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Milford Haven: Outline plans for Docks Master Plan approved

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docksMEMBERS of Pembrokeshire Council’s Planning and Rights of Way committee meeting have given outline planning consent for the Milford Docks Master Plan.

The application before Tuesday’s Committee meeting surrounded the potential uses as part of the developments including commercial, retail and fishing uses.

The plans also included a new proposal to rebuild the old docks office in full and move it to a new location to account for the new access into the site.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans which are subject to a number of planning conditions.

These include a further three applications which have been delegated to the director of development. These are for the extension of the existing Dock Wall and erection of a Marina Services Building, demolition of the former Docks office and the demolition of the Burnyeates building.

Speaking on the one change to the application, agent Rob Peters said: “The new safe access into the site will be accompanied by a full rebuild of the listed building in response to consideration by the committee in December.

“It will be rebuilt in whole in close proximity to the existing listed buildings to create a group value that exists already.

“The development will create 600 new jobs across its lifetime. It will provide new retail apartments which will provide a modernised offer within Milford and bring significant economic benefits to both parts of the town centre.

“It will provide 16 affordable houses which will benefit local people. It will improve pedestrian, cycling and public transport links as well as vehicle movements into the site.

“Investment will also be made in the fishing industry, creating 56 new jobs. There will also be new public areas, gardens, seated places, local areas for playing.

“The Torch Theatre has objected on the basis of a cinema being included but as the officer confirmed, what’s being applied for is a class D2 leisure use which can accommodate a range of uses and not a cinema necessarily.

“The regeneration benefits are substantial. It represents a multi-million pound investment for Milford. It will enhance the town and it will create a destination for local people and tourists and this will be good for the Torch Theatre as well as for Milford”.

Objecting to the plans, Alison Hardy said: “I can’t understand how one of our historic buildings is going to face demolition, even if it is being rebuilt in a new place. The office is part of my heritage; it is an integral part of the heritage of the town. It’s a much loved grade two listed building that should not be demolished.

“There was also a majority vote against the demolition at Milford Haven Town Council last night. If a grade two listed building is demolished and rebuilt it will not then be the old Docks company office. The history will be gone from the landscape and confined to the memories of the older people of the town.”

Cllr Brian Hall moved the recommendation for approval and added: “This is the most important planning application in relation to Milford Dock. It is essential to the town of Milford in a time of recession.

“The Port Authority is one of the major sponsors for the Torch Theatre so the last thing they want to do is cause them a problem.

“This will bring an additional spend of £45million to the town. This is a £90million development which is absolutely fantastic”.

Cllr Peter Stock added: “Recession is one of the reasons put forward for the demise of our town centres. It is vital for the redevelopment of our towns and each town must play to its strengths. In Milford that is the docks area and the waterways, this is so important. It is a tremendous amount of money that is there to be spent in this county”.

Cllr Gwilym Price said: “It is a fantastic sum of money; this is so good for the area. One of my concerns is with the Torch Theatre and I believe more consultation could resolve this matter and I would hope that they can come to an agreement”.

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “It is a shame that the docks office is going to be moved. It is an optimistic project but there aren’t really any objections to it. I do share the concerns of the Torch Theatre but we are here today to discuss the use as part of the development”.

Speaking after the meeting, Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven, Alec Don, said that it was a significant milestone in a long-term strategy. “Our investment in Milford Dock, and indeed Pembroke Port, is part of a wider Port strategy that seeks to diversify the business by strengthening trade in areas not connected to oil and gas. We want to maximise the contribution these two assets make to the business and to the local economy.

Alec concluded, “This is a massive new opportunity for the town and we look forward to working with others to make this vision a reality”.

Jeff Teague, Estates Director for the Port of Milford Haven has been leading the master planning process and was delighted with the decision. He said: “Now that Outline Planning has been approved we can move forward with marketing this exciting development opportunity. We are already talking to a number of development agents who are interested in working with us. They will carry out extensive market testing and it is at this stage that detailed plans will begin to define and shape the specific parts of the development.

“In the meantime, work is progressing in other key areas of the destination. New buildings are emerging that will house modern, food grade units for the local fishing industry and create new opportunities for them to expand and diversify. On the marina side, the new £6m lock gates are in commissioning and final testing phase, soon to be launched in readiness for this year’s boating season. We won’t stand still. This investment is much needed in Milford Haven and we are committed to making it a success”.

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Reminder from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to pre-book for attractions

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MEMBERS of the public are being reminded to pre-book their entry tickets before visiting two popular National Park Authority-run attractions.

To allow for social distancing on site, both Carew Castle and Tidal Mill and Castell Henllys Iron Age Village have been operating a pre-booking system since last summer.

Those wishing to visit should book their tickets online before arriving at the site. This applies to Annual Pass holders and others who qualify for free entry, such as wheelchair users and accompanying carers.

Carew Castle is open to pre-booked visitors between 10am and 4pm (Tidal Mill 11.30am – 5pm), while those wishing to visit Castell Henllys will be asked to book either a morning slot (10am-1pm) or an afternoon slot (2pm-5pm) before visiting the site.

Daisy Hughes, Visitor Services Manager at Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, said: “Over the past 12 months, we have made some changes to the site and how we operate to ensure that we keep you, our staff and our local community safe.

“All areas of the Castle and Tidal Mill are open, including the Walled Garden and play area. Nest Tearoom, which has plenty of outdoor undercover seating, will be serving light lunches and homemade cakes along with hot and cold drinks throughout the day, and the Castle and Mill Shops remain open – although face coverings must be worn and only card/contactless payments are currently being accepted.

“With the exception of Nest Tearoom, pre-booking is essential, though, and we’re asking all visitors to make sure they book their entry tickets in advance, in order to avoid any delays or disappointment when they arrive on site.”

Entry tickets for both Carew Castle and Castell Henllys can be purchased by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/events

A dynamic programme of events suitable for all the family will be running at both sites throughout the summer months. Visit the above website for more information and to book tickets.

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Salvage Hunters: New series is filming in Pembrokeshire, and they need help

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SALVAGE HUNTERS, the well-loved and most watched Quest TV and Discovery Network show, is on the hunt for locations to film at in the Pembrokeshire and the wider South West Wales area to feature in the upcoming series.

We follow decorative antiques expert Drew Pritchard as he travels around various locations in the UK and abroad on his quest to find and buy unusual objects with an interesting history.

Drew really visits everywhere – beautiful estates, old family businesses, barns and attic’s stuffed full of unwanted things, museums, factories, collectors and iconic religious sites buying all sorts along the way – from gorgeous country house furniture and railwayana to 6ft 1980s disco balls and anything in-between.

Now in its sixteenth series and airing to over half a million people in the UK and millions more worldwide, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your business or home to a broad audience, sell a few items that perhaps you no longer need, make some money and celebrate the history and heritage of the UK.

If you think you fit the bill or know somebody that might then please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with a member of our team.

Call us on 0203 179 0092 or alternatively send us an email to – salvagehunters@curvemedia.com

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Haverfordwest and Cardigan high streets listed as among the ten worst in Britain

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TWO west Wales high streets have been listed in a UK wide report detailing Britain’s worst high streets.

In the highly respected report Cardigan High Street has been listed as the 4th worst in Britain, whilst Haverfordwest has come 8th.

The Harper Dennis Hobbs rankings, which come out every two years, in sadly listed six Welsh High Streets in the worst 10 category.

Some retail centres have performed well since 2019 but most Welsh towns have fallen down the list.

Overall the performance in Wales was poor with a major drop in the average position of Welsh high streets on the UK list.

More shops in Haverfordwest’s town centre have closed since the coronavirus hit (Pic: File image)

The average rank was 797 – the worst of any nation and region in the UK, showing the huge challenge Welsh Government has to revive town centres. Six of the bottom ten UK high streets were in Wales.

Normally Harper Dennis Hobbs releases the full ranking but when the firm published its 2021 report in February, it only made the top 50 best-performing locations publicly available. Now, a copy of the full list shared with i lays bare the shopping centres and high streets that have fared worst over the past year.

Top of the worst list is Girvan in South Ayrshire.

Girvan is home to around 6,500 people and has suffered the same difficulties as many cities and towns across the UK when it comes to its high street’s declining appeal – but it is the area’s “very weak retail offer” and the large number of empty shops that helped seal its place at the bottom of the league table.

Haverfordwest in 2014. can you spot any differences to now?

“Girvan along with Haverfordwest and Cardigan all scored poorly due to a very weak retail offer [and] the towns have a relatively high vacancy rate,” said Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs.

Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at HDH, explained: “Our analysis is unique as we use variables that both consumers and retailers consider when assessing shopping locations to rank the top 1,000 retail centres in Great Britain. This Vitality Ranking looks very different from previous years as the ‘retail health’ of high streets across the country has seen contrasting fortunes since the start of the pandemic.

“The most vital retail centres currently provide services that are essential to people’s lives, such as grocers and pharmacies. These essential retailers have been able to trade throughout the strictest lockdowns, and consumers have not been willing or able to travel far to visit these stores. Shopping patterns have therefore changed significantly since the start of the pandemic, and consumers’ local high streets are benefitting at the expense of major destinations.”

Turning empty retail spaces in the town into homes or offices could help rejuvenate the area and bring “demand to the doors” of shops that survive, Mr Metherell said.

Cardigan High Street before Covid-19 (Pic Stay In Wales)

Top 10 best high streets 2021

  1. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
  2. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
  3. Tenterden, Kent
  4. Wimbledon Village, south-west London
  5. Marlborough, Wiltshire
  6. Sevenoaks, Kent
  7. Kingston upon Thames, Greater London
  8. Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
  9. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
  10. Ilkley, Bradford

Top 10 worst high streets 2021

  1. Girvan, South Ayrshire
  2. Bristol – Baldwin Street
  3. Chepstow, Monmouthshire
  4. Cardigan, Ceredigion
  5. Southsea, Portsmouth
  6. Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  7. Ammanford, Carmarthenshire
  8. Haverfordwest, Permbrokeshire
  9. Canning Town, east London
  10. Newtown, Powys

(Source: Harper Dennis Hobbs)

Cardigan High Street pictured in the early 2000’s before Currys left town (Pic Geograph)
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