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Masterplan spells doom for listed building



allpetsvetcareMILFORD HAVEN Port Authority’s ‘masterplan’ means relocation for a local vets practice, as the grade two listed building in which they operate is destined to be either demolished or moved to make way for port access. Bille Schleicher, of the All Vets Pet Care, told The Herald what the Docks redevelopment meant to their practice and the building she sees as part of Milford’s rich maritime history: “When we came here in 2009 the building was a wreck, it was not nice at all but it is such a lovely building which is what it’s about. We are guardians of a building that was here for generations and should remain here for generations. It was the old Docks Office. “It has so much history involved with Milford Haven and people come in here and have a connection with this building. It seems crazy to sacrifice this building for buildings that are the same as everywhere else. The Port Authority are proposing to build another building. It would be difficult to get the same feel of this building”. The Herald spoke exclusively with Jeff Teague, from the Port Authority, who gave us his perspective on the controversial plan for demolition: “One of the main issues for this development is access. The existing entrance couldn’t cope with it, so our engineers came up with nine schemes, eight were rejected and only one was acceptable: to open the old dock entrance and widen it with two lane entries and exits. “This was accepted by County Highways. Of the two listed buildings (on the pier) one must be sacrificial, so we went for the single story building which we will replicate and re-site. The proprietor is aware of us designing a purpose built new building. It is not a decision we have taken lightly.” He continued by stating that the local authority, Pembrokeshire County Council, had given the go ahead to knock down the grade 2 listed building, in order to facilitate the development. On whether they (the Council) would therefore gain financially from this development, Mr Teague simply said: “I can’t speculate on that, that’s a question to put to the County Council.” The masterplan, to which the redevelopment is referred, proposes a complete overhaul of the Milford Docks area, in terms of both heritage and commercial viability. Jeff Teague described the proposals: “Here is an opportunity to correct things economically, to create a new attraction which brings more money in to Milford Haven. It is estimated that the ‘leakage’ in spend out of the town is about £50 million, because of a lack of ‘offer’. “We want to capture a share of that and with more visitors we estimate pulling back £45m in revenue per annum. Our share is small; economic regeneration is the important thing, equating to about 650 new jobs. Milford benefits little from tourism. Over the last two seasons only 12% of all tourists to our county admitted to visiting Milford Haven. We think Milford should change its image and upgrade; another 10% should come to Milford.” Claire Palmer, Business Manager, spoke about the potential impact on local fishing: “We want to upgrade facilities to add value to fish that are landed here, so instead of product going out of the area we want to see it processed and value added here, creating an identifiable Welsh brand. We are largest fishing port in Wales. An upgrade would create opportunities to diversify.”

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Crabb takes up the reins as Wales Committee chair



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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Old barracks promised new lease of life



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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Town councillors object to hotel on health and safety grounds



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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