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Sainsbury’s gets the green light

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Local eyesore: To be replaced by new retail unit.

Local eyesore: To be replaced by new retail unit.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to for the development of a new retail unit in Narberth have been given the green light by Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC).

In a planning meeting of this week the application, put forward by Abbeymore Estates, was voted for unanimously by the county councillors as the fight by Narberth traders to prevent a Sainsbury’s convenience store opening seems to have failed.

Speaking on behalf of the developers, Gareth Davies spoke to the committee, saying: “We made a successful in bid in October 2013 and our success was based on the quality of the scheme in conjunction with the Authority. The aspirations of the Authority were to turn the partly derelict school into a high quality mixed retail and residential development. The key words are vitality and commercial strength which are our guiding principles in order to revitalise the northern end of town providing colour and visual interest. The scheme is of a high quality using traditional materials to compliment the local townscape and conservation area. The access route-way will be enhanced with a new and reconfigured car park that will improve existing provision, replacing the temporary parking with 50 permanent spaces. The retail units have been designed to meet the aspirations of Narberth’s niche retail offer, but more aligned with the demands of 21st century retail. It has been done in accordance with PCC planning strategy and with the planning department and other local departments.”

Gordon Barry was due to comment on behalf of the Narberth Future Forum (NFF) group, objecting to the proposals, but had to pass his statement over to Town Councillor Moorcross, after health issues forced him to leave the proceedings. In summary the statement read that there were apprehensions with regards to the development, chiefly the concern of the loss of parking. The NFF said that the developer says there would be a net loss of 20 spaces, but that that didn’t take into account additional parking demand for employees of the new retail park. The statement went on to say that parking was at a premium in Narberth and there needed to be additional parking and this demand should be addressed. The statement also said that the current mix of independent shops was not enhanced from the proposed retail development. The NFF also raised concerns over the loss of the old playground area, currently a temporary parking area, that has, it said, been enjoyed by the community for events and festivals over many years.

Town Councillor Moorcross then spoke himself on behalf of the town stating that there had been just one presentation to the Town Council from the developers in April of 2014 and that no meaningful consultation or true dialogue had taken place since then. He further stated that Narberth offered a renowned ‘quality shopping experience’, and that this new development would take away the ‘essence’ that he said presently exists. He finished by stating that a local Sainsbury’s could not be described as ‘small’ if it had a floor area of 4000 square metres and was offering the same fare as local stores, stating this would not be ‘complimentary’ to the town’s current retail provision.

Narberth County Councillor, Wynne Evans, spoke in favour of the application, stating: “I am very proud of Narberth and what has been achieved there over many years. We have an old school building – empty for 5 years – which is a source for vandalism and graffiti. It’s not good for the town, it’s frowned upon and it’s right at the entrance to Narberth. The housing allocation provides 14 affordable houses for people with a local connection who live in Narberth. They need to be in the town and have their children go to school in the town. There are lots of opportunities to look at possibilities of new sites in Narberth (in relation to extra parking) and to move forward and work together. We must invest in the future and in Narberth. I am looking for a small supermarket with some retail units and housing, and I have put together, in the last few weeks, a new working party. Narberth is growing and growing, but we must move forward.”

Simon Montgomery, opinions editor at ‘OneNarberth’, an independent community platform for the town, said after the result: “The development will mark the most significant re-alignment of the town for a generation. The issue at stake with regard to the development is the question of accountability. I agree with what Gordon Barry, the secretary of the Narberth Future Forum has said. He explained his dismay about the lack of any community consultation. From talking to a number of key stakeholders in the town today, it is clear that along with dismay, there is also a degree of shock about the outcome of the development process. Perhaps a legal challenge will now follow. Exactly what will happen next is yet to be seen. The majority of people that I have talked to today about the matter agree that what seems certain is that the voice of the town will now be heard. What is remarkable, given the significance of the development to the town and its future, is that there has been no public consultation of any description.”

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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