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Final stage of Angle Palmerston fort plans gets go-ahead

Works at Thorne Island Hotel, Angle have been back by national park planners (Pic: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park webcast)

THE FINAL stage of plans to remove a “shanty-like” 1960s bar on a historic 19th century Palmerston fort guarding the gateway to Milford Haven, with modern conference facilities replacing it, has been backed by national park planners.

In an application back at last October’s meeting of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s planning committee Mike Conner, the owner of technology company Appsbroker, sought retrospective permission for works at Thorne Island Hotel, Angle.

They included the replacement of an “incongruous” and “shanty-like” bar built in the 1960s with a conference room and facilities, along with the creation of storage areas, the construction of a viewing deck and generator house and emergency cliff reinforcement.

A statement submitted in support of the application said: “The key aim of this planning application is to make Thorne Island a truly sustainable proposition. Not only sustainable from an environmental point of view, but also from a financial perspective.

“A great deal of urgently-needed restoration work has already taken place on the Island by the current owner, but there is much more to do.”

It adds: “The living accommodation on the Island has been sympathetically restored to its former original condition and can now accommodate 40 people comfortably.

“The ambition is to make the island financially viable with the refurbishment of the multipurpose room that will act as the focal point for visitors. The aim is to attract corporate events, product launches, music events and entertainment events to the Island.”

At that meeting, members heard that, while the application was retrospective, officers said the applicant deserved credit for the work carried out to date, with the removal of the “1960s shanty-like bar area” highlighted.

The application, along with a related listed building consent scheme, was approved at that meeting.

However, concerns were later raised at points in the listed aspect by officers, relating to the refurbishment of the multipurpose room and the detail of standing seam roofs and cladding of the storage areas.

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The listed building consent has now been conditionally approved by officers.

The Grade II*-listed Thorne Island Fort, on a small island just north of West Angle Bay, was built 1853-54 as an outer defence to Milford Haven against Napoleonic threat.

It was later converted to a hotel by 1947.

After a period of neglect, the fort has been refurbished since 2017 by its present owner, and much of its original infrastructure remains.