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£6m holiday park plans to be decided at special meeting

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A PROPOSED £6m expansion of a south Pembrokeshire holiday park is again being recommended for refusal at a special meeting of full council, despite r being backed by planners twice in a row.

The application for the works at Heritage Park, Pleasant Valley/Stepaside, which had attracted hundreds of objections, was backed by county planners at their September meeting, and again at the October meeting, despite being continually recommended for refusal by officers.

It had returned to the October 3 meeting after a ‘minded to approve’ cooling-off period was invoked following the September decision, as it was against officer recommendations.

The controversial scheme includes the installation of 48 bases for holiday lodges, a spa facility at a former pub, holiday apartments, a café and cycle hire, equestrian stables, a manège and associated office, and associated works.

Heritage Leisure Development (Wales) Ltd, is proposing a £6m investment at the site, next to the historic remains of the 19th century Stepaside ironworks and colliery, which it says will create 44 jobs.

Officer grounds for refusal, based on the Local Development Plan, included the site being outside a settlement area.

At the October meeting, Tenby councillor Michael Williams, appealed for members to turn down the scheme: “You are going to destroy the very thing that most people come into this area for, it is called Pleasant Valley, if you allow this decision it will no longer be a ‘pleasant valley’.

“We are allowing the destruction of our natural environment, please listen to the local people, they have to live with this, and they are against it, and we have a duty to listen to them.”

After being backed for a second time at the October meeting, by eight votes to four, it will now be considered at a special extraordinary meeting of the county council taking place this Friday, November 10.

It is recommended the council does not endorse the resolution of the planning committee, instead refusing the application, a report stating: “The reasons advanced by the planning committee in support of the proposal do not outweigh the adopted Local Development Plan policies which direct that planning permission should refused.”

In the event councillors are minded to endorse the resolution of the committee, officers are recommending a long string of conditions.

Community

Appointment of new canons to St Davids Cathedral

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THE DEAN of St Davids has expressed delight that the Bishop of St Davids has appointed four new Canons for the Cathedral.

The Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones said, ‘I am so pleased to welcome the Revd Gareth Reid, the Revd Julian Smith and the Revd Marcus Zipperlen as Canons and members of Dean and Chapter, together with the Revd Richard Davies as Honorary Canon. They bring a considerable breadth and depth of long experience that will contribute greatly to the life of the Cathedral and its wider family.’

The Revd Gareth Reid is no stranger to the Cathedral. After growing up and attending university in Aberystwyth, then working with the Salvation Army in Swansea prison, he pursued theological training. Following his ordination in 2010, his first role was as Assistant Curate in the Cathedral and the wider group of churches that then formed the Rectorial Benefice of Dewisland. In 2013 he moved with his wife Abby and daughters Sophie and Elizabeth to Llandysul. ‘It is wonderful to be able to accept the invitation to renew my link with the Cathedral, now as a Canon’ said Gareth.  

The Revd Julian Smith was ordained in 1993, and has spent all his ministry in the Diocese of St Davids, in the Archdeaconry of Cardigan. For twenty-seven of those years, he has served churches in and around Llanrhystud. He and his wife Deborah, a domiciliary care worker, have three children, Daniel an organist, Nick a tuba player and waiter, and Edith a singer and dancer on the high seas! Responding to his appointment, Julian said ‘I felt honoured to be asked by the Bishop to be a Canon of St Davids Cathedral, and am very much looking forward to this new adventure.’

Originally from Bexhill on the south coast of England, the Revd Marcus Zipperlen moved to Wales nineteen years ago to work at the Centre for Alternative Technology, running their Biology Department and teaching sustainable water treatment and sanitation, following a degree in Environmental Science. Ordained in 2013, he now lives in Llangwm with his wife Polly, a nurse, and their two teenage boys, Sonny and Malachy. In their spare time he and Polly row Celtic longboats from Neyland and run occasional distance events. Marcus looks after four mostly rural parishes south of Haverfordwest, and is also the Sustainability Officer for the Diocese. ‘I feel blessed to be able to be able to weave both my “callings” together: ministry to people and caring for the Earth’ he said, adding ‘I hope these may be of benefit to the Cathedral, as I serve as a member of Chapter.’

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Charity

Thousands enjoy RNLI Lifeboat Festival at Pembroke Castle

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ON Father’s Day (Jun 16), more than 1,650 people descended on Pembroke Castle for a day of family fun at to mark 200 years of saving lives at sea for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The medieval venue played host to the RNLI’s Lifeboat Festival and opened its gates for the public to meet local lifesavers and have fun while learning how to stay safe in the water with the RNLI Water Safety team.

Revellers enjoyed live music from Goodwick Brass Band, Henry Tudor School (Ysgol Harri Tudur) who showcased highlights from their upcoming performance of Peter Pan, Pembroke and District Male Voice Choir, shanty band Cockles and Mussels, Tenby Male Voice Choir, folk rockers Razor Bill, and Calico Jack.

The RNLI has been saving lives at sea for more than 200 years, in which time its volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved 146,452 lives – this equates to an average of two lives saved every day for 200 years.

The charity was founded in a London tavern on 4 March 1824 following an appeal from Sir William Hillary, who lived on the Isle of Man and witnessed many shipwrecks, the RNLI has continued saving lives at sea throughout the tests of its history, including tragic disasters, funding challenges and two World Wars.

Two centuries have seen vast developments in the lifeboats and kit used by the charity’s lifesavers – from the early oar-powered vessels to today’s technology-packed boats, which are now built in-house by the charity; and from the rudimentary cork lifejackets of the 1850s to the full protective kit each crew member is now issued with.

The RNLI’s lifesaving reach and remit has also developed over the course of 200 years. Today, it operates 238 lifeboat stations, including four on the River Thames, and has seasonal lifeguards on over 240 lifeguarded beaches around the UK and Ireland. It designs and builds its own lifeboats and runs domestic and international water safety programmes.

While much has changed in 200 years, two things have remained the same – the charity’s dependence on volunteers, who give their time and commitment to save others, and the voluntary contributions from the public which have funded the service for the past two centuries.

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Community

Renewed partnership safeguards access and conservation at Castlemartin

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A NEW agreement has been made to provide continued funding for a Ranger Service on the Military Ranges of South Pembrokeshire.

Senior leaders and staff from Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority met recently at the Castlemartin Range to renew their longstanding partnership, which ensures safe and sustainable access and recreational opportunities for the public, while safeguarding the area’s unique and rare wildlife which thrives alongside military training.

Those attending the meeting, which was hosted by Lt Col Richard Pope and Major John Poole, were able to experience this for themselves at Stack Rocks, where the colonies of razorbills and guillemots are gathering at the start of the breeding season.

Current Castlemartin Ranger, Lynne Houlston, explains: “This role is not only vital in ensuring that the area remains accessible to the public when military use allows, but also that the many rare and special plants, birds and animals of the Range are safeguarded.”

These include chough, marsh fritillary butterflies, grey seals, green winged orchids and spectacular colonies of seabirds, especially during the breeding season.

Part of Lynne’s role is to ensure that people can visit and use the Ranges for activities like climbing while ensuring that they do not disturb the nesting sites of these protected species.

Clare Pillman, Chief Executive of NRW said: “Working with our partners to ensure this role and partnership agreement continues is so important to us at Natural Resources Wales. The conservation of the many special species found at Castlemartin Range is vital to ensure their sustainability in the future. The Ranger role enables this to happen alongside allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful landscape for recreational purposes, which has benefits for wellbeing and allows nature and people to thrive together.”

Chief Executive of the Park Authority, Tegryn Jones, said: “We are delighted to welcome the renewal of this important partnership. The Castlemartin Range offers some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in Wales, and it’s vital that we ensure this can be enjoyed by visitors in a way that protects its special wildlife. The Ranger plays a crucial role in achieving this balance, and this renewed commitment will ensure that the Castlemartin Range can continue to be a place where people and nature thrive.”

DIO Principal Environmental Manager, Richard Brooks said: “DIO is delighted to be joining NRW and PCNPA in signing the next iteration of this important partnership. Lynne has been in post for 21 years and, supported by a Seasonal Ranger, has clearly demonstrated the key benefits of this joint funded Ranger Service. The role plays a key part in the successful integration of public access, wildlife management and monitoring and military training and activity”.

Several guided walks taking in the history, wildlife and archaeology of the Castlemartin Range are planned for the summer months. To find out more and book a place, visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/events.

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