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Haverfordwest transport interchange set for private talks

How the public transport hub in Haverfordwest will look (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

THE CONTRACT for the second stage of Haverfordwest’s contentious near-£19m transport interchange is expected to be made behind closed doors next week by senior councillors.

The total cost of the scheme in the approved budget is £18.881m, £1.987m from Pembrokeshire County Council; the remainder, £16.894m, from an already-awarded Welsh Government grant.

To date, £3.425m has been spent on the scheme for professional fees and advanced works, including the demolition of the old multi-storey car park and a temporary bus station.

A lengthy timeline is also included in the report, dating back to a 2016 Haverfordwest Masterplan which identified the need for sustainable transport improvement for the town.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting on April 22, are recommended to approve the award of the Stage 2 construction contract for the Haverfordwest Transport Interchange.

The report for members lists two simple options for Cabinet, to authorise the award of a contract, recommended, or to not.

For the latter it warns: “It is envisaged Welsh Government will withdraw the funding awarded and the council would need to repay grants received to date; £10.322m has been received to date of which £3.376m has been offset against expenditure.”

It also says this option would risk “reputational damage across a range of stakeholders including funders,” and would “compromise realisation of the county town regeneration vision”.

It added: “The existing site currently presents a poor appearance to the town centre: the award would facilitate the scheme to progress.

“Cost to cease this project could cost PCC more in terms of grant repayment and any capital work required to make good. PCC match contribution for the project is forecast as £1.987m of the £18.881m.”

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Cabinet is asked to authorise the award of the construction contract to proceed with the second phase.

It is recommended the actual contract award details are held in a private and confidential part of the public Cabinet meeting, before a final public decision on whether to proceed or not is made.

A temporary car park is to be sited on the demolished remains of Haverfordwest’s multi-storey car park (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

‘Doubling of costs’

It has previously been said the completed interchange, part of a wider Western Quayside development in the town, would generate annual revenue for the council from at least a “pessimistic” £150,000, to as much as £400,000 have been quoted.

In late January of last year, councillors heard a doubling of the costs of Haverfordwest’s public transport project to nearly £18m was not fully communicated with the public.

Planning permission for the interchange was granted in 2022, with a temporary bus station constructed that year and the old multi-storey building demolished in 2023.

That year, members of the county council’s Cabinet agreed a temporary car park will be sited on the demolished remains of the old multi-storey car park until the Haverfordwest Public Transport Interchange – delayed as no compliant tender had been found at the time – is built.

Calls have previously been made for the scheme to be reduced to a simpler modern car park/bus station.