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Stena and Conygar withdraw from Fishguard development

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CONYGAR, the development company, is to end its involvement in the Goodwick and Fishguard Marina scheme.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange made at 10am on Thursday​ (Jan 25), the company announced that it was writing off its £2m investment in the Marina, effectively bringing an end to its involvement in the town.

The Herald understands that at a meeting with Conygar CEO Robert Ware on Thursday, Cabinet member for Economic Development Paul Miller was informed that ferry operator Stena had withdrawn from participation in the scheme.

Outline planning permission for the development was granted in April 2012, subject to the signing of a S106 Agreement by both Conygar and Stena, the Fishguard harbour operator. The planning consent gave Conygar permission to construct 253 residential apartments, a publicly-accessible promenade, a public slipway and a visitor centre and Stena to build a substantial platform that would facilitate the potential expansion of the existing port.

Conygar has been informed by Stena that they do not wish to have any further involvement in the proposed marina development and do not wish to proceed with the reclamation works of the harbour.

Stena state that they are concerned that the marina development will interfere with the operation of the harbour and their ferry operations. They will also not support the promotion of the Harbour Revision Order, which is necessary to progress the development.

Stena’s withdrawal means that the project cannot proceed.

Robert Ware, Chief Executive of Conygar, commented: “We are disappointed that after nearly seven years of working in partnership with Stena, they have decided to withdraw their support for the Fishguard Waterfront Development, making it impossible for us to proceed with the plans.

“We firmly believe that the development would have been of significant benefit to the local community and to businesses in and around Fishguard and Goodwick.”

The Marina development has been a divisive issue within the north Pembrokeshire town, with some locals expressing considerable fears that it would harm the marine environment and expressing serious doubts about the economic benefits claimed for the project.

Questions are bound to be asked about the extent of the Council’s involvement in and financial exposure to the development, which has been winding on for thirty years since it was first proposed.

Oliver Blakiston​,​ owner of The Royal Oak in Fishguard,​ told The Herald: “I think the development would have meant there being national bars and restaurant chains, such as Pizza Express and Frankie and Bennys, in the new development.

“This would have had an impact on my trade, as well as many other local businesses in the area.

“However, any effect on the ferry services would be very worrying.”

County Councillor Sam Kurtz said: “If this is true, this is hugely disappointing news for Fishguard and Goodwick, where a marina has been talked about for over 25 years. Although not without its flaws, the marina could have brought real development and economic benefit to the area.”

Conygar has a significant track record in Pembrokeshire and the rest of west Wales of submitting ambitious planning applications and then either withdrawing from them or scaling them back. Planned Sainsburys’ stores in Cross Hands and Haverfordwest did not materialise and the company withdrew from involvement in the Pembroke Dock Marina plan which had been knocking around for over a decade.

The withdrawal of Conygar from the scheme means that a large slice of prime development land near the Port now has extensive planning permission but no developer to take it on.

The economic regeneration rationale behind the marina development – including the need for such an extensive housing build – would now appear to be up in the air.

Any new scheme would need to produce much the same economic benefits as those projected for the Conygar project.

Pembrokeshire Council is obviously disappointed at the news that the Fishguard and Goodwick Marina development will not now be progressing as planned.

Council officers have invested a lot of time with both Conygar and Stena in support of their aspirations for Fishguard and Goodwick and it is particularly disappointing that after all the time and effort expended by all parties, Stena has chosen to unilaterally withdraw from the scheme.

Councillor Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Development said: “From my perspective this is disappointing news both for Fishguard and Goodwick and North Pembrokeshire as a whole.

“Having met with the Conygar Chief Executive, Robert Ware, in London this morning (Thursday, 25th January) it would appear that in the last few days Stena – the ferry operator which holds the land interest surrounding the port – has unilaterally withdrawn from participation in the scheme.

“This makes it impossible for Conygar to proceed with the development envisaged.

“It is clear we need to radically rethink our approach to economic development in Pembrokeshire and a short formal review process will commence immediately.

“A summary of the findings of that review will be made public in due course.”

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Police confirm firefighter died in Neyland boat collision

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE attended Neyland Marina, Milford Haven following reports of a collision on the waterway at around 11:30am on Tuesday, (Sept 17).

A spokesman told The Herald: “We can confirm a 35-year-old serving Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service Firefighter tragically lost his life during the incident, in which two boats collided.

“Next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers. Specialist teams from both the fire and rescue service and police were also on scene supporting witnesses.

“We have informed the Marine Accident Investigation Board and will be working with them to establish what happened here today.

“Our thoughts go out to the family of the deceased and to his colleagues at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.”

Deputy Mayor of Neyland, Cllr Dr Simon Hancock said: “I extend my deepest condolences to the family of the young man who so tragically died in the accident this morning. I know the whole town will join me in sending them to his family.

“We acknowledge the remarkable professionalism of the emergency and rescue services who responded to this very sad incident.’

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Crown court to sentence Pembroke Dock paedophile

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A 46-YEAR-OLD man who pleaded guilty to being in possession of over 6,500 indecent ‘real photographs’ of children, has been sent to Swansea Crown Court for sentencing by Haverfordwest magistrates.

Brett Johnson of Finch Close, first appeared before magistrates at Haverfordwest Law Court on August 27, and appeared again before the court on Monday (Sept 16) following a pre-sentence report made by the probation service.

Johnson pleaded guilty at the first court hearing to a charge of downloading one indecent image of a child between March 30, 2009, and June 28, 2018, and pleaded guilty to a second charge of downloading 6,570 indecent images of children between June 30, 2005, and June 28, 2018.

Prosecuting at the first hearing, Mr Vaughan Pritchard-Jones told the Court that the reason for the long dates related to when he owned various computers.

Magistrates at Haverfordwest on Monday (Sept 16) decided to decline jurisdiction and sent the case to be dealt with at Swansea Crown Court on October 4 at 10am. Johnson was released on unconditional bail.

Magistrates made no direction under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

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Glebelands Fun Day A Hit

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A FUN DAY at Glebelands play park in Hakin on Saturday (Sept 14) to garner support to further develop the facility, has been hailed a success.

The prime movers behind the community-led event were two local residents, Richard Nicholas and Wayne Richards.

“As well as trying to raise the profile of the park, the aim of the fun day was to get other local residents involved in setting up a community group to move the project forward,” explained Richard.

“I’m pleased to say there was a lot of interest in forming a group and we also had some great feedback on what play equipment should be installed. There was a clear view that people want the park back to being a safe, clean area where children can play.

Working with Richard and Wayne, to organise the community-led fun day were Pembrokeshire County Council and the Invest Local organisation.

The County Councillor for Hubberston, Viv Stoddart, who attended the event, said: “It was an amazing day – a perfect example of the community coming together to host an afternoon of fun for all the family. There was something for all to enjoy – and enjoy they did, with lots of smiley faces from everyone.

If Saturday’s event is a guide, it was evident there is enthusiasm in the community to transform the play park into an up-to-date facility. I wish them well, and will give all the support I can to see the playground become a truly family fun place for all.”

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