Monday 31 December 2007

Observations from an editor

I am one of the editors. I have been a member of the West Wales Naturalist Trust since 1947.
I have experience of this area since 1940 my relatives were naturalists and took an interest in archeology.
Many people contribute to this site we have several editors but I do the coordination and moderation.
To make it very clear. The one common purpose is to record excellence, and to conserve all that makes Pembrokeshire unique.
We are not against development BUT in such sensitive areas it is far too easy to allow development for short term gain which degrades our surroundings.
All developments should have a low carbon footprint a concept which has not reached Pembrokeshire.
There should be a presumption to repair and reuse rather than demolish and rebuild to high densities,low design using short life materials.
Buildings should utilise local building materials. They should not be intrusive Euro Tat but take account of their surroundings and compliment and enhance these surroundings.
We have been criticised for objecting to boardwalks. Some habitats are so precious for the survival of indigenous plants and animals that human access should be restricted.
A marsh does not need paved walkways through the reed beds, the very act of walking them drives away all the animals and birds people wish to see and enjoy.
A classic case is the Mill Pond and the Top Pond. People go there to see the birds, birds fly away if disturbed. How much more appropriate a fence alongside the Little Gates foot path to the rail embankment then a short footpath to a purpose built bird hide at the foot of the embankment.
There are good examples of these in other parts of the county people can see wildflife at close quarters and if they are quiet will not disturb them.
Life will carry on as normal , a boardwalk through a marsh just drives animals and birds away. So destroying more of the few remaining wildlife refuges.
Pembroke historically had a network of footpaths, PCC have a policy of not registering footpaths(Independent Group), all remaining should be guarded, we should register footpaths we remember as children, when we attempt to do so Pembroke Town Council and PCC do not even reply to our letters.

Sunday 30 December 2007

Urgent action needed now

This site was not easily accessible.
Recently a wheel chair accessible network of paths have been driven through the contiguous SSI
These give easy access to this previously protected site. The nine trees, pollarded chestnuts, with many dead branches are an irreplaceable wildlife resource. Already the site is showing signs of vandalism. There are similar groves at Llanthony Priory and Westonbirt.
Many local wetlands are in the process of destruction, funded by company Greenwash.
Human beings do not have a God given right to walk their dogs over every last inch of the UK.
Pwllcrochan has signs forbidding dogs, similar signs should be erected at the Holyland reserve.

Monday 17 December 2007


I could post photographs of ruined buildings painstakingly repaired using original paints, mortars, wood, slates, rain water furnishing, railings, slate floors, wooden matchboarding , locks, hinges all saved from skips and dumps accumulated over the years.
Always the owners have asked me not to photograph or publicise these buildings as they fear conflict with PCC or PCNP officers who require unsuitable materials to be used and harmful treatments to limestone walls, to be applied.
In Ceredigion we fought for thirty years to stop the complete demolition of pise or clom buildings, we won but by then there were only a handful of these buildings still standing.
It is almost too late for fieldstone limestone buildings in South Pembrokeshire.
Ashlar limestone buildings are even rarer. Daily our heritage is being destroyed by ignorance and greed, by the imposition of outdated building practices by PCC and PCNP.
From an article in Din l Art Helwa Malta News letter 11
"To confirm the opinion that MEPA has something to hide and is a den of corruption where the powerful get what they want whilst the small applicant is made to go through hell for some minor amendment to his house".
Pembroke Malta is twinned with Pembroke Wales, members of PCC and PCC planning and councilors should read the full text of the article.

Axton Pembroke

Planning permission was granted for this conversion.
An area of woodland has been felled and the land covered in hardcore.
What is this in preparation for and has a change of use been agreed.
PCC Planning is so difficult to follow and so little information is on record that it is impossible for anyone to see if the development is lawful. The only way to find out is to cross examine a Planning Officer and of course this is not easy and to a PCC Charge Payer represents a waste of valuable officers time.

Saturday 15 December 2007

Riverside Pembroke

Why is this building built in 1836 of ashlar limestone with ornate gargoyles not listed it is magnificent.
Note in preparation for demolition ? trees are being felled before someone finds out.

A very expensive security fence has been erected to surround the site. Note that the trees between the site and the Mill Pond have been felled and cleared in preparation for what?

PCC Planning

Note PCC interpretation of vernacular architecture in a Conservation area, in a carboniferous limestone area.
Vertical crazy paving in Pennant Stone with portland cement mortar.

What happens to PCC "conditions"

These houses are now occupied, their gardens were supposed to end in a "buffer strip" but as built it is a low wall with a beech hedge already one householder has cleared and mown his or her "buffer strip" so destroying its intended protection as a wildlife refuge
Note the steps to give access to the supposedly wild "buffer zone".
Beech slips with larger oaks every fifty yards. Presumably to replace the indigenous vegetation which appears to the developer to be too "natural". There are no beech trees up till now in these areas.

North Shore the Mill Pond Pembroke

Remember that planning permission was given with the strict condition that there was to be a "buffer strip" to safeguard the wildlife on the pond. Remember the site meeting where the TPO was told by the developer that "I cannot sell these houses without a view". The tree fellers moved in and cut down the trees. I stopped them only after several were removed.


This is what happens when an impervious paint is used over a limestone lime mortar surface.

The mortar dries out and turns to dust and the whole surface cracks and delaminates. Eventually the wall must be demolished.
PCC have presided over a mass destruction of such buildings by insisting that a cement mortar render covered by impervious paint finish be used.
TODAY they are allowing cement render of lime mortar walls on listed buildings and in Conservation Areas.

Thursday 13 December 2007

Castle Quay up date

Site now
Showing the correct size of the development, not the developers hand drawn minimal impression.

Friday 7 December 2007

Boxing Day Walk December 26th 2.00pm

Come and join us at Littlegates, off Holyland Road by the railway, to walk our recently confirmed footpath to the top pond in Pembroke. Bring binoculars flask of tea etc.

Stackpole Estate

From the One Arch Bridge 051207
The National Trust have launched a consultation exercise about the management of the competing interests in the future management of the Estate. On Wednesday the consultants held a meeting for interested parties. Very few turned up as the notice was in the Western Telegraph published on Friday following which was available on the morning of the meeting.
We are asking people who have historic knowledge of the estate to have their knowledge recorded as NT do not seem to have complete historic information. Stackpole is completely man made, it was last managed according at the start of WW2. there is a conflict between those who know it now and see it in its romantic decay and those who wish to see it restored to its former wildlife value .
To explain what I mean the NT last year dredged a section of the ponds, this was so successful that they propose to continue the process. BUT local people say the must not do so as it will disturb the otters. The area proposed is now almost dry willow carr with a four foot stream running through which floods occasionally, but silts up more each year. We consider that the present vegetation is marginal to support a healthy otter population now and will become less supportive. A lake one hundred feet wide supports a massive population of animals fish and birds which are predated by otters than a four foot wide one foot deep seasonal stream. So dredge the whole area once, the otters travel long distances if disturbed but rapidly reinhabit when the disturbance ceases. If necessary public access can be denied temporarily to adjacent areas to give the otters refuge and reopened for access after the dredging is complete. I can guarantee the the otters will thrive , at the moment they are marginal.

Site Meeting at Rocky Park

This is the house Victorian"of no merit"," we have many of these in Pembroke","of no Conservation value", It was on maps before Victoria.
We were told the site meeting was to held at 1030 it was changed to 1200 but objectors were not told. At the end of the meeting the officers and members of the Planning Committee withdrew to view the site. The application was to be considered at the following planning meeting on 4th December, but was withdrawn as they had not carried out the proper procedure. Lynn Taylor did not attend the meeting. An application to demolish four and five Rocky Park was submitted, objections to be lodged by December 26th.
QUOTE "I'm tired of people who say democracy does not work. Of course it does not work. We are supposed to work it" Alexander Woolcott.