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Ruling against language campaigner over English-only parking notice



A COURT in Aberystwyth has this week (May 13) ruled against the language campaigner Toni Schiavone and has allowed parking company One Parking Solution to claim costs in an extended legal dispute over an English-only parking notice. However, Toni Schiavone said he will continue to refuse to pay until he receives a copy of the notice from the parking company in Welsh.

According to the judge, there was no legal basis to force the parking company to provide a Welsh language service. Language campaigners insist that this demonstrates a “serious flaw” in the legislation that protects the rights of Welsh speakers.

Toni Schiavone received the original charge in September 2020 for parking in a private car park in Llangrannog, but refused to pay as he did not receive the charge in Welsh or bilingually, despite sending the company two letters as well as calling them.

The first two cases were thrown out over technical issues, but at a hearing on 26 January this year, One Parking Solution won an appeal to continue to prosecute Mr Schiavone, after the judge ruled that there were no grounds to throw out the first two cases of the court.

Speaking during today’s court proceedings, Toni Schiavone said: “The Welsh language is an official and equal language in Wales and we as Welsh speakers have rights according to the law, and in principle, that should be respected. The request for a Parking Charge Notice in Welsh or bilingually is reasonable and practical. It would have cost around £60 to translate.

“This case could have been resolved very easily and very quickly by providing a Welsh or bilingual Parking Charge Notice. Does not doing so show prejudice against the Welsh language? In my opinion, it does.”

Mr Schiavone told the court that the claimant had behaved threateningly, sending him a letter claiming £10,156.70 in legal expenses a day before his hearing in January as well as another letter with additional costs of over £4,000 two days before today’s case. According to research by Cymdeithas yr Iaith, translating the fine into Welsh would have cost only £60.

The judge Lowri Williams said that Toni had behaved in an “honest, principled” manner during the case, and had shown an “unwavering dedication to the Welsh language and the cause for the language.”

However, she said during her verdict that there was nothing in the 1967 Welsh Language Act, the 1993 Welsh Language Act, or the 2011 Welsh Language Measure to compel the parking company to provide a Welsh language service.

She therefore ordered that Toni pay the £100 charge, as well as £70 for administrative costs, £11.90 interest and £85 for the court fee within 21 days.

After explaining her ruling and order, Toni Schiavone said “I understand, but I refuse to pay.” His statement was met by applause from his supporters in the public gallery.

Following the case, Siân Howys, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s Rights Group, said: “Today’s judgment shows that – despite the Welsh Government’s claim – the Welsh language does not have equal status in Wales. The judge has done her work thoroughly and found that there is nothing in the legislation that ensures that Toni’s right to use his own language in his own country is respected.

“It is clear, therefore, that the Welsh Government needs to correct the serious flaw in the legislation in order to ensure that the people of Wales can use the Welsh language in all aspects of their lives.”

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Castle Square Bike Night raises funds for Blood Bikes Wales



HAVERFORDWEST was abuzz with excitement recently as Castle Square hosted its much-anticipated Bike Night. The event, held on Wednesday, 22nd May, saw an impressive turnout of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the region, all gathering for a worthy cause.

Castle Square Bike Night, which began at 6:30 PM, transformed the heart of Haverfordwest. The event aimed to bring together bikers of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate their shared passion for motorcycles while supporting Blood Bikes Wales, a charity dedicated to providing free, out-of-hours transport of essential medical items to NHS facilities across Wales.

The square was a sea of colour and chrome, with bikes of all makes and models on the town square. From sleek sports bikes to vintage classics, the variety on display was a testament to the diverse biking community in Pembrokeshire. Riders and spectators alike admired the impressive machines, swapped stories, and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Donations were collected throughout the evening, with all proceeds going directly to Blood Bikes Wales.

The charity relies entirely on volunteers and donations to operate, and events like these are crucial in ensuring they can continue their vital service. “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported us tonight,” said a representative from Blood Bikes Wales. “The generosity of the biking community is truly heartwarming, and it makes a significant difference in our ability to provide life-saving services.”

As the evening drew to a close, the success of Castle Square Bike Night was evident in the smiling faces and the positive feedback from attendees. The event not only celebrated the love of motorcycles but also highlighted the power of community action in supporting charitable causes.

Castle Square Bike Night has firmly established itself as a key event in the Haverfordwest calendar, and the organisers are already looking forward to the next gathering. With its combination of passion, community spirit, and charitable giving, it is sure to remain a highlight for years to come.

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Pembrokeshire farm tent camping site plans backed



Plans to expand a tent site at a Pembrokeshire farm which has diversified into tourism since the 1980s have been backed by councillors.

In an application before Pembrokeshire County Council’s May meeting of its planning committee, Mr and Mrs James sought permission to expand a tent site at South Cockett Caravan and Tent Site, Broadway, Broadhaven.

The application included a number of enhancements which would improve its visual appearance.

The Council Landscape Officer has raised no objection, advising that the additional hedgebank is to be encouraged.

Speaking at the meeting, agent Andrew Vaughan-Harris said three generations of the James family had been farming some 140 acres, in a mix of sheep, beef and cattle, and now had 70 touring caravan pitches on-site after diversifying in the 1980s.

“It’s a good news story over the last 30 years, it’s now up to 50 per cent of their income,” he told planners, adding the applicants had invested £180,000 on-site in the last couple of years.

“They still want to have a site for tents, now we have the application in front of us for a further field,” he added.

He finished: “This is helping sustainable farming; it is creating jobs.”

Members of the committee unanimously backed a recommendation to approve the scheme.

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General Election: Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion hopefuls for new seats



WITH a July 4 date announced for the General Election, confirmed candidates for the two new seats in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion will be gearing up their campaigns.

As part of constituency changes, Pembrokeshire’s current seats of Preseli Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire have changed.

As part of the changes, parts of north Pembrokeshire – including St Davids – are joining the new Mid and South Pembrokeshire constituency, which will replace the Pembrokeshire parts of the current Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

The north of the county will be part of a new Ceredigion Preseli constituency joining parts of north Pembrokeshire – including Crymych and Maenclochog – with Ceredigion.

Current hopefuls for the Mid and South Pembrokeshire seat are Welsh Liberal Democrat Alistair Cameron, with Stephen Crabb for the Conservatives and Henry Tufnell for Labour.

Candidates confirmed to date in the neighbouring constituency of Ceredigion Preseli are Ben Lake for Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat Mark Williams, a former MP for Ceredigion, and Welsh Labour’s Jackie Jones, and  Conservative candidate Aled Thomas.

The constituancy changes follow a Westminster vote to cut the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32; each constituency  must contain between 69,724 and 77,062 voters, with the exception of Ynys Mon.

The new Ceredigion Preseli constituency has a road distance of nearly 75 miles from the extreme north to southwest of the new constituency.

The Boundary Commission for Wales made minor changes to previous proposals, removing St Davids, Solva and Letterston from the proposed Ceredigion Preseli constituency and including the Maenclochog ward instead.

Mid and south Pembrokeshire, under the changes, will have the largest number of electors of any of the constituencies in Wales, at 76,820.

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