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St Clears McDonald’s gets go ahead

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THE REFUSAL of a planning application for a McDonald’s near St Clears could provide very costly for Carmarthenshire County Council after the Planning Inspectorate permitted an appeal and awarded costs to a development company.
The Planning Inspectorate’s ruling also states the developer is no longer bound by an undertaking to improve pedestrian access by improving a pedestrian crossing in St Clears.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Planning Committee voted to deny the application on Thursday, September 19 last year.

Council officers recommended approval of the scheme, which caused an uproar in the community. There were around 270 objections to the planned McDonald’s and Costa Coffee against 28 broadly in favour of it.

Officers told councillors the alterations to the road layout around the restaurant would benefit an un-associated housing development scheduled for land adjacent to the site. The 50-home building scheme is within St Clears’ development limit.

Surprisingly for a business intending to make a profit from users accessing the site solely by car, planning officers accepted the contention that any increase in traffic would be marginal without addressing why – if such were the case – such a large site was needed for the restaurant and coffee house.

At the Planning Committee meeting, councillors expressed concerns about the traffic impact on the town and the impact on local businesses. However, the sole reason for denying the application was that the plans were for land outside – but immediately next to – the Local Development Plan limits for St Clears.

At the time, the Chair of the Council’s Planning Committee, Cllr Alun Lenny, sought advice from the Head of Planning whether the issue raised by councillors was a material planning consideration. Llinos Quelch confirmed the development’s location was not necessarily a determining factor.

She continued to explain economic development land was not always within the LDP boundaries. That did not mean it was a straightforward refusal as the officer had set out his reasons why the development overrode the boundary consideration.

Cllr Alun Lenny expressed concerns about the reasons being advanced for refusal. However, despite the clear advice from the Head of Planning, Committee members voted unanimously to reject the plans.

The only dissenting vote coming from Cllr Lenny, who again expressed concern the reasons advanced for rejection might not stand up to an appeal.

Cllr Lenny’s concerns about his fellow councillors’ actions proved amply justified.

The Planning Inspector noted that the plans were for a location directly opposite an existing Travelodge and that economic development was a material consideration which overrode the Planning Committee’s sole objection regarding the boundary of the development area.

He also said: “Although located outside the development limits identified in the LDP, the prevailing character of the site’s environs is edge-of-settlement rather than open countryside, with visible development close by in most directions.

“The locality does not possess any designation indicating any special landscape sensitivity or value. Moreover, the developed character of the site’s environs is likely to be reinforced as the housing site on its north-east side is delivered. Given the presence of this housing allocation, the appeal proposal would not result in a materially harmful erosion of the gap separating the development limits of St Clears and Pwll Trap. ln summary, the proposal would relate well to the existing built form of the locality and would not harm the area’s character and appearance.”

While dismissing the reason given by the Council for rejecting the proposal, the Inspector also said competition between businesses – to which many local objections related – was not a material planning consideration.

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Business

New businesses open for trade at Milford Waterfront as Covid lockdown eases

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MILFORD WATERFRONT, the hidden gem within Pembrokeshire’s tourism crown, has even more to offer visitors now that retail, hospitality, and tourism has reopened, with lots of new businesses opening their doors for the first time and some existing businesses having expanded since the pandemic.

From independent restaurants to barbers and environment friendly fashion shops, there’s plenty to eat, shop and enjoy at Milford Waterfront.

The Green Genie is a vegetarian and vegan bistro set overlooking Milford Marina. The only one of its kind at Milford Waterfront with its vegan offering, the bistro is family and dog friendly.

The Green Genie offers visitors a nutritious and flavour-packed menu with dishes including Asian style vegan noodles, vegetarian tacos, traditional English dishes and gluten free options as well as a selection of vegan wines, beers and ciders.

Delicious vegan and vegetarian food @ Green Genie Bistro

Madison’s Bar and Restaurant is the Green Genie’s sister restaurant. A unique dining experience is on offer at Madison’s; the vintage themed restaurant and bar transports you back to the 1920s and 30s. The food encapsulates contemporary and classic options from the land and sea, including steaks and lamb as well as fresh seafood such as their tender scallops using locally sourced produce. The Green Genie’s menu is also available for vegetarian and vegan diners.

Madisons Bar & Restaurant

Talouies opened in the summer of 2020 and adds to the growing café culture at Milford Waterfront. Open 7 days a week and dog friendly, Talouies offers visitors afternoon tea as well as homemade light bites, cakes and desserts, along with a wide selection of loose-leaf teas and fresh, aromatic coffees.

Talouies

Sister company to resident restaurant Foam, Sugar Loaf Deli & Bakery are on hand to provide sandwiches, toasties, paninis, pastries, salads, soup and extravagant doughnuts. Everything on offer at Sugar Loaf is baked at their Bake House, which is based at Milford Waterfront as well.

Sugar Loaf offers Pembrokeshire produce, including jams, marmalades, chutneys, pates, cheeses and fudge from local suppliers. Sugar Loaf are also fully licensed supplying a wide range of wines, local ales, cider and spirits. 

The Sugar Loaf team are not only passionate about artisan bread and baked goods, they care about the environment too, sourcing supplies locally to minimise their carbon footprint, and providing biodegradable/compostable packing for their takeaway products with the business looking to work towards being plastic free.

Grab a bite at Sugar Loaf

Established in early 2020 by owners Lee and Nic, CUB3D is an independent clothing brand which started selling environmentally-friendly fashion online and due to a successful start, CUB3D opened their store here later that year, adding to the great range of independent shops at Milford Waterfront. CUB3D does their branding and design work in-house to provide a quality service. All of the products that they design and create are moving more towards recycled and carbon neutral garments. They are also hoping to expand their ‘Earth Positive and Salvage’ recycled clothing range in 80-90% of their product offering by summer 2021. They offer products including t-shirts (which are 100% recycled), hoodies, jumpers, bobble hats, knitted hats, caps, belts, wallets and iPad cases too.

CUB3D

Opening its doors in March 2021 by owner Owen Grey, OG Barbers is the only dedicated barbershop at Milford Waterfront. Confident in all aspects of barbering, they provide a wide range of professional services including standards cuts, fades, skin fades and beard trims too. OG Barbers also offers top-of-the-range products used to style your hair, including Dapper Dan, Black Label and Fudge.

OG Barbers

The Scoop Ice Cream Parlour and Coffee Shop has been serving ice creams from its kiosk next to the Pier Head since 2016, but this year due to its popularity, the business has developed and brought ice cream making back to Milford Haven with the addition of their own new ‘Ice Creamery’, based just over the road at Neptune House. This means that the ice cream served at the The Scoop is made at Milford Waterfront, with milk from Steynton Farm.

Looks lush!

Coco’s Restaurant was taken over by new owners James and Phil in August 2020, offering a great selection of food and drinks in an informal, relaxed city-style venue. COCO’s home, ‘The Sail Loft’ is a Grade II listed building, which was once used to service the Nantucket Whaling ships and is now home to this vibrant restaurant serving yummy meals, decadent cocktails and coffee and cake every day from 11am.

Coco’s the hotest decor in town!

Steve Edwards, Commercial Director at the Port of Milford Haven commented: “We are so delighted to have welcomed all these exciting new businesses to Milford Waterfront. It was reassuring to see non-essential businesses reopen earlier this month and now outdoor dining returning as well. Given the challenges that the pandemic has presented, as a destination we really are bucking the trend, with new businesses choosing to be based here at Milford Waterfront! Developing hospitality and tourism in the area is an important strategy for the Port, and with the addition of the new 100 bedroom Tŷ Hotel, which will be opening in spring next year, we really are achieving the ambition to make Milford Waterfront a must-visit destination in Pembrokeshire. We have so many fantastic businesses here that offer a variety of services to visitors, and we cannot wait to see everyone enjoying themselves as lockdown restrictions ease.”

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Jobs hope as Imperial Hotel plans re-opening

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THE IMPERIAL HOTEL in Tenby is set to reopen as part of the ‘Coast & Country Hotel Collection’, a newly formed collection of former Shearings Hotels.

The reopening plans to breathe new life into the hotel, focussing on its premium location and facilities.
The Imperial went into administration in May last year after its parent company, Shearing Hotels, entered insolvency.
Then, at the height of the Covid pandemic and with little sign of recovery in the tourist trade, the Imperial faced an uncertain future.

Under new ownership and following a Hotel Management Agreement with Bespoke Hotels, the hotel is set to reopen as lockdown eases.

It aims to reopen on May 17, in line with current government guidance.

The hotel is busily recruiting staff and is particularly keen on offering opportunities to the Imperial’s former employees.
Paul FitzGerald, Portfolio Managing Director, said: “Giving n the enormous challenges of the last few months, we’re delighted to bring The Imperial Hotel back to the market.

“It’s a lovely property that’s superbly located, and well-known within the area, and we know the initial closure was felt keenly amongst the local community.

“Now though, with reopening plans in place, we’re able to offer not just jobs and wider tourism opportunities, but a hospitality service that people can engage with as restrictions lift.

“With the country having been unable to enjoy the delights of hospitality for so long, everyone is eager to enjoy themselves post lockdown, and as people are starting to realise these properties are reopening, we’re already seeing keen interest to book – something that bodes really well for their future success,” he continued.

Mr Fitzgerald continued: “Our renewed focus with reopening is on reaching wider audiences.

“In particular we are looking to attract those seeking leisure breaks and welcoming local residents to sample the restaurants, bars, and wedding and event spaces on offer as we look to restore the hotel to local hero status and develop a close bond with communities.”

Thomas Greenall, Managing Director of Bespoke Hotels, said: “Coast & Country Hotel Collection is made up of some prominent local hotels in some wonderful and well-established leisure locations and we’re thrilled to be able to facilitate their reopening.

“We know the initial closures of many of these properties caused a real stir in their local communities last year, so we hope they’ll be keen to embrace their reopening and support the individual hotels in their endeavours.”
“We hope this will be regarded as a very positive move for the area – delivering jobs, support for communities and vital trade for suppliers and ancillary businesses.”

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Business

Maintenance plant shutdown planned for Dragon LNG

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DRAGON LNG is scheduled to commence a 26-day planned maintenance shutdown at its Waterston
site from Monday May 17

The 24/7 shutdown will enable Dragon to carry out periodic maintenance and inspection, whilst
taking advantage of the opportunity to carry out some small improvement projects in a safe and controlled manner.

In addition to the normal preparations for a shutdown, which started in February 2020, Dragon
have been working extensively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council TTP team and UK Government, including the Department for Business, Energy
and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to align already in place COVID controls in preparation for our
additional workforce from 15 key vendors to support a successful event.

During the shutdown, there will be over 140 valve overhauls, approx. 960 COVID-19 LFD | PCR
tests carried out by a specialist company and over 200 virtual site safety inductions (enhanced with
COVID site controls).

With the works taking place within the site process area, any impact to our community, including
noise and dust disturbances is not anticipated. Please do note that flaring will be undertaken
during the shutdown.

A Dragon spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Whilst this is a major event at Dragon, the 1st shutdown since 2011, our top priority always is the safety of our team and community”.

Dragon continues to update its’ community and stakeholders on the progress of the work.

For any enquiries, please contact karen.wood@dragonlng.com / 01646 691730.

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