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Politics

Apshalt plant go-ahead expected despite town council concerns

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A RETROSPECTIVE application for a mobile asphalt batching plant in a Pembrokeshire industrial estate is expected to be approved despite concerns raised by the local town council.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee, meeting on April 23, is recommended to approve the application by Mr Harries for the retention of the mobile plant at 10 Waterloo Industrial Estate, Pembroke Dock, despite is going against the local development plan.

A report for planners says: “The batching plant is a mobile unit which is raised above the ground on a chassis and wheels to a maximum height of 13.6m above ground level. The batching plant is sited centrally within the site with a stock shed in the western part of the site. There are staff parking and turning areas within the site, welfare facilities and a stock holding area.”

Pembroke Dock Town Council has objected to the plans, citing a lack of information presented with the application, a lack of detail in respect of potential flooding and contamination, no traffic management plan, and no details of a recently erected steel building.

One letter of objection has also been received, saying it’s unclear how the plant can be mobile and raising concerns about the retrospective nature, the accuracy of plans, traffic and highway safety, and potential contamination.

The application – partly in a flood zone – is before the committee as it is contrary to development plan policy but is recommended for approval, with conditions including works ceasing pending remediation if any contamination is found, and associated safety and environmental conditions.

The report adds: “In terms of potential impact on residential amenity, there are no nearby residential properties to the application site.

“The Head of Housing and Public Protection has stated that due to neighbouring business premises it would be appropriate to provide a form of noise abatement which could take the form of full or partial enclosure of fixed noise generating equipment or the provision of a close-boarded fence of sufficient height around the perimeter of the site to reduce the noise levels.

“This could be secured by way of imposing a condition. In addition, the application site has a historic use as a landfill, and it is possible that the land may contain some historic contamination.”

It goes on to say: “Whilst a conflict is identified with [policy], the development is a mobile asphalt batching unit, and whilst the intention is that this is for long term use it would be possible for the plant to be temporarily relocated should there be an impending flood event (tidal flooding is predictable).

“Even if the plant was to remain in the same position within the site, the majority of the plant is raised above ground level by approximately 1m and therefore any consequences of flooding would be minimal. On this basis it is considered that this is a material consideration of sufficient weight to outweigh any identified conflict.”

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Politics

Council to discuss £3.5m housing acquisition in upcoming Cabinet meeting

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HOUSING worth more than £3.5m has been purchased in Pembrokeshire by the council, senior councillors will hear next week.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting on May 20, will receive an update on acquisitions and disposals of land and buildings in the county.

In accordance with the council’s constitution, Cabinet is to receive a report biannually, on the acquisition or disposal of land and/premises by the authority since the last report, where the acquisition or disposal was for a sum in excess of £100,000.

The report lists 16 acquisitions by the council, in areas including Milford Haven, Haverfordwest, Neyland, Cilgerran, Pembroke Dock, Lamphey, and Broad Haven, for a total of £ 3,502,000, in line with the HRA (Housing Revenue Account) business plan.

The report before members also lists one disposal, the former Ship and Anchor, High Street, Fishguard, at £170,000.

The report ads: “It should also be of note that some temporary additional resource has been obtained to enable capital receipts from the disposal of any surplus property where appropriate so there should be an increase in sales over the next 12–18 months.”

The May 20 meeting wil be the first Cabinet headed by new council leader Cllr Jon Harvey.

Members are recommended to note the acquisitions and disposals, with six-monthly updates to continue.

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News

Gething crisis: Tory Leader signals no-confidence motion in First Minister

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IN a bold assertion that could intensify the political instability in Wales, the Conservative leader in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies, has indicated that a motion of no confidence against First Minister Vaughan Gething is increasingly likely. This comes in the wake of recent revelations and internal disputes within Welsh Labour that have put Mr. Gething’s leadership under severe scrutiny.

The controversy escalated following the dismissal of Hannah Blythyn, the minister for social partnership, who was accused by Mr. Gething of leaking confidential text messages to the press—an allegation she firmly denies. The leaked texts were reportedly from a pandemic-era group chat, which Mr. Gething admitted to deleting, details of which were first reported by Nation.Cymru.

This incident is part of a broader series of challenges facing Mr. Gething, including scrutiny over the substantial donations made to his leadership campaign. It was disclosed that his campaign had received £250,000, with a notable £200,000 contribution from a company led by a businessman previously convicted of environmental crimes. Mr. Gething announced he would be returning £31,000 to Labour from the campaign funds amidst this controversy.

In crisis: First Minister, Vaughan Gething

Adding to the upheaval, Mr. Davies criticised the First Minister’s leadership on BBC Radio Wales, questioning Mr. Gething’s transparency and ability to govern effectively. He emphasised the urgent need for Mr. Gething to justify his actions, particularly the sacking of Ms. Blythyn, to restore public trust in the government.

On Thursday, in an interview with ITV Wales, Mr. Gething defended his decision, highlighting the importance of trust and confidentiality among ministers and maintaining that his team was aligned on government priorities. He underscored the challenges faced by his administration and the need to focus on issues crucial to the Welsh populace.

Despite the turmoil, any formal motion of no confidence is not expected to be tabled immediately, owing to procedural and logistical considerations. With Labour holding half of the seats in the Senedd, the success of such a motion would hinge on cross-party support or abstentions from within the Labour ranks.

As tensions mount, the political landscape in Cardiff Bay remains fraught with uncertainty, with the potential for significant shifts in governance depending on the developments in the coming weeks.

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Business

Johnston holiday lodges expected to be approved

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PLANS for 20 self-catering holiday lodges in the Pembrokeshire village of Johnston are expected to get the go-ahead next week.

An application before the May 21 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee by Peter Rawsthorne seeks permission for the short-stay lodges and associated works on land behind The Larder, Vine Road.

The application, sited near a collection of single storey buildings associated with Silverdale lodge which are currently in use as temporary emergency accommodation, is recommended for delegated conditional approval.

A report for planners says: “The application seeks full planning permission for the siting of 20 short-term stay holiday lodges.  The lodges would be positioned on concrete bases either side of a central access road running through the length of the site.

“Comprising of either two or three bedrooms, each unit would have the benefit of an associated car parking space and raised veranda to provide access into the unit and an external amenity area.  The lodges will be finished with timber or timber effect cladding to the walls under a shallow dual pitched roof of metal sheeting with a UPVC framed fenestration and rainwater goods.”

It adds: “The proposal will generate some noise, odours and artificial light nuisance in comparison to a currently vacant site.

“Given the close proximity, at the southern end of the application site, to existing residential in Silverdale Close and Acorn Drive the Head of Housing and Public Protection has advised that a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) should be required prior to the determination of the application to allow for the assessment of all noise emissions from the proposed development and for this to set out proposed measures of how to attenuate any noise nuisance.

“Consideration has been given to whether requiring such an assessment would be reasonable or necessary to make the development acceptable.

“It is acknowledged that the nature of the use of the site as proposed could generate some noise and disturbance, and that there is likely to be a heightened awareness to this for existing occupiers when the site is first occupied, compared to the current vacant use of the site or its previous use as an informal garden space for occupiers of the Silverdale lodges.

“However, the residential occupation of the space, albeit by short-term visitors who may have less regard for existing permanent residents, is a use typical of and expected in this service centre sized settlement and could be satisfactorily absorbed.

“Excessive noise and anti-social behaviour are matters which can also be dealt with by other legislative controls.”

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