the meeting, it’s Cllr Williams’s practice to review items on the agenda with the Council’s planning officers to iron out any details and grasp the issues that come to the Committee.
He told members – and the watching public – he met with planning officers on Monday (October 4) and expressed concern at the thinness of the report Planning Committee members were supposed to form a judgement on, especially as it related to such a large project. He told members that if the matter came before the Committee as scheduled, he would have moved a motion to defer it pending the delivery of more complete information to them.
“It’s only since then,” he said, “that this matter has been removed from the agenda. My view is that members should see the district valuer’s report, upon which so much hinges. There was a lot of push-back on that and I was told my request was ‘unreasonable’.”


Cllr Williams continued: “My position is that where planning officers would have sight of reports to inform their decisions if they decided the matter themselves, it is only right that committee members have the same material to inform them.”
He also outlined that it was only the previous day he’d been contacted by Haverfordwest Town Council informing him they were unaware of this application and had not been notified of it. He explained that the Planning Department’s position was that the Town Council did not need to be told because this was not a planning application but an application to modify existing permission.
Jacob Williams expressed the opinion; “There is something when we don’t notify concerned parties of such a consequent application.
“By the time this comes back to the Committee,” he said, “I hope all those who might wish to speak on this matter will have the opportunity to do so.”


Cllr Mark Carter supported the Chair. He tartly observed that the Committee was being asked to remove 180 affordable houses from Haverfordwest on the back of a very slim document.
Cllr Tony Wilcox observed that the Committee was being asked to approve something the size of a medium-sized village in Haverfordwest with no affordable housing without any supporting documentation.
Jacob Williams moved a proposal that the decision be deferred.
He wanted Committee members to see all documents and appendices from the District Valuer’s report and a copy of the applicant’s representations supporting scrapping the affordable housing provision.
Cllr Mark Carter seconded the motion.
Cllr Jonathan Preston expressed disbelief and concern that removing the affordable housing provision could have been done “at the stroke of a pen.”
He thanked David Popplewell for ensuring it did come before members to decide.
Cllr Jacob Williams’s motion was carried unanimously.


According to Welsh Government statistics, the average household size in Pembrokeshire is circa. 2.3 people.
The Slade Lane development would add well over 1,600 people to the population of Haverfordwest. That would make the housing estate the size of a whole County Council ward if fully occupied.
While Pembrokeshire faces a housing shortage, the shortage of houses is most acute for those seeking affordable homes or social housing to rent.
When a previous planning committee granted permission, the scheme involved the construction of a new petrol station and supermarket. It was hailed as bringing commercial opportunities and employment to our county town.
That permission hinged on the promise of 500 jobs being brought to Pembrokeshire by Sainsbury’s.
At the time, the then developer’s agent said: “Financial realities have meant there has been little progress with this site in seven years. Sainsburys now makes this possible. The new store cross-subsidises the wider development.”
However, the supermarket scheme went down the drain in 2015, when Sainsbury’s withdrew their interest.
Despite having some infrastructure in place, the site has remained vacant and undeveloped ever since.
The developer’s problem undoubtedly boils down to money.
Supply lines are stretched, material costs have skyrocketed, margins are shrinking, and qualified workers with the appropriate certifications are in very short supply. New Welsh Government regulations on phosphate solutions and the requirement for new builds to be more energy efficient also drive up developers’ costs.
The current Pembrokeshire housing boom is driven by purchasers from outside Pembrokeshire snapping up our county’s relatively cheap housing stock in a limited number of areas for second homes or as holiday-letting investments.
At that end of the market, the ratchet effect has inexorably raised prices elsewhere in the county, where stock is limited. The end result is that many Pembrokeshire residents are unable to get on the property ladder.
Suppose houses at the Slade Lane development are priced out of locals’ reach. In that case, the most likely outcome is that properties would be bought as investments by speculators and private landlords, second homes, Airbnb’s, or even outright holiday lets.
That is not what was originally promised and is not the basis upon which the original permission was agreed in 2013.

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Covid-19 cases highest in Tenby; lots of new cases in Neyland and Pembroke Dock



THE NUMBER of Covid-19 infections still taking place in Pembrokeshire is still significant, with the latest figues broken down per town now released.

Tenby has the highest prevalence in the general population at the present time.

The figures show that Pembroke Dock and Neyland have reported the most new cases with 59 and 60 new cases each.

This is the coronavirus rate and number of new cases for every area across Pembrokeshire are as follows:

  • St Davids & Letterston: 30 new cases; a rate of 394.6 per 100,000 people.
  • Johnston, Broad Haven & St Ishmaels: 39 new cases; a rate of 466.6 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Milford Haven West: 49 new cases; a rate of 641.4 per 100,000 people.
  • Milford Haven East: 37 new cases; a rate of 495.4 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Pembroke West & Castlemartin: 34 new cases; 459.8 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Pembroke East & Manorbier: 25 new cases; a rate of 324.8 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Pembroke Dock: 59 new cases; a rate of 610.5 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Neyland: 60 new cases; a rate of 690.4 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Haverfordwest South: 52 new cases; a rate of 727.2 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Haverfordwest North: 47 new cases; a rate of 661.0 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Crundale, Clynderwen & Maenclochog: 64 new cases; a rate of 888.3 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Fishguard: 39 new cases; a rate of 393.6 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Cilgerran & Crymych: 30 new cases; a rate of 353.2 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Narberth: 29 new cases; a rate of 422.0 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Saundersfoot: 29 new cases; a rate of 341.4 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Tenby & Caldey: 40 new cases; a rate of 658.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Cllr Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council said on Friday: “I must repeat that Covid-19 has not gone away and the wave of positive cases sweeping across Europe is a concern.
“People continue to catch this awful virus every day. Unfortunately, people are still dying from Covid-19.
“It is human nature to want to forget about Covid as the festive season approaches, I totally understand that.
“Like everyone, I was so disappointed when the tighter restrictions had to be brought in just before Christmas last year.
“And like everyone I’m thinking about buying gifts, planning festive events and looking forward to the celebrations.
“But I would please ask that you also keep in mind the simple things we can all do to give ourselves the best protection against Covid-19 and slow down the spread.”

Council Covid-19 team in Tenby earlier this year (Pic PCC)

Cllr Simpson said that People in Pembrokeshire should continue to work from home where you can, take up vaccination including the booster when offered, keep your distance where possible, use face coverings where required, maintain hand hygiene, meet outdoors when the weather allows and let fresh air in if you are meeting indoors.

He said that Christmas parties is one particular area where I would ask people to take extra care.

Cllr Simpson said: “Please consider smaller group numbers than you might ordinarily and try to avoid mixing with too many other people.”

“Remember that Covid-19 loves busy indoor spaces.

“Please do what you can to protect yourself and others.

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Appeal following public order incident in Monkton last month



POLICE in south Pembrokeshire are appealing for witnesses or anybody with information after a ‘public order incident’ occurred in in Monkton last month.

The incident occurred on Long Mains between 9.30pm and 10pm on the evening of Thursday, October 21.

Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police 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”

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Hospital visiting restrictions relaxed in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokehire



FAMILY and friends can now attend hospitals in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to visit patients on a limited basis with prior agreement with hospital staff in line with Welsh Government guidance.

While the prevalence of COVID-19 has reduced within our hospitals and in the community, the virus has not gone away. Like some other areas across Wales and the UK we are continuing to deal with cases of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections in our hospitals. As a result, visiting arrangements to all hospitals in Hywel Dda UHB are being reviewed regularly and remain subject to change at short notice.

With effect from Monday 29 November, all visits must be pre-arranged with the ward sister or charge nurse to enable us to maintain social distancing in our wards and across our sites. This means that a pre-booked visit for one person daily can be supported, provided your visit has a clear purpose and is in the best interest of the patient, in line with the following guidance:

‘Visiting with a purpose’:

  • End of life – last days of life
  • Carer – you are the carer or the nominated representative
  • Parent/Guardian – children and young people can be supported in an inpatient environment by the identified parent/guardian
  • Learning disabilities (LD) – a patient with learning disabilities may need you as their carer/next of kin to share information about their individual needs and virtual visiting may not be appropriate
  • Dementia – to support a person with Dementia as part of the ongoing support/plan of care
  • Other – for example where it is felt a visit from you may help the patient with rehabilitation, understanding of care/condition, help with dietary concerns. The ward sister may agree visiting outside of this guidance in certain circumstances.

The current visiting arrangements within our maternity services remain unchanged at this time.

Please note that visitors who do not meet the criteria will be asked to use a virtual visiting option instead which is available within the hospital, such as using a tablet or mobile phone. Family Liaison Officers will be available on wards to support access to virtual visiting.

All visitors must carry out a lateral flow device (LFD) test at home and have a negative result from that test prior to travelling to the hospital. Lateral flow self-test kits can be obtained by:

It is recommended that test results – negative or positive – are recorded on the UK Government portal (

When visiting our hospitals please remember to wear a face covering, this will be replaced by a surgical face mask at reception or ward entrance. Please remember to maintain social distancing and to clean your hands on entering the building and as often as possible using soap and water or hand sanitiser.

Mandy Rayani, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, said: “On behalf of the health board I want to express our deepest gratitude to our patients, their families and our communities for their continued understanding and adherence to the very strict hospital visiting rules that we have had to impose throughout this pandemic. 

“We appreciate that it is a difficult time for everyone. We will continue to support the wellbeing of our patients/service users, their families and loved ones in the best way we can, while keeping everyone as safe as possible.

“Our patient support team and family liaison officers can help to deliver essential items to patients from their family and facilitate communication through digital options/telephone; if you need their assistance please call them on and 0300 0200 159 and they will do their best to help you.”

Please do not visit any of our hospital sites if you:

  1. are unwell, have flu like symptoms, currently have or had diarrhoea and vomiting in past 48 hours, have been in contact with anyone with the above symptoms in the last 48 hours have an existing medical condition or are on medication that puts you at risk of infection. Infection control advice – Hywel Dda University Health Board (
  2. have been asked to isolate by the contact tracing team or if you have any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19 – a new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change of taste or smell. If you experience any of these symptoms please book a COVID-19 PCR test via the UK portal or by ringing 119. You should also book a test if you have mild cold or flu-like symptoms, including runny or blocked nose, sore throat, muscle ache or pain, excessive tiredness; persistent headache, persistent sneezing and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing. When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have mild cold or flu-like symptoms, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:
  • My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or
  • A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.
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