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Cabinet member fails to back leader over Bryn

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countyhallA PROMINENT Cabinet Member on Pembrokeshire council has failed to endorse claims made by the Council Leader Jamie Adams in a response to an incendiary letter from former Audit Chair John Evans MBE.

This weekend county councillor Jacob Williams revealed on his website that senior councillors, officers and Mr. Evans were summoned to an 8.15am meeting in the CEO’s office on May 16, in which Bryn Parry Jones threatened the use of private investigators to uncover the source of a leak to this newspaper.

David Simpson, spokesperson for Housing, has told the Herald there is only a limited point of difference between his recollection of events at a secret meeting held on May 16 in Bryn Parry Jones’ office and that of the former Audit Committee Chair’s.

A press statement provided by the Leader says:

“It is unfortunate that Mr Evans did not take up my offer for the two of us to meet together to discuss the letter which I assumed he had sent to me privately.

“The meeting with the Chief Executive to which he refers was also attended by several others, including the Chairman of Council and a Cabinet Member.

“They have a rather different interpretation of events to Mr Evans.”

No need to be accompanied

The Herald can tell its readers that while Cllr Adams was happy to meet one on one with Mr Evans to discuss the letter dated July 3, he baulked at the prospect of Mr Evans being accompanied to the meeting, which was scheduled for August 6.

Cllr Adams confirmed to the Herald that Mr Evans had requested that Cllr Baker come with him to any meeting with the IPPG Leader.

Jamie Adams told the Herald:

“I offered to meet with John Evans but when he asked to be accompanied by Phil Baker, I told him I did not see the necessity for a third party to be present. I believe John Evans misinterpreted the meeting with the CEO and it would have been cleared up if he had agreed to meet with me to discuss it privately.”

davidsSimpson begs to differ

In an embarrassing development for IPPG Leader Adams, one of the councillors at the May 16 meeting in the CEO’s office does not back the robust position the leader has set out.

Spokesperson for Housing (and Pembrokeshire Bench Magistrate) David Simpson has told the Herald:

“I have read the letter by John Evans. My only difference [in his account] of the event is that I did not experience any ‘hostility’ as described by John.”

What Jamie told councillors

The Herald can reveal that in a series of email exchanges with councillors, the Leader has robustly defended Bryn Parry Jones’; conduct. The Leader has claimed that far from bullying or intimidating staff, the CEO was protecting council officers’ interests by trying to get to the bottom of who leaked the identity of “Minute Meddler” Gwyn Evans to the Herald for our May 9 front page scoop.

In emails sent to councillors, Jamie Adams has claimed that – far from their being a difference in interpretation – Mr Evans’ account “does not accord with the account of the two Council Members present and also is not supported by the officers present at the meeting.”

Responding to the Leader’s email to all councillors, Pembroke St Michael Councillor, Jonathan Nutting, demanded answers from the IPPG leader:

“You have basically said that Mr. Evans did not give an honest account in his letter about his early morning meeting with Mr. B.Parry Jones.

“As this is a serious allegation in open email I demand you rapidly back it up.

“By tomorrow morning I expect a full account of the meeting by Cllr. David Simpson and Cllr. Tom Richards for all councillors to read.

“If this is not forthcoming I will take it that you have not got their backing for your words of condemnation.”

Brinsden calls for action

Tony Brinsden, the unaffiliated member for Amroth wrote to Jamie Adams in stark terms:

“Up to now I have had no wish to get involved with the emails and blogs regarding the “mishaps” of this Council over the past years. However your tirade has made me change my mind.

“You have the audacity to try to farm out the blame for some incidents on your predecessor, and this whilst you were his deputy. You question Mr Evans’ account of an early morning meeting in the CEO’s office.  I know who I would prefer to believe given your economy with the truth over the grant fiasco in Pembroke Dock and indeed with Mr Evans resignation.  Was he getting too close to something that you and the CEO didn’t want exposed?

“As far as the CEO is concerned why hasn’t he been suspended during Police enquiries?

“You are the leader of Council, show us you have some guts and suspend him for the duration of the Police enquiry.  If it was any other employee they would have been suspended immediately.”

 

 

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Education

Styling their way to the top

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(Left to right) Level 2 - Festival theme - work by Holly Mathias and Celebration of Colour - Level 2 and 3 – work by Leah Rees

FOUR hairdressing learners: Holly Mathias, Jenna Kilgallon, Helaina Thomas and Leah Rees, recently earned themselves a place in the next stage of the Concept Hair Magazine Learner of the Year Competition.

The candidates were invited into the College to show their fully presented entries as evidence and then submitted them remotely to the Concept Hair Magazine judges in December.

The categories for the competition were: Festival Hair, Red Carpet, Old School Barbershop, Celebration of Colour and Safari.

The unique styles allowed the learners to show off their creative hair styling skills from plaits to updos, to bold colour creations.

Charlotte Jones, Hairdressing lecturer was over the moon with the learners’ success; “We were all so impressed with the creativity, dedication and enthusiasm of all the students who took part in the competition. Also, the students who supported the entries during the day and the models who gave up their time to be involved. They should all be very proud of what they have achieved. The results were amazing!”

The students worked to COVID regulations ensuring all the correct PPE and procedures were followed.

Finalist, Holly Mathias entered three categories which included; Styling Level 2 – Festival Theme, Hair Up Level 2 – Red Carpet and Avant Garde – Safari.

Holly shared her experience; “Taking part in the Concept Hair competition, has really boosted my confidence and proved that hard work really does pay off. The support from the staff at Pembrokeshire College is outstanding. I would recommend everyone to take part in this competition as not only is it an amazing experience, but it really allows you to think outside the box and be as creative as you can! I would 100% take part in this competition again.”

Holly plans to go into full-time employment when she completes her course and hopes to one day work on cruise ships or even own her own salon.

The next stage involves the candidates submitting photographic entries on the 12th March where six will be shortlisted for the national finals which is set to take place virtually in April.

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Community

Environmental projects supported by Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund

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PROJECTS involving worm composting, community planting and solar panels were just some of the projects that recently received support from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.

More than £140,000 was awarded to eight projects at the committee’s January meeting with the next deadline for applications set for 12 noon on 23 March.

Clynfyw Care Farm was successful with an application for a vermicomposting project, which will create a quality rich sustainable compost that can be used to improve soil conditions organically. This will support local vegetable producers and sequestrate carbon in the process.

The Newport Area Environment Group will receive funding to lead a community planting project promoting decarbonisation through biodiversity.

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy secured financial support to research a Pembrokeshire-wide Energy Efficiency program, with the aim of reducing energy use and tackling fuel poverty by increasing and normalising the uptake of low carbon life choices.

Funding for photovoltaic (PV) panels was agreed for projects submitted by Herbrandston Sports and Recreation Association, South Ridgeway Community Association, Neuadd Gymuned Bwlchygroes Community Hall, Ramsey Island Nature resort and Visitor Centre, and Crymych Rugby club, who all received funding to help harness solar energy.

Directors from Clynfyw Care Farm said: “Thanks to funding from SDF, this worm composting project will be a useful tool for engaging with people, reducing CO2 and teaching a simple sustainable process with important stages in a safe, supported environment. Once established, vermicompost will be available for purchase in local outlets, providing an environmentally-friendly alternative for local growers.”

Applications for funding are encouraged from not for profit groups, including village halls, community councils and environmental groups in the county who have a project that will contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency.

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News

Council: Despite a rise Pembrokeshire still has lowest council tax in Wales

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCILLORS have voted to back a recommendation of a 3.75 percent increase in Council Tax for the coming year.

The increase equates to an extra 82p per week for Band D properties.

Pembrokeshire will still have the lowest Council Tax in Wales with Pembrokeshire Band D Council Tax payers paying £214.11, or £4.11 per week, less than the average across the country.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, the Cabinet Member for Finance, said the increase had been reduced from a proposed 5 per cent to 3.75 per cent to reduce the impact on Council Tax payers.

Introducing the budget to members, Cllr Kilmister said to go for a figure below 3.75 per cent would inevitably lead to much higher rises in future years.

Falling below 3.75 per cent would also lead to cuts in Council services, Cllr Kilmister said.

He added: “A reduction in services and staff numbers will affect the poorest in our communities the most. I believe we have a duty to these people.”

Councillors also voted for Council house rents to be increased by 1.5% for the coming year plus increases of up to 50p per week where properties are not at target rent levels.

The votes were taken at the full meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council held on Thursday, March 4.

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