Council defers ‘contentious’ port planning application amid historic building loss fears
Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter
A “contentious” major development at Pembroke Port has been deferred by the council amid fears of losing historic buildings.
The Port of Milford Haven’s plans have seen some opposition from the local community with the “most contentious issue” the large size of two proposed buildings which would impact the visual amenity of the area.
There is also concern about the “terminal damage” and loss of significant historic buildings and elements of the dockyard, some of which are the only ones of their type in Wales.
Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee heard that the application was against planning policy in terms of “significant harm” and impact on the historic environment as well as visual impacts but met a number of national planning policies relating to marine and renewable energy.
A notice from Welsh Government has been issued stating that planning permissions cannot be issued – but can be determined – without prior authorisation of Welsh ministers.
A “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come” was highlighted by Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven, with jobs and the economic benefits also forming part of a planning report to committee.
In response to questions about the need for 40 metre high buildings Mr James said the size had been determined in discussion with boat builders and renewable energy companies and their requirements.
Cllr Guy Manning, Pembroke Dock Town Council mayor, said that although jobs ere welcomed the large buildings would be an “unsightly blot on the land and sea space.”
The Port of Milford Haven has submitted one planning application, three listed building application and one conservation area application all related to its masterplan for the haven waterway and the Pembroke Dock Marine, Swansea Bay City Deal project.
Separate listed building applications for the infill of the dockyard’s timber pond and graving dock, including the removal and restoration of a caisson.
Supporting documents with the applications state that the two historic sites will be covered with a protective layer of sand before granular fill is put in and a building located partially on top.
The overall plans include the creation of a single large slipway, infilling of the graving dock and timber pond, demolition of various unlisted buildings in a conservation area, provision of large areas of hardstanding where buildings could be created for business, erection of buildings for the assembly, manufacturing and repair of vessels and devices, areas and buildings for the importation and storage of goods and raw materials for fabrication activities.
The committee approved holding a site visit to examine the heritage of the site and visual impact from other vantage points.