720 new houses to include 180 ‘affordable homes’
New £30m Haverfordwest supermarket promises 310 jobs
Plans include petrol station, sewage plant and roundabout
Council admits ‘slightly negative’ effect on the town centre
PEMBROKESHIRE County Council’s planning committee gave the provisional go ahead for a major development of over seven hundred houses, and full planning permission for Sainsbury’s to build a £30m flag ship store and petrol station on green field on Tuesday. The site, to the north of Thomas Parry Way in Haverfordwest, has been earmarked for development for nearly ten years.
The multi million pound scheme promises bring 310 permanent and part time retail jobs to Haverfordwest as well as creating further employment over the lengthy construction phase of the project.
In the face of objections form the Haverfordwest Civic Society, two local councillors and some nearby residents, Cllr Brian Hall told a packed committee room: “What message does a refusal to this application send to a major developer. This is a massive injection of cash. Haverfordwest is supposed to be the county town, but it has now slipped.”
Joking that Pembroke Dock had now taken over as the new shopping destination of Pembrokeshire Cllr Hall said: “This development will bring a massive amount of jobs and by building these projects is how we get out of economic recession.”
“This project will lead to a massive increase in footfall to Haverfordwest. At the moment, people are encouraged to travel east to Carmarthen” he added.
“I have the great pleasure in moving this application for approval” Cllr. Hall concluded.
Committee member Cllr Peter Stock said: “I have looked at this very carefully and although we need to look after the existing residents we have to consider that there are not enough plots in Haverfordwest. We as a Council, recognise the need for building.”
He continued: “My great love is for both Pembrokeshire and Haverfordwest, and I would die for those two places. What we are trying to do is improve the centre of our town, and here’s an opportunity to work with a major developer. We are loosing out to Carmarthen at the moment.”
Cllr Stock said: “Car parking in Haverfordwest is also a concern. In summer months every car park is chock-a-block. This new development adds free three hour car parking spaces within walking distance of the town centre. Haverfordwest Chamber of Trade supports this development. They know this development will draw people into the town centre. For too many years we have let our river go. We need plans to strengthen it. We can take this as a chance to put things right. No one complains about Tesco! Sainsbury’s will not have so many houses next to it as Tesco.”
He finished: “I have got to support this, but I will be careful to safeguard the residents.”
Councillors Lyndon Frayling, IPPG, and Thomas Tudor, Labour, were given permission address the Planning Committee because their wards were in or near the development site. They said the project would not be in the interests of the residents of Oakwood Grove, Sycamore Grove and Slade lane areas. Cllr Frayling said: “The location of this development is detrimental to nearby houses, there will be a high level of traffic, noise pollution and light pollution from the supermarket. There are also concerns that a roundabout will cause long delays encouraging people to drive back onto City Road rather than use Thomas Parry Way, which was designed as a relief road. I advise refusal for those reasons.”
Cllr. Tudor spoke of “the serious detrimental effects” of the development on its neighbours and highlighted evidence from New Scientist about a study in France where researchers found that “Children living next door to a petrol station had a quadrupled risk of leukaemia. And the risk of developing acute non-lymphoblastic leukaemia was seven times greater compared with children who lived in the same area, but not next to a petrol station.”
Councillor Tom Tudor read a letter of objection he had sent to the planning department which we have reprinted in full in the letters pages of this edition.
Cllr. Sue Perkins countered these arguments by saying: “I have a Tesco in my ward but no problems with lighting or noise pollution. It will be fine.”
David Jones, agent for Conygar, the company developing the site told the committee: “I commend the council’s officers for a report on this development which is coherent and well balanced. It includes a number of robust submissions. Financial realities have meant that there has been little progress with this site in seven years. Sainsbury’s now makes this all possible. The new store will cross-subsidises the wider development. This project includes 180 affordable homes, a new sewerage treatment works, a £30m investment by Sainbury’s and a further investment of £5m-£6m in additional infrastructure for the town. This development will bring further choice, reduced prices for consumers and help prevent the leakage of business to other counties through this truly sustainable development. Sainsbury’s in the UK’s greenest grocer. They stock over 3,000 locally sourced products and are the biggest buyer of Welsh lamb.”
Richard Evans, retired, who lives at one of the houses nearest to where the supermarket will be built raised objections. “I think the greater majority of people think that supply already outweighs demand where supermarkets are concerned. I have read the Council report. It states ‘there is no retail need for a large store at Slade Lane South’.
Mr Evans also questioned if there was a need for new houses in the area: “Cawdor barracks will be closing soon putting the whole of the Cashfields Estate onto the housing market” he said.
“In the documentation we can see that all sorts of environmental considerations have been made for badgers, foxes and other wildlife, but not much consideration for the residents who will be blighted by this totally unnecessary development plan. This is another nail in the coffin for our town. The Haverfordwest Civic Society discussed this on March 6, and concluded that there is no need for this development and recommended refusal.
Cllr Pugh said at the meeting: “The deliverability of hosuing is important. The proposal will deliver housing at a time when there are currently 4068 people on the housing waiting list in Pembrokeshire. We live in a county where housing is desperately needed. In regards to the retail, I have had meetings with the Chamber of Trade and Town Council . The Chamber of Trade see this as a key development for the centre.”
“This is a huge investment showing confidence in Haverfordwest. I have no hesitation in supporting this” he added.
Cllr Keith Lewis added his view: “I find myself at the end of such eloquence its left me with little to say. Let’s make it clear to the developer that we welcome this project. Cllr Frayling make good paints on behalf of the residents but the planning department will take into consideration the points that he raised. Additional car parking on the town side would be a good idea, to help people get to the units in the town centre. That will secure Haverfordwest town centre for years.”
He concluded with a demand to his fellow Councillors: “Lets grasp this with two hands and say YES! We’ll go ahead with it!”
On a vote, the application for the homes and supermarket were passes unanimously with one member, Cllr. Price, obtaining because of a financial interest.