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New Sainsbury’s and housing estate get the go ahead

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720 new houses to include 180 ‘affordable homes’

New £30m Haverfordwest supermarket promises 310 jobs

Plans include petrol station, sewage plant and roundabout

Council admits ‘slightly negative’ effect on the town centre

 

 

PEMBROKESHIRE County Council’s planning committee gave the provisional go ahead for a major development of over seven hundred houses, and full planning permission for Sainsbury’s to build a £30m flag ship store and petrol station on green field on Tuesday.  The site, to the north of Thomas Parry Way in Haverfordwest, has been earmarked for development for nearly ten years.

The multi million pound scheme promises bring 310 permanent and part time retail jobs to Haverfordwest as well as creating further employment over the lengthy construction phase of the project.

In the face of objections form the Haverfordwest Civic Society, two local councillors and some nearby residents, Cllr Brian Hall told a packed committee room: “What message does a refusal to this application send to a major developer. This is a massive injection of cash. Haverfordwest is supposed to be the county town, but it has now slipped.”

Joking that Pembroke Dock had now taken over as the new shopping destination of Pembrokeshire Cllr Hall said: “This development will bring a massive amount of jobs and by building these projects is how we get out of economic recession.”

“This project will lead to a massive increase in footfall to Haverfordwest. At the moment, people are encouraged to travel east to Carmarthen” he added.

“I have the great pleasure in moving this application for approval” Cllr. Hall concluded.

Committee member Cllr Peter Stock said: “I have looked at this very carefully and although we need to look after the existing residents we have to consider that there are not enough plots in Haverfordwest. We as a Council, recognise the need for building.”

He continued: “My great love is for both Pembrokeshire and Haverfordwest, and I would die for those two places. What we are trying to do is improve the centre of our town, and here’s an opportunity to work with a major developer. We are loosing out to Carmarthen at the moment.”

Cllr Stock said: “Car parking in Haverfordwest is also a concern. In summer months every car park is chock-a-block. This new development adds free three hour car parking spaces within walking distance of the town centre. Haverfordwest Chamber of Trade supports this development. They know this development will draw people into the town centre. For too many years we have let our river go. We need plans to strengthen it. We can take this as a chance to put things right. No one complains about Tesco! Sainsbury’s will not have so many houses next to it as Tesco.”

He finished: “I have got to support this, but I will be careful to safeguard the residents.”

Councillors Lyndon Frayling, IPPG, and Thomas Tudor, Labour, were given permission address the Planning Committee because their wards were in or near the development site. They said the project would not be in the interests of the residents of Oakwood Grove, Sycamore Grove and Slade lane areas. Cllr Frayling said: “The location of this development is detrimental to nearby houses, there will be a high level of traffic, noise pollution and light pollution from the supermarket. There are also concerns that a roundabout will cause long delays encouraging people to drive back onto City Road rather than use Thomas Parry Way, which was designed as a relief road. I advise refusal for those reasons.”

Cllr. Tudor spoke of “the serious detrimental effects” of the development on its neighbours and highlighted evidence from New Scientist about a study in France where researchers found that “Children living next door to a petrol station had a quadrupled risk of leukaemia. And the risk of developing acute non-lymphoblastic leukaemia was seven times greater compared with children who lived in the same area, but not next to a petrol station.”

Councillor Tom Tudor read a letter of objection he had sent to the planning department which we have reprinted in full in the letters pages of this edition.

Cllr. Sue Perkins countered these arguments by saying: “I have a Tesco in my ward but no problems with lighting or noise pollution. It will be fine.”

David Jones, agent for Conygar, the company developing the site told the committee: “I commend the council’s officers for a report on this development which is coherent and well balanced. It includes a number of robust submissions. Financial realities have meant that there has been little progress with this site in seven years. Sainsbury’s now makes this all possible. The new store will cross-subsidises the wider development. This project includes 180 affordable homes, a new sewerage treatment works, a £30m investment by Sainbury’s and a further investment of £5m-£6m in additional infrastructure for the town. This development will bring further choice, reduced prices for consumers and help prevent the leakage of business to other counties through this truly sustainable development. Sainsbury’s in the UK’s greenest grocer. They stock over 3,000 locally sourced products and are the biggest buyer of Welsh lamb.”

Richard Evans, retired, who lives at one of the houses nearest to where the supermarket will be built raised objections. “I think the greater majority of people think that supply already outweighs demand where supermarkets are concerned. I have read the Council report. It states ‘there is no retail need for a large store at Slade Lane South’.

Mr Evans also questioned if there was a need for new houses in the area: “Cawdor barracks will be closing soon putting the whole of the Cashfields Estate onto the housing market” he said.

“In the documentation we can see that all sorts of environmental considerations have been made for badgers, foxes and other wildlife, but not much consideration for the residents who will be blighted by this totally unnecessary development plan. This is another nail in the coffin for our town. The Haverfordwest Civic Society discussed this on March 6, and concluded that there is no need for this development and recommended refusal.

Cllr Pugh said at the meeting: “The deliverability of hosuing is important. The proposal will deliver housing at a time when there are currently 4068 people on the housing waiting list in Pembrokeshire. We live in a county where housing is desperately needed. In regards to the retail, I have had meetings with the Chamber of Trade and Town Council . The Chamber of Trade see this as a key development for the centre.”

“This is a huge investment showing confidence in Haverfordwest. I have no hesitation in supporting this” he added.

Cllr Keith Lewis added his view: “I find myself at the end of such eloquence its left me with little to say. Let’s make it clear to the developer that we welcome this project. Cllr Frayling make good paints on behalf of the residents but the planning department will take into consideration the points that he raised. Additional car parking on the town side would be a good idea, to help people get to the units in the town centre. That will secure Haverfordwest town centre for years.”

He concluded with a demand to his fellow Councillors: “Lets grasp this with two hands and say YES! We’ll go ahead with it!”

On a vote, the application for the homes and supermarket were passes unanimously with one member, Cllr. Price, obtaining because of a financial interest.

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News

Crabb takes up the reins as Wales Committee chair

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has been elected as the new chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee in Parliament.

Stephen Crabb, who served as Secretary of State for Wales from 2014 to 2016, secured support from across the political divide to be elected unopposed, and is looking forward to taking on the new role.

He received nominations from MPs drawn from of all parties in Wales as well as being supported by numerous other MPs from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The committee examines the work of the Wales Office and other UK departments in Wales. It takes evidence from Ministers, experts and other witnesses in order to make recommendations that benefit Wales and its economy.

Following the announcement, Stephen Crabb said: “This is an exciting opportunity and I’m grateful to have received support from such a wide cross-section the House of Commons, including from Conservative, Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs. By drawing on the knowledge and passion of MPs from all parties, the committee can help to shape a positive and optimistic agenda for Wales at a time of enormous change.

“Post-Brexit trade deals, the Shared Prosperity Fund, infrastructure investment and the climate challenge will all have an impact on Wales in the years ahead. The Welsh Affairs Committee will provide an essential forum for examining Government action in these areas and ensuring that the unique circumstances of Wales are properly understood.”

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Business

Old barracks promised new lease of life

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THE COMPANY which has purchased the iconic defensible barracks in Pembroke Dock have promised to breathe new life into the historic building.

The grade II fort was built in the Victorian era to provide a military defence to the Royal Dockyard. It was recently sold for an undisclosed sum to VR1844 Ltd. The company directors are listed as Jonathan McDermott, Emma Jane Morby, Lai Hang Seto, and Iain Trevor Walker.

VR1844Ltd office manager Tanya McDermott said: “VR1844 believe people never truly own a building but are the buildings guardians for a period of time.

“Taking the view that it is only the right development for the right building at the right time it is our privilege to bring the building back into life, repair, nurture and give back to the local community, not to shut the main doors and lock the building away from people who are interested in it and its history.

“VR1844 Ltd who have brought this very under-loved and not looked after building, want to bring the buildings back into life with a mix of community uses, together with a number of dwellings that will breathe life back into the buildings.
“To do this VR1844 are already working hard with CADW, Pembrokeshire County Council and local councillors to bring forward a scheme that all parties can support, and the community can once again be proud of.”

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News

Town councillors object to hotel on health and safety grounds

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TOWN COUNCILLORS in Milford Haven have unanimously voted to object to a planning application my Milford Haven Port Authority to build a 100-bedroom hotel on Milford Docks.
Town Mayor Terry Davies said he had had numerous requests from members of the public to try to get it refused.
Several members of the public were at the meeting to watch, including Ian Bannister and his daughter and James Kershaw – whose homes were seriously flooded in 2018 causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Cllr Lynne Turner told councillors: “We look forward to the development of the marina and the town desperately needs a hotel, but we have been contacted by a number of representatives from the Lower Priory and Havens Head area who are very concerned about the impact on flooding in their villages.
“The sewage waste from this development, and the change to water run-off, unless the Port Authority addresses the culverts in the area, then we have to assume that this must present a big risk to increased flooding.”
“We need to wait for the outcome of a report to see how the hotel will affect the villages”
“Then that report needs to be acted upon, if needs be.”
Cllr Rhys Sinnett said: “It is clear from the representation from the communities affected by the floods in 2018, they are still awaiting answers and actions from Pembrokeshire County Council to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
“Whilst no action is being taken, I don’t see how we can support anything that might raise water levels and I suggest we need to delay this as long as possible.
“There is no reference in the report to the flooding in 2018 so how can we support an application that has faulty information.”
“We have to object to this application within the scope of planning rules, and I propose that we can object in terms of health and safety.
What happened in 2018 was a had a huge impact on the health and safety of those who were living in Lower Priory and in Havens Head.
Cllr Turner then formally that the town council object, as Cllr Sinnett suggested, to the application on health and safety grounds.
Cllr Sinnett added that because of the controversial nature of the application, he would be strongly suggesting the application go before the council’s planning committee.
“That would be best for local democracy” he said, adding “this application should not be decided by officers under their delegated powers.
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