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Independent Group calls for Council Leader David Simpson to go

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ON TUESDAY, April 18, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Independent Group – the largest opposition group – confirmed it had submitted a notice of no confidence in the local authority’s leader Cllr David Simpson.

The no-confidence motion arrived on the first anniversary of last May’s local elections.

Cllr Simpson has led the Council since 2017.

AUTHORITY’S FINANCES IN DISARRAY, SAYS JAMIE ADAMS

Cllr Jamie Adams, leader of the Independent Group and previous leader of the Council, said: “The people of Pembrokeshire deserve a change from the downward trajectory which Cllr Simpson has overseen for many years.

“Within the last few months, there has been a spate of issues with the administration running the authorities’ finances into disarray.

“There’s been a damming Audit Office Public Interest Report; overspends into the millions on the Haverfordwest Transport Interchange, Haverfordwest Quayside Haverfordwest Castle, and Pembroke’s South Quay; and the simple, yet costly, mistake of not ensuring rent increase letters are delivered on time.”

“All of this happened while the administration hiked residents’ Council Tax higher than necessary and now threatens to close much-needed public toilets, adding a disadvantage to our most vulnerable residents and harming our vital tourism economy,” Jamie Adams said.

FORMER LEADERS RULE THEMSELVES OUT

Cllr Adams said he would not be a candidate to replace Cllr Simpson if the no-confidence motion succeeded.

“The public voted many new councillors onto the Council in May 2022, signalling they want a change.

“I won’t seek re-election as leader of the Council, but I feel it is only right that the people of Pembrokeshire should not be burdened financially by this current Leadership’s failures.”

Cllr John Davies, a previous council leader and Independent Group member, added: “I will not seek re-election to lead the Council. However, I strongly feel that under Cllr Simpson’s leadership, much of Pembrokeshire has been left out in favour of large, unaffordable projects.

“Due to the significant challenges the authority now faces, the Council requires a strong, effective, and visible Leader at the helm”.

County Councillors must submit nominations for a new leader by May 2. If the no-confidence motion succeeds, a new leader will be selected in the May 12 council annual general meeting.

We will be updating this breaking story throughout the day.

For more reaction and analysis, see this Friday’s edition of Pembrokeshire Herald.

David Simpson responded strongly to the Independent Group’s statement.

He said: “I have been proud to lead an ambitious administration that has brought the Freeport bit to Pembrokeshire. 

“Over the administration term, I am also proud of the Marine Energy projects that we have actively encouraged and that will grow the County’s economy. “I am also proud that we have increased Budget engagement on an unparalleled scale and moved away from being dictated to on the day without scrutiny. A lot of what Cllr Adams says are failings are public due to more and better scrutiny, which this administration has encouraged. You certainly wouldn’t have seen that level of engagement when the “Independent Group” led the Council.

“We have brought democracy back into the Chamber and away from shabby deals done behind closed doors or from senior officers leading members by the nose, backed by the old and unaccountable IPG bloc vote.

“This administration can be proud that we have worked hard to sort out the finances left in a mess by the IPG. We’re rebuilding the services, creating the infrastructure, and regenerating Pembrokeshire’s economy; all of which the Independent Group neglected for twenty years and which they would jeopardise in the future.”

Calls for resignation: Cllr David Simpson

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Entertainment

Save the dates: Classic car shows in Pembrokeshire

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THE FIRST of the Summer season of the Classic Car Shows in aid of the Paul Sartori Foundation took place at the Commons Car Park, Pembroke recently.

Organised by Malcom Powell and friends, the show was opened by the Mayor of Pembroke, Ann Mortenson, accompanied by the Ward Ten Withybush fundraiser Ellie Neville.

The rest of the shows are follows

Wednesday 5th June at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 19th June at the Plough Inn, Sageston

Wednesday 3rd July at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 17th July at the Plough Inn, Sageston

Wednesday 14th August at the Cresselly Arms

Wednesday 18th August at the Plough Inn

All events are at 4pm, except for the final show of the year on Saturday 14th September at the Plough Inn Sageston which starts at 2 30pm.

Pictured is the first show of the year at the Commons,Pembroke.

Pic-Martin Cavaney

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Charity

Royal celebration at Buckingham Palace marks RNLI’s 200th anniversary

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HIS MAJESTY The King has graciously hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace today to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). This prestigious event brought together approximately 2,500 of the RNLI’s dedicated volunteers, staff, and their families.

The garden party, held in the palace’s magnificent grounds, was marked by the presence of an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, showcasing the RNLI’s modern lifesaving capabilities. The event celebrated the remarkable history and ongoing contributions of the RNLI, which has been saving lives at sea since its founding in 1824.

Among those honoured at the event were representatives from Tenby Lifeboat Station and St Davids Lifeboat Station. From Tenby, the delegation included recently retired Coxswain Philip John, along with Michael Lewis, Daniel Young, Graham Waring, and Peter O’Hagan, all accompanied by their partners. Representing St Davids Lifeboat Station were Will Chant, Jestyn Martin, Ffion Rees, Judd Kohler, Ellen Evans, and their respective partners. These individuals were recognised for their exceptional service and dedication to the institution, trading their RNLI yellows for smart attire on this special occasion.

The RNLI, established in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, has grown into a vital organisation dedicated to saving lives at sea. Over its two centuries of operation, the RNLI has saved more than 142,700 lives, thanks to the bravery and commitment of its volunteers and staff. Today, the RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations and provides a 24-hour search and rescue service around the coasts of the UK and Ireland.

His Majesty’s patronage and the garden party at Buckingham Palace underscore the nation’s deep appreciation for the RNLI’s invaluable service. The celebration not only honoured past achievements but also highlighted the continued importance of the RNLI’s mission as it looks forward to the future.

For more information on the RNLI’s history and its bicentenary celebrations, please visit the official RNLI website.

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Community

The Big Beer Festival returns to Milford Waterfront

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MILFORD HAVEN is set to host the highly anticipated Big Beer Festival tomorrow at Milford Waterfront. Beginning at 12:00 PM on May 25, the event promises a vibrant celebration featuring an impressive array of real ales, lagers, and ciders, along with a prosecco and Pimm’s bar for those with different tastes.

Local bands will provide live music throughout the day, ensuring a lively atmosphere. Headline act 4th Street will be among the performers, with additional acts including After the Fire, Steve Bartram, Two Suns, Tin Man Revolution, and DJ Robzy. Food lovers can enjoy diverse culinary offerings from The Junkyard Dog and Marcela Mexican Cuisine at the Thornton Motors Streetfood Zone. Entry is £20, which includes four drink tokens and a limited edition glass. Each token can be exchanged for a half pint, a glass of prosecco, or a glass of Pimm’s. The festival will run until 11:00 PM.

This event is part of the continued partnership between Milford Waterfront and the Milford Haven Round Table. This collaboration supports a calendar of events throughout the year, raising funds for local causes and creating enjoyable experiences for the community and visitors. Upcoming events include the Milford Haven Carnival on July 6 and the Fireworks Extravaganza on November 5.

As well as local petrol station company The Ascona Group, Howden, a global insurance intermediary group, is a key supporter of the festival. As a deluxe sponsor, Howden is donating £500 towards the event. Gary Stevens, Regional Managing Director, expressed his delight in supporting the Milford Haven Round Table, emphasizing the event’s significance as a fantastic day out for the bank holiday weekend and a means to support the local community.

Milford Haven Round Table, the UK’s largest Round Table with 30 active members, organizes this festival to give back to the local community. All funds raised support local charities, groups, and individuals, including popular free entry events like the town’s annual carnival and fireworks display.

For more details, visit the official event page.

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