- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Assembly Members Joyce Watson and Rebecca Evans have spoken to opponents of Pembrokeshire Council’s plan to build a waste facility next door to Brooklands Nursing Home in Saundersfoot.
On a recent visit to the home, which provides specialist dementia care for its 40 elderly residents, the Mid and West Wales AMs met residents and discussed the controversial proposals with staff, volunteers and joint manager and psychiatric nurse Darren Umanee.
Joyce Watson said: “When I met campaigners at the Assembly – not just the staff, but volunteers and residents’ relatives – they were understandably angry and upset. They were adamant that building a dump next door would be disturbing and cause the residents an enormous amount of distress.
“The outdoor space – the garden and the all-weather lawn – is essential to the environment of the home, and the wellbeing of residents. So how can the Council claim there will be no adverse impact?”
Rebecca Evans added: “Older people with dementia must be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. The welfare and quality of life of residents at Brooklands must be paramount considerations when any planning proposals are brought forward.”
Council bosses claim the facility is needed to replace the existing civic amenity site at The Salterns, Tenby. But campaigners say residents’ lives will be blighted by noise, smells and heavy traffic.
The campaign to block the site has attracted nation-wide media attention and twitter support from celebrities, including Fiona Phillips, Eddie Izzard and Russell Grant.
In September, campaigners delivered a petition signed by more than 4,000 people to the Assembly. Mrs Watson, who is a member of the Assembly’s Petitions Committee, called for an inquiry, now underway, to find out whether a local authority has ever submitted similar proposals – to “head off a precedent,” she said.
Pembrokeshire Council have not yet submitted a planning application, but owners and managers of Brooklands have been in discussions with the authority since July.
In a letter to the Labour AMs, Pembrokeshire Council director of transport and environment, Ian Westley, defended the plans, writing:
“I can assure you that we fully agree that it is important that the needs of these vulnerable adults are considered as part of this development and that strenuous efforts have been made in this regard to ensure that there will be no adverse impact on the quality of life for residents at Brooklands Nursing Home.”