Prior to the start of a recent meeting, the Mayor welcomed Mr. Brian Klass and Mr. Ged Davies, Environment Agency, and invited them to give a presentation on the Water Framework Directive.
Mr. Klass explained that the Environment Agency (EA) has selected the Pembroke River as one of the priority sub-catchments that will be the subject of investigation work during the next two months.
Monitoring of the Pembroke River had shown that it is in an unfavourable condition, the main causes of this are diffuse pollution (nutrients) and sediment run off.
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) establishes a framework for the protection of surface waters (rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters) and groundwater. Its purpose is to prevent deterioration and improve the status of aquatic ecosystems, promote sustainable water use, reduce pollution of ground water and contribute to mitigating the effects of floods and droughts. The WFD requires the EA to achieve good status in all water bodies by 2027.
This means that the EA must protect and improve the quality of water bodies so that they can support natural biological communities.
Pollution can come from a variety of activities and industries, such as construction, urban areas and agriculture. For example, silt runoff could be from soils becoming unstable and washing off fields, damage by vehicles on building sites or bank erosion. Nutrients can come from private and public sewage systems and farm effluents leaching into streams from fields, tracks and land-drains.
The EA have met with DWR Welsh Water who have confirmed that issues identified following the survey conducted within Pembroke Town and Pennar Pumping Station will be monitored and improvement works implemented in due course.
The EA still have farm visit and commercial premises to inspect.
This work is still ongoing and upon completion of the survey, the EA will update the Council on any further issues identified and improvements implemented.
Mr. Klass informed council should any complaints be received regarding sewage discharges, such as from Monkton Bridge, they should be reported via the incident hotline on 0800 807060 in order that a complaints log can be compiled.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Klass and Mr. Davies for their informative presentation.
When the meeting started, among matters discussed were the following:
To consider the course of action to be taken by council in respect of South Quay: Clr. Blackburn informed council that following the previous meeting attended by Mrs. Sinclair and Mr. Bell, both had indicated their willingness to assist council with the application process. It was proposed by Clr. Blackburn, seconded by Clr. Collins that a sub-committee be established to take this matter forward. It was resolved a sub-committee be established comprising of the following - Clrs. Blackburn, Asman, Evans, Waters, Nicholas and Carey.
Hywel Dda Health Board: Clrs. Evans and Blackburn provided council with a resume of the workshop held at the Withybush Conference Centre, Haverfordwest. Council was informed that the workshop was poorly attended with only 15-18 persons present and in the opinion of both councillors, the workshop was basically a public relations exercise which did not address the concerns of attendees regarding health service provision within Pembrokeshire. The clerk read a letter received from Mrs. Angela Burns AM regarding the re-opening of the Minor Injury Units at South Pembrokeshire Hospital and Tenby Cottage Hospital with limited opening hours. Mrs. Burns shared council's concern regarding the current arrangements and would continue to put pressure on the Hywel Dda Health Board for the long term retention of these essential services.
Argyle Medical Group: The clerk read a letter received from Mrs. Angela Burns AM regarding the continued use of 0844/0845 numbers to contact the surgery to make an appointment. Mrs. Burns stated that she had written to Mrs. Goldsworthy (practice manager) seeking confirmation of the proposed timescale of when they intend to stop using the 0844 number and clarification of the system that will replace it.
Floral displays in Pembroke: The town clerk informed council that Mr. Gavin Ash had been employed on a seasonal basis to water floral displays for the past three summers. Mr. Ash had informed council that he was unable to accept the offer of employment for 2012. The clerk had made a tentative enquiry with Mr. Jeremy Jones who was responsible for watering the floral displays in Pembroke Dock to establish whether he would be prepared to take on this task in Pembroke. Mr. Jones had confirmed that he would be willing to undertake this additional watering. It was resolved Mr. Jones be employed for the summer. Clr. Nicholas requested that a letter be sent to Mr. Ash thanking him for his hardwork during his time with Pembroke Town Council.
Prayers at council meetings: The clerk reminded council that a recent High Court judgement against Bideford Town Council had ruled that prayers cannot be said as part of formal business at council meetings. As requested, he had written to Mr. Carl Sergeant AM (Minister for Local Government and Communities), urging immediate action to allow councils in Wales to continue to hold prayers in council meetings. A reply had been received from Mr. Sargeant pointing out that in his view: The proper focus of both the Welsh Government and local authorities including town and community councils in these difficult economic times should be the important business of protecting services and helping our communities. Prayers was a matter for local determination and he (Mr. Sargeant) did not believe it was necessary for the Welsh Government to legislate. During discussion, council expressed their disappointment at the comments made by Mr. Sargeant as it was again maintained that prayers forming part of the formal business of council meetings was a longstanding tradition that should be allowed to continue. The clerk was requested to respond accordingly with a copy to be sent to Mr. Simon Hart MP and Mrs. Angela Burns AM.
Alterations and extension -Briarbank, Lower Lamphey Road, Pembroke (council would support the application).
Paddles, 14 Main Street, Pembroke - application for premises licence: The clerk informed council that he had sought clarification from Pembrokeshire County Council regarding this application and had been advised that following a recent inspection by a licensing officer, the applicant had decided to apply for a new premises licence. Therefore, the new application was predominately to update the conditions attached to the premises licence and as most nightclubs in Pembrokeshire had a 3 am licence on Fridays and Saturdays with 3.30 am closing time, the applicant also decided to include this variation in hours in the application. In response to a previous application made in respect of the same premises, council had made the following objections - the premises was located in the middle of a highly populated commercial/residential area, therefore, the increased opening hours would cause further noise pollution from patrons leaving the premises and making their way home through adjoining residential areas; Main Street, Pembroke, suffered from incidents of alcohol related anti-social behaviour, especially at weekends, and by extending the opening hours the existing problem would be exacerbated causing a severe drain on limited police resources throughout the week; the increased opening hours would have a severe impact on the private life of residents living in close proximity to the premises. This would affect the enjoyment of their property leading to interference of their rights under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act. Following discussion, Clr. Nicholas proposed, seconded by Clr. Jones that the previous objections remain valid and council should submit the same objections in response to the current application. It was resolved council would object to the application on the grounds as stated previously.
The following correspondence was noted by council: Mrs. Pat Parkurst (4th Pembroke Cub Scouts) - thanking council for the recent visit to Pembroke Town Hall; Pembrokeshire County Council - temporary road closure at Merchants Park; Mr. Jon Williams, Pembroke Castle - thanking council for support provided during the Sport Relief Mile; Mrs. Rosey Mitchell - letter in favour of reeds in the Pembroke Millpond; Mr. Ian Wilshaw (Stackpole Mencap Gardens), Mrs. Dill Williams, (Pembrokeshire YFC) and The Cleddau Dragons - thanking council for the financial assistance provided to the organisations.
The following email received from Mr. David Perry was considered: "The situation with dog fouling around the barrage, Mill Pond and the lane way at the back of the play area on The Commons is now out of control. It is quite clear that signs are ignored and certain owners are behaving above the law. Whilst it is appreciated that the matter is for PCC to pursue, I bring this matter to the attention of the town council in the hope that pressure can be put on for something to be done." Following discussion, the clerk was requested to again inform Mr. Tom Hayes, Environmental Health, Pembrokeshire County Council, of the ongoing problem with a request that action be taken including increased patrols/enforcement by the dog wardens and the provision of additional signage.
VACANT COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES
Clr. Llewellyn expressed concern regarding the high number of prominent vacant commercial properties within the town centre which creates a poor impression to visitors to Pembroke. As a number of properties in Castle Terrace were currently owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, Clr. Llewellyn proposed, seconded by Clr. Phillips that a strongly worded letter be sent to the county council expressing concern regarding the deplorable condition of these properties. In addition, the county council were to be requested to provide details as to their plans for these properties, together with a breakdown of expenditure incurred in connection with repairing these properties which have frequently been the subject of vandalism/criminal damage.
BOBBY VAN SCHEME
Correspondence received from Chief Inspector Mark Bleasdale regarding funding of the Dyfed-Powys Crime Prevention Trust's Bobby Van Scheme was considered by council. It was agreed that council would consider making a financial donation to the scheme when other applications for financial assistance are considered.
PEMBROKE CIVIC AWARDS 2012
The recommendations made at a meeting of the activities, awards and flowers committee were accepted by council. Clr. Llewellyn informed council that she wished to donate the Ralph Llewellyn perpetual trophy in memory of her late husband. The trophy would be awarded annually to a young person for their achievement in sport. Council thanked Clr. Llewellyn for her kind offer.
TO CONSIDER PRODUCTION OF
Clr. Nicholas reminded council that it had been decided previously that for various reasons, the Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Visitors' Guide would not be published in 2012. In order that some form of guide was made available for visitors to Pembroke, he suggested that council should explore the feasibility of producing a fold up map of the town showing places of interest. The cost of producing the map could be partially offset through raising advertising revenue from local shops and businesses. The clerk reminded council that Pembrokeshire County Council had recently commissioned a series of information panels which will be placed at various locations within Pembroke. A copy of the panel was shown to council and the clerk offered to contact the graphic artist to ascertain whether she would be willing to produce a similar map for Pembroke Town Council together with the cost implications.
FLOWER BASKETS ON TRADE PROPERTIES IN MAIN STREET
Clr. Nicholas stated that he had recently attended a meeting with proprietors of local businesses to discuss an action plan for regenerating the town. Whilst the council, was responsible for the purchase and maintenance of floral displays, it had been suggested during the meeting that the appearance of a number of privately owned properties could be enhanced through additional flower baskets purchased by owners/tenants of the properties. Clr. Nicholas requested that consideration be given to the council employee taking responsibility for watering the additional floral displays. The clerk was requested to make the necessary enquiries.