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Haverfordwest: Bigger Lidl store plans approved

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Bigger Lidl: A render of what the new store will look like (pic. Boyes Rees Architects)

Bigger Lidl: A render of what the new store will look like (pic. Boyes Rees Architects)

A NEW Lidl store will be built in Haverfordwest after plans were approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning and Rights of Way Committee.

A previous application had come to the committee in February but those plans were refused because officers were unhappy with the design.

Since that meeting, the applicant has met with the council to discuss issues and yesterday (Sep 6), a new application was brought to the committee with a recommendation of approval.

It was considered by officers that the new design was ‘significantly better’ than what had been proposed on the last occasion.

As part of the plans, the current Lidl store on Perrots Road will be demolished as will the former Blands car garage to make way for the new store.

The access into the current site will also be closed off and a new entrance will be located on Thomas Parry Way with a new pedestrian access from Perrotts Road.

However, there were concerns over a shared use path which officers felt should be extended to improve public safety and imposed this condition on the recommendation.

The agent for the application said that Lidl did not think this was needed while some councillors said that the request was excessive.

A vote to remove that condition was passed by seven votes to five.

Agent Owain Griffiths said: “Since that decision in February, we have met with the council’s officers and worked closely with them to address and overcome the concerns previously raised, resulting in a revised application.

“Officers consider it to be an attractive design which would enhance this area of Haverfordwest and the conservation area.

“Lidl is willing to gift an area of land and extend the shared use path along Perrots Road and Thomas Parry Way, thus improving accessibility to the site for cyclists.

“However, officers are now seeking to impose a condition requesting an additional section of a shared use path to be provided on the southern side of Thomas Parry Way, along the frontage of the store together with a crossing point at the store’s access.

“This was raised with us last week but in our opinion there will be no change to pedestrian or cyclist travel line to warrant this additional section of shared use path and the request is considered unreasonable.

“This represents a multi-million pound investment which will regenerate this area, it will provide up to 40 jobs, doubling the existing store’s employment role as well as construction jobs and the replacement store will benefit consumers through increased choice and competition and will not have a detrimental impact on the town centre.”

Cllr Brian Hall said: “I was delighted that the initial application was refused, this is a drastic improvement. The only thing that does concern me is the shared use path and I think it’s essential. One of the conditions is the provision of a shared use path, can we insist the developers fill this in, regardless of the cost, this is a massive investment.”

Cllr Jacob Williams said: “I don’t believe the extension of the shared use path is necessary. The site as it is currently looks like an eyesore. I feel we are imposing this condition just because we can. I don’t think this is a priority.”

Cllr Keith Lewis thanked the agent for his co-operation with the council and added: “This will improve the site significantly. This is an important element in progressing the redevelopment of Haverfordwest. I am of the view that the shared use path is an excessive requirement.

Head of Planning David Fitzsimon asked for the committee’s trust in terms of the shared use path saying they have a duty to encourage sustainable travel patterns and that this was an essential piece of safety.

However, Cllr Williams responded saying that the extra burden was not necessary and moved that the condition be removed and that was seconded by Cllr Keith Lewis and passed by seven votes to five.

The plans without the imposed condition were approved by a unanimous vote.

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Heatherton expansion approved

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• Committee overturns officers’ objections

• Economic benefits outweigh other impacts

Conditions must not delay development

THE COUNCIL’s Planning Committee voted to approve plans to extend holiday accommodation at Heatherton at its meeting on Tuesday (June 15).

Officers recommended refusal of the plans.

During their discussions, the Committee’s members noted the reasons for refusal detailed by the planning report. They concluded, however, with appropriate conditions in place, the economic benefits of the development outweighed the bases outlined for refusal.

Addressing the meeting, the applicant, Charlie Davies, told Committee members that the changing holiday market meant Heatherton and the area around it would miss out on opportunities to meet the demand for holidays in Pembrokeshire. He added that the planned expansion – to include a further twenty holiday lodges – would secure year-round jobs at Heatherton and have a positive impact on the local rural economy.

Mr Davies said the existing lodge development, approved by the authority seven years ago, improved the viability of Heatherton as an enterprise and would further strengthen the business’ finances.

Officers objected to the plans because they said the development would be outside settlement boundaries and run contrary to environmental policy. 

The report, presented by the Head of Planning David Popplewell, set out a series of concerns regarding the lodges’ visual impact, a lack of screening, and the lack of detail about landscaping plans and construction controls during development.

However, addressing the Committee as one of the local members whose Ward would be affected by the development, Cllr Phil Kidney said St Florence Community Council vigorously supported the application as being of direct benefit to businesses in the village. 

He pointed out that the economic benefits were not only Tenby centric but affected businesses elsewhere in the County.

Phil Kidney told the Committee his visit to a laundry in Pembroke Dock, by chance, revealed that laundry he delivered would be delayed because of laundry being done for the accommodation already on site. 

Cllr Kidney added that, bearing in mind the current furore over second homes, the provision of holiday accommodation on sites such as Heatherton could reduce the demands on local housing and open-up opportunities for local people to live locally.

He fully endorsed the proposal and said he could see no downside to permitting further expansion of a business that delivered jobs to local people, especially young people entering the jobs market for the first time.

Cllr Jonathan Preston agreed with Cllr. Kidney. 

He observed that the regulations regarding what constituted ‘a caravan’ were out of date and out of touch with reality. 

Although the proposed lodges were technically caravans; they were a world away from what most people would expect a caravan to look like and beyond the vision that informed the current rules regarding the term.

Cllr Mark Carter said the problems identified in the planning report could be addressed through the imposition of conditions on the development to offset them.

Mark Carter pointed out issues regarding the detail of landscaping works and lighting could be subject to conditions drafted by officers.

His opinion was warmly welcomed by both Cllrs David Pugh and Vice-Chair Tony Wilcox.

David Pugh said Heatherton was a successful business, employing local people and should be encouraged to continue to offer job opportunities for locals.

Tony Wilcox said Heatherton was one of the three main jewels in Pembrokeshire’s tourist crown. 

He noted the other two destinations – Folly Farm and Bluestone – both recently applied to extend their facilities, and he could see little or no difference between what Heatherton proposed and what officers were prepared to accept elsewhere.

Cllr Tim Evans developed Cllr Wilcox’s theme, observing that officers barely raised an eyebrow about a further eighty pieces of holiday accommodation at Bluestone, which he said had ‘whizzed through’. 

Subject to conditions being brought back to the Committee, he fully supported the application.

Cllr Jacob Williams, Chair of Planning, asked whether the proposed conditions would be back before the Committee for its next meeting in July. 

Having received an equivocal answer he moved that if the Committee approved the scheme, with the proposed planning conditions to offset officers’ objections must come before the Committee on July 27.

Cllr Pugh endorsed that approach by saying nobody wanted the proposal kicked into the long grass.

Councillors approved the plans unanimously by 14 votes to nil, and officers must prepare conditions to attach to the planning permission ahead of the Committee’s next meeting.

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Milford Haven: Christmas cosmetics thief caged

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A MIDLANDS shop lifter caught stealing £2200 worth of cosmetics and skin care products from Boots in Milford Haven just before Christmas, has been jailed.

Magistrates sitting at Haverfordwest Court on Tuesday (Jun 15) accepted a guilty plea from 53-year-old Ion-Gabriel Maimut of Perrott Street, Birmingham.

He was jailed for what the bench described as “offending so serious because the defendant has a flagrant disregard for people and their property.

“And because of the high degree of planning and the high value of the theft.

“And because the theft was aggravated by the defendant’s record of previous offending.”

Maiumut, bang-to-rights, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to a single theft of goods from Boots to the value of £2204.91 on December 4, 2020.

The court confirmed that the defendant’s guilty plea was considered when imposing sentence.

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Blue Gem Wind begins digital aerial surveys for 300MW Valorous floating wind project

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BLUE GEM WIND, the joint venture between TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest energy companies, and Simply Blue Energy, has begun offshore digital aerial surveys for a proposed 300MW floating wind project.

APEM Ltd have been chosen by Blue Gem Wind to deliver 24 consecutive monthly bird and marine mammal surveys of the early-commercial scale Valorous site. The high resolution data obtained will support baseline environmental characterisation of the site and environmental impact assessments for key ecological receptors.

The survey programme commenced in March 2021 and four of the 24 monthly surveys have been completed
to date.

Sean Evans, Environmental Specialist at Blue Gem Wind said, “It is important for us to begin long-lead in items
such as bird and marine mammal surveys as early as possible. These surveys will provide crucial species specific
data on the number, spatial distribution and activity of individuals across the Valorous site. This enables us to
undertake robust environmental impact assessments ahead of our planned consent application submission in
2023.”

Matt Rohner, Senior Consultant at APEM, “APEM Ltd are delighted to be able to support Blue Gem Wind’s
proposed Valorous offshore wind farm with our best-in-class survey design approach. Imagery captured using
state-of-the-art cameras is of ultra-high (1.6cm) resolution, providing industry leading image quality that is
essential for species level identification.”

The Celtic Sea is poised to play a key role in Net Zero, the Committee on Climate Change’s 100GW offshore
wind target, and crucially, the UK Government’s target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030. The ORE Catapult also
estimated that the first GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea could potentially deliver over 3,000 jobs and
£682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

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