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Bryn: How did your councillor vote?



brynCOUNCILLORS voted yesterday to take no further action to reclaim money paid to chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones under a pension arrangement declared unlawful by the Wales Audit Office.

Before the vote, Cllr Peter Stock told the Herald: “It should be open and accountable, that’s the most important thing. The general public are so interested in what’s happening in Pembrokeshire at the moment, and I don’t believe anything should be done behind closed doors. I do believe that anything that does happen in County Council must be open, and the general public must be aware of the situation and Pembrokeshire County Council must be at all times open to the public for them to see which way this Authority is really being run. These things are happening, at a regular period, and it has to stop.”

The recorded vote of yesterday’s debate on reclaiming Bryn Parry Jones’ pension was taken in three parts.

The first – and key – vote was whether the discussion should be held in secret with members of the public excluded and the webcast suspended.

Voting in favour of secrecy were councillors:

Jamie Adams, John Allen-Mirehouse, Daphne Bush, David Edwards, Wynne Evans, Lyndon Frayling, Huw George, Brian Hall, Simon Hancock, Paul Harries, Umelda Havard, David James, Michael John, Stephen Joseph, Keith Lewis, Rob Lewis, Pearl Llewellyn, Peter Morgan, Elwyn Morse, David Neale, Myles Pepper, Sue Perkins, David Pugh, David Rees, Tom Richards, Ken Rowlands, David Simpson, Rob Summons, Arwyn Williams, and Steve Yelland (all IPPG)

They were supported by unaffiliated Councillors Owen James, Phil Kidney and Conservative councillor Stan Hudson

Voting to allow the public to witness the debate about public money were councillors:

Phil Baker, Roderick Bowen, Tony Brinsden, David Bryan, Pat Davies, Tessa Hodgson, David Howlett, Lyn Jenkins, Bob Kilmister, Alison Lee, David Lloyd, Paul Miller, Jonathan Nutting, Gwilym Price, Rhys Sinnett, Peter Stock, Mike Stoddart, Viv Stoddart, Tom Tudor, Tony Wilcox, Jacob Williams, Mike Williams, and Guy Woodham

Councillor Reg Owens abstained. Councillors John Davies, Mike Evans and Jonathan Preston were absent from the meeting.

The main motion was proposed by Councillors Roderick Bowen, Paul Miller, Mike Stoddart, Tony Wilcox, and Jacob Williams “That council approve action to investigate the recovery of any monies paid under the scheme for senior officers approved at the senior staff committee on 28th September 2011 under agenda item 6.”

That item was subject to an amendment proposed by Plaid Cymru that proposed taking no further action but instead registering an expression of regret at the situation.

An alternative motion proposed by IPPG leader Jamie Adams proposed that no further action be taken at all.

The vote on the Plaid amendment was as follows:

For the amendment: Phil Baker, Roderick Bowen, Tony Brinsden, David Bryan, Paul Harries, Tessa Hodgson, David Howlett, Stan Hudson, Owen James, Lyn Jenkins, Michael John, Stephen Joseph, Bob Kilmister, David Lloyd, Jonathan Nutting, Reg Owens, Rhys Sinnett, Peter Stock, Mike Stoddart, Vivien Stoddart, Jacob Williams, Mike Williams

Against the amendment: Jamie Adams, John Allen-Mirehouse, Daphne Bush, David Edwards, Wynne Evans, Lyndon Frayling, Huw George, Brian Hall, Umelda Havard, David James, , Keith Lewis, Rob Lewis, Pearl Llewellyn, Peter Morgan, Elwyn Morse, David Neale, Myles Pepper, Sue Perkins, David Pugh, David Rees, Tom Richards, Ken Rowlands, David Simpson, Rob Summons, Arwyn Williams, and Steve Yelland (all IPPG);  Pat Davies, Alison Lee, David Lloyd, Paul Miller, Gwilym Price, Tom Tudor, Tony Wilcox, Guy Woodham (all Labour) & Phil Kidney (unaffiliated)

Voting in favour of IPPG Leader’s Jamie Adams’ amendment were:

Jamie Adams, John Allen-Mirehouse, Daphne Bush, David Edwards, Wynne Evans, Lyndon Frayling, Huw George, Brian Hall, Simon Hancock, Paul Harries, Umelda Havard, David James, Lyn Jenkins, Michael John, Keith Lewis, Rob Lewis, Pearl Llewellyn, Peter Morgan, Elwyn Morse, David Neale, Myles Pepper, Sue Perkins, David Pugh, David Rees, Tom Richards, Ken Rowlands, David Simpson, Rob Summons, Arwyn Williams, and Steve Yelland (all IPPG)

They were joined by unaffiliated Councillors Owen James, Phil Kidney and Conservative Councillor Stan Hudson

Voting against the IPPG amendment to do nothing were:

Phil Baker, Roderick Bowen, Pat Davies, Tessa Hodgson, David Howlett, Stephen Joseph, Bob Kilmister, Alison Lee, David Lloyd, Paul Miller,  Jonathan Nutting, Gwilym Price, Rhys Sinnett, Peter Stock, Mike Stoddart, Vivien Stoddart, Tom Tudor, Jacob Williams, Mike Williams, Tony Wilcox, Guy Woodham

Councillors Tony Brinsden, David Bryan, David Howlett, Stephen Joseph, and Reg Owens abstained

There were sharp recriminations after the meeting.

Conservative group leader David Howlett told the Herald:

“With David Bryan, I voted for a public debate which was lost and so we went into private session. We supported a Plaid amendment that it would be foolish to pursue court action due to costs but expressed regret that the money was not being returned.

“Some IPPG members supported this and had Labour members also supported it, we would have won. Because Labour did not support the Plaid amendment, we had another vote to take no further action, from which I abstained.

“Labour’s stance meant the end result was no further action would be taken. I have to ask whether (Labour leader) Paul Miller sees this as a result, because that is what he and his group made sure happened.”

Labour leader Paul Miller responded:

Labour leader Paul Miller told us:

“On principle, the Labour group decided not to accept anything less than the Chief Executive being forced to pay back the money unlawfully paid to him.

“The vote today is not the end of the matter and I still firmly believe that the Council must take action to get the money back.”

Commenting on the debate, Cllr David Howlett, Leader of the Conservative Group on Pembrokeshire County Council said “I believe in transparency and openness so I voted for the debate to be held in public. Unfortunately that vote was lost so the debate was held in private.”

“During the debate that was held in private, many opposition Councillors voiced concern that given any legal action was not guaranteed to succeed, pursuing this would not be sensible given the costs that would be incurred could be substantial. This was a view I shared, and I voted in favour of an amendment supported by the majority of opposition parties that while a line should be drawn under this matter it was with regret that the monies had not been repaid by the two senior officers. This vote was lost by 34 votes to 23 due to the fact that the Cllr Paul Miller and his Labour group voted against this. This lost vote meant that we then voted on a proposal from the Leader, Cllr Jamie Adams that simply no further action would be taken, without any additional comment or regret at what had happened. I could not support this bland proposal.”

“Again the Labour group voted against this. I find the voting strategy of the Labour group under the Leadership of Cllr Paul Miller bizarre and naive. Had Cllr Miller come up with a proposal I would have considered the merit of it.  However to come up with nothing, vote against everything and complain about the turn of events shows inexperience. Had the Labour group voted for the amendment that was supported by the vast majority of opposition Councillors, we would have emerged with a far stronger statement. They didn’t and the actions of the Labour Group have resulted in an unsatisfactory outcome in my view.”

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Templeton man pleads guilty to attempted sexual communication with a child



A 53-YEAR-OLD man from Templeton has pleaded guilty in front of a Crown Court judge to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child whom he believed to be under the age of 16.

Phillip Bowley confessed to the offense, which took place between March 6 and March 9, 2023. The admission was made during his appearance before Judge Paul Thomas at Swansea Crown Court earlier today (Thursday).

Following a request from Bowley’s defense counsel, Ms. Hannah George KC, the sentencing has been adjourned until June 30. This delay will allow the Probation Service to prepare a pre-sentence report.

During the proceedings, the court was informed that Bowley has no prior convictions or police cautions on his record.

Bowley, residing at North Gate in Templeton, Narberth, was released on conditional bail. The conditions of his bail include mandatory residence and sleep at his home address, no unsupervised contact with children, and a restriction on using devices capable of accessing the internet.

Judge Paul Thomas made a noteworthy observation regarding the case, stating, “I can’t remember the last time I saw a pre-sentence report in a case like this that didn’t contain the fact that the defendant had no [sexual] interest in children. But that it was done out of curiosity. This does not help the defendant’s case. There may be other reasons for doing it, but as far as the court is concerned, it doesn’t help.”

The adjournment of the sentencing allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the circumstances surrounding Bowley’s offense. The court will consider the pre-sentence report when determining an appropriate penalty for his actions.

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Bluestone invests £30m into its Pembrokeshire resort to expand facilities



BLUESTONE NATIONAL PARK RESORT is investing £30million to expand its facilities and further support its efforts in meeting high environmental and sustainable standards that protects and enhances the local area and community.

The multi-million-pound investment projects at the luxury holiday destination include the launch of 80 new platinum lodges, transformation of a disused 19th century mill into a heritage restaurant, and development of an 11-hectare solar farm.

As well as enhancing guest experience, the exciting developments are set to boost the Pembrokeshire economy, with the new lodges alone estimated to increase visitor spend in the area by £1million a year.

This is in addition to the local employment opportunities and £1.5million injection that Bluestone brings to the local economy each year.

Around 250 jobs have been sustained during the construction phase of the platinum lodges and a further 100 operational jobs will be created once they open to guests. These figures add to the 800 people that Bluestone currently employs.
Bluestone’s Director of Sustainability, Marten Lewis, said: “Our ‘Free Range Future’ movement is at the heart of everything we do to ensure all our investments and initiatives benefit the local community and environment.

“It was key for us to channel this ethos through our latest investments, which have demonstrated our commitment to furthering our green credentials and making sure our environmental footsteps are as light as possible.

“Sustainable building practices have formed a huge part of construction of these projects, such as the platinum lodges which have been built upon the principles of biophilic design to bring elements of the natural world into the modern designs. Once complete, they will be heated by air source heat pumps.

“Guests are set to benefit from these major milestones coming to life as we open the doors to our highly anticipated Black Pool Mill restaurant and platinum lodges this month.”

Black Pool Mill is set to launch this week (Friday 19th May), after a £3million investment transformed the disused 19th century mill into a rustic heritage restaurant.

Designed to incorporate the mill’s original features and centuries-old architecture, chefs will create seasonal menus that are inspired by Pembrokeshire’s warm microclimate, rich soil and clear seas. They will strive to use locally sourced or foraged ingredients, to provide a unique and authentic local dining experience.

The family-run company has also invested £3million into the creation of an 11-hectare solar farm, which is part of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions and become net zero by 2040. The farm is set to generate 3.2 megawatts of electricity a year and has a lifespan of up to 40 years.

Bluestone’s chief executive, William McNamara, said: “The addition of the solar farm allows us to put money into a more sustainable future for Pembrokeshire, something we are incredibly passionate about at Bluestone.”

A large proportion of the investment has gone towards the development of 80 new Platinum Lodges on the resort which have been built in line with the company’s environmental values.

The lodges will offer new levels of comfort and luxury living with sunrooms, designated outdoor areas, picturesque surroundings, and ‘cwtch’ rooms to accommodate groups up to eight people.

Mr McNamara added: “All three projects are set to bring a boost to the local community, and being able to create so many jobs from these has been at the heart of driving forward these projects. At Bluestone, we’re always aiming to give something back to the community, and we’re delighted to be able to do that while building on the future of rural Pembrokeshire.”

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First Pembrokeshire beach-side Changing Place facility opened



AN IMPORTANT facility supporting disabled access to Pembrokeshire’s Blue Flag beaches has been opened in time for the summer season.

As part of Pembrokeshire County Council’s commitment to improving facilities and access to opportunities across the County, a Changing Place and Family Room has been developed at Whitesands beach, St Davids.

This will improve inclusivity at this popular destination and allow those who may otherwise not be able to visit due to lack of facilities to accommodate their needs to enjoy the area.

A Changing Place facility has more space and essential equipment including a height adjustable, adult-sized changing bench, a peninsular toilet, privacy screen and ceiling hoist.

Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services Cllr Rhys Sinnett said: “Many people, and especially adults, with disabilities cannot use standard accessible toilets because they require specialised equipment and extra space for themselves and their carers. This means inadequate toilet provision can often be a barrier for days out and limits opportunities to enjoy places in the same way as non-disabled individuals.

“The installation of a Changing Place facility at this location will ensure a fully inclusive opportunity is available for all. It will enhance and expand on the current offering for those persons with a disability at this designated easy access beach, which currently includes a standard accessible toilet and a beach wheelchair hire scheme in the summer.

“This is Pembrokeshire’s first beach-side Changing Place facility, we hope that if this is successful we can identify other areas which would benefit from such a development.”

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Beach Wheelchair and Outdoor Mobility Co-ordinator, Angela Robinson added: “The Changing Place facility is going to make a huge difference to the local community and tourism as we move forward in making the Pembrokeshire Coast more accessible for all.

“The new facilities are a welcome step in the right direction and complement the beach wheelchair and rollator, which are available to hire for free at Whitesands.”

The Family Room is a first for Council owned or managed public convenience sites and recognises the difficulties families can experience using toilet facilities. The room provides a standard size toilet as well as a smaller one aimed at younger children, a baby changing unit and a large space to accommodation pushchairs.

The redesign and redevelopment of the existing building also includes enhancements to the interior and exterior and installation of a water refill station.

Access to the Changing Places toilets is available for those who require the use of this specialised equipment. A key card can be collected from Whitesands Beach House Café, the Car Parking Attendant on site or Oriel Y Parc Visitor Centre in St Davids, during operational hours.

The project has been part funded by the Welsh Government’s Brilliant Basics Fund 2022-2023 to improve the visitor experience across Wales and match funded by Pembrokeshire County Council.

Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden, said: “The projects supported through the Brilliant Basics fund make a real difference. Local tourism amenities have a big part to play in making a trip a memorable one. These facilities often go unnoticed, but they are an important part of a visitor’s experience and also benefit those who live in the area.”
More about beach wheelchairs and the other mobility equipment that is available to hire for free can be found online at Pembrokeshire Coast.

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