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Tourism and community business hub plan for former motel



A DERELICT ‘eyesore’ motel close to the Pembrokeshire seaside village of Newgale could soon be redeveloped as a tourism and community business hub.

A Pre-Application Consultation was launched on September 15, by Nick Neumann of Newgale Holidays on plans to redevelop the former Roch Gate Motel to a mixed commercial and community use hub called ‘The Gate,’ including a village shop/post office, bistro/takeaway, conference facilities and business units together ancillary works, and a separate tourism development of up to 25 holiday lodges.

The consultation – and a supporting statement – has been submitted with agent Andrew Vaughan-Harries of Hayston Developments & Planning Ltd ahead of any formal application to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The application relates to the former motel site, recently purchased by Mr Neumann, and adjacent farmland at Rainbolts Hill Farm on the edge of the village of Roch.

The former motel – dubbed an “eyesore” in previous applications – closed back in 2008 and has a history of later approved planning schemes, including as a bespoke hotel and an affordable housing scheme, but none have come to fruition.

Agent Andrew Vaughan-Harries of Hayston Developments & Planning Ltd, in a supporting statement, said: “The former motel site has laid vacant for several years and is now derelict and largely abandoned. Despite an application being granted for its redevelopment as a bespoke hotel and a more recent application for an affordable housing scheme being recommended for approval by the authority (subject to the completion of a legal agreement) neither of these schemes have materialised.

“These schemes were submitted by the previous owner of the site and clearly failed to deliver.

“The application proposal comprises different business, commercial, community and tourism elements. Since purchasing the site more recently, the applicant seeks to present a different and exciting mixed-use redevelopment on the site which would be of significant benefit to the local community.

“The authority has previously accepted that the site is unlikely to return to its previous use as a motel/hotel. Roch has sadly recently lost its only village shop/post office and fish and chip shop. The shop/post office closed in the last 12 months and the fish and chip shop several years ago.

“The proposed business/community hub would include the provision of a replacement village shop/post office, a bistro with small food takeaway facility, rooms that would be available for conferences and local community uses, together with three small business units.”

The statement added: “In addition to the business/community hub, it is also proposed to create a modest tourism development comprising up to 25 holiday lodges on part of the adjacent field to the southwest. This tourism development forms part of the overall business plan for the site and to provide an income stream in support of the main redevelopment site.”

Mr Vaughan-Harries said the applicant also wants “to give back to the local community” with the introduction of a community garden, open to all, including being offered out to local playgroups and schools for learning and development in the outdoors.

Following the launch of the pre-application, Mr Neumann said: “Today is the first notable milestone on our journey to redevelop the former Roch Gate Motel site. Today we launch our Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) and ask for initial feedback to our vision and development plans for the site.

“It’s taken us nearly eight months to get this far and we thank Hayston Developments & Planning Ltd and Landsker Business Solutions Ltd for their support and tenacity.

“The purpose of this Pre-Application Consultation is for everyone to have their say whether good, bad or ugly, as we believe the richness of feedback will only but help us improve upon the scheme.”

All relevant documentation surrounding the proposals is available on the Hayston Development & Planning Ltd website.

Anyone who wishes to make representations about this proposed development must do so by October 20, with the formal consultation period commencing on Monday, September 18.

Responses should be emailed or posted to Hayston Development & Planning Ltd, of Planning Studio, Hayston Bridge, Johnston, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 3HJ. Tel: 01437 891817 Mobile: 07515 851704.

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Wales embarks on floating wind energy venture with £180,000 commitment



OFFSHORE RENEWABLE ENERGY (ORE) Catapult, in association with Floventis Energy, is set to boost the floating offshore wind sector in Wales. The partnership aims to prepare Welsh businesses for this rapidly growing industry.

This initiative, termed the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme, is tailored exclusively to propel the floating wind market in Wales. It marks the debut of such an initiative in the region, reflecting the nation’s progressive stance on renewable energy.

The joint venture sees a promising £180,000 committed by Floventis Energy towards the 12-18 month floating wind specific development scheme. Welsh businesses are set to benefit extensively with unique access to the team developing Llŷr 1 and 2 in the Celtic Sea. This, in combination with the forthcoming Celtic Sea Round 5 projects, promises lucrative prospects for local ventures.

Vaughan Gething, Wales’ Economy Minister, expressed his enthusiasm: “The offshore wind sector has an incredible potential for our economy and its people. By bolstering the awareness of Welsh firms, we aim to pave the way for them to harness the opportunities of the green future.”

The programme, commencing in 2024, will kick-start with an initial group of three companies. Since its inception in 2019, the F4OR initiative has flourished across the UK, boasting five successful regional programmes and aiding over 100 companies. Many of these beneficiaries have seen a significant surge in their turnovers.

Andrew Macdonald from ORE Catapult commented on the potential of the sector: “Our goal is to ensure a top-tier supply chain developed in the UK, ready to cater to the world. With the proven success of F4OR in other parts, we’re eager to tap into the vast opportunities that Wales, particularly in floating wind energy, presents.”

The Celtic Sea in Wales is poised to be a frontrunner in the UK’s net-zero ambition, targeting a deployment of 4GW of floating wind by 2035. Early estimates suggest the potential creation of over 3,000 jobs, injecting a staggering £682 million into the supply chain of Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

Cian Conroy of Floventis Energy, noting the importance of the programme, stated: “Initiatives like F4OR, in tandem with projects such as Llŷr, are vital for building a robust industry. Our end goal is to fortify the UK’s offshore renewable energy supply chain, both domestically and on the global stage.”

Applications for the programme are open for firms employing over ten individuals and boasting turnovers exceeding £1 million, provided they cater to the offshore wind sector. Interested companies can apply at F4OR – ORE ( by 10 November.

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Pembrokeshire identified as having too many empty properties



PEMBROKESHIRE has been identified as the third major empty home hotspot in the UK.

The recent study on the UK’s housing market, conducted by Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance, disclosed a startling fact – the country has 4,331 vacant properties. This figure contradicts the popular belief of a fully occupied UK property market, especially given the weighty 5.1% rise in rent over the last year.

Gwynedd, in north-west Wales, tops the list with a staggering 5,286 vacant properties per 100,000 residents, an actual number amounting to 6,204. Surprisingly, a significant 77% of these are second homes or holiday residences. This has consequently resulted in escalating house prices, pushing the average up to £136,095.

Following closely is Argyll and Bute, which, with its historical splendour and breathtaking vistas, now has 4,887 empty homes per 100,000 people. This makes up over 10% of the area’s households. Furthermore, to address the increasing number of vacant properties, the Scottish Government has augmented The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) to 6% of the property purchase price for individuals who already possess one or more residential properties, anywhere in the world.

However, it’s Pembrokeshire’s standing at third place that’s turning heads. Despite its reputation as a sanctuary for nature and history aficionados, the county is grappling with a surge of holiday-home ownership. A vast 74% of its vacant properties are owned by individuals possessing second homes. The data indicates 4,331 empty homes for every 100,000 individuals in the county, summing up to 5,346 overall.

Concluding the top five are the Isle of Anglesey and Ceredigion, both in Wales, with 3,752 and 3,595 vacant properties per 100,000 residents, respectively.

This overwhelming number of vacant homes across these areas not only affects the local housing market but also impacts the native residents, many of whom find it increasingly challenging to own a home in their own community.

Methodology: The analysis used government data, StatsWales website information, and the Scottish Government’s figures. Data utilised spanned from 2021 to 2023, considering population and house price figures.

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Pembrokeshire restaurant fined for employing illegal workers



A PEMBROKESHIRE-BASED restaurant, Panache Indian, located on Queen Street, Pembroke Dock, has been slapped with a hefty fine after being found guilty of employing illegal workers over the past year.

The authorities acted on intelligence provided to the UK government, leading to raids at the Panache establishment earlier this year. Investigations uncovered that several staff members employed there had no legal right to either reside or work in the UK. The exact number of illegal workers discovered on the premises has not been disclosed.

As a consequence of these findings, the restaurant, owned and managed by Fahinoor Rahman, has been penalised with a fine amounting to £30,000.

Furthermore, Panache Restaurant now features in the Government’s quarterly report, which lists companies penalised for the use of illegal workers. This data is publicly released by the Home Office four times annually, with the most recent data spanning from January 1 to March 31, 2023.

The UK government underscores the severe repercussions awaiting companies or individuals found employing those without the right to work or live in the UK. According to, guilty parties could face up to five years imprisonment, alongside an unlimited fine, particularly if they knowingly or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ they were employing individuals without the right to work in the UK.

This category comprises:

  • Individuals lacking the leave (permission) to enter or stay in the UK.
  • Those whose permission to stay has expired.
  • Individuals restricted from certain job roles.
  • Persons providing incorrect or fraudulent information.
  • In a related incident, the Nehar Indian Restaurant in Lampeter, owned by Ruhul Amin Choudhury, has also been penalised with a £20,000 fine for employing illegal workers.
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