THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Milford Haven Port Authority has said that he is ‘very keen’ for the All Pets Vet Care store to stay in the Milford Haven port family. On Monday Alec Don spoke to members of Milford Haven Town Council to give them an update on the Milford Docks masterplan. He also talked about how the plans will affect the town and buildings such as the Torch Theatre.
He said: “We want to create an overall environment that is attractive, combining both the old and the new. What the consultation told us was that the centre of the site should actually be much more up around the top end of the dock between Havens Head and the station and the centre of the town, Charles Street with routes of walking in and out through the various locations to make the site work for open access and drawing people in and making it a pleasant place to visit.
There was quite a lot of thinking in the consultation that went in to where these different bits essentially go. The point about the whole development is Milford Dock presents an opportunity to create something that’s really got some heavy degree of critical mass. The construction of these buildings won’t be sustained unless they are successful in attracting lots of people to Milford Haven to do their shopping.” The Port Authority’s Estate Director, Jeff Teague, then spoke about the Heritage study they had done and supporting the fishing industry. He said: “Inevitably, sadly, there is going to be a compromise.
We have been asked to provide an improved access into the Docks to cater for the new development and we went through nine or ten different alternatives and the only acceptable alternative to the highways people was one that involved moving the old Docks office, the Vets practice. We are certainly not proud of this and we’re doing everything we can to work with the vet at moment to find alternative premises. The plan is to move that building approximately 50 meters south towards the Quayside and replicate it so we retain all the existing features and put it into another building that will have another use. We need to find reasons why people want to come to Milford Haven, that’s the most important thing.
Most of the surveys we have undertaken so far say the reason why people don’t visit Milford Haven is the lack of offer. We are not going to create something that competes with anything else here in Milford. We don’t want to compete with Haverfordwest. We want to create something different.” He added: “It is optimistic, it’s challenging but without the support of you people it would be nigh-on impossible so our message to you today is please support this project”. Alec Don added: “This scheme will not work without having some revised entrance arrangements and it’s not something just invented by Milford Haven Port. To mitigate the impact we have basically said to the Vets practice: we will help to build, they have aspirations including more training facilities. I recognise they have poured their own money and their heart and soul into it and it seems like a complete tragedy to do anything with it but our mission is to put them into a building that meets their future aspirations.” Alec Don then spoke about the Torch Theatre saying: “Milford Haven has a presence in the world of performing arts. We are a huge supporter of it and we want it to continue to thrive and flourish.
We said to them that cinemas and performing arts are going to be part of what attracts people to Milford Haven and the question for you is not whether there is going to be another cinema in Milford Haven or not in addition to the Torch but whether there is going to be an additional cinema complex in Pembrokeshire. I think the Torch has an incredibly important role to play in terms of doing for Milford Haven what the Haywood festival does for Hay-on- Wye. Every part of Milford Dock is something that really plays to attract people to Milford Haven from further afield. You can see we have aspirations for Milford Dock to deliver something really good for Milford Haven and we very much hope you would support us.”
When questioned by Cllr Rhys Sinnett about the Torch Theatre Alec Don said: “We will be writing to the council to say we do not intend to do anything with the core standings of the Torch. We are a supporter of the Torch but it is a little bit early to come to a conclusion about what the leisure use should be. If the Torch does not want to play ball then we will respect that but that dialogue has got to continue. What we want is as Milford Haven Port is something which draws the Torch’s expertise into projecting Milford Haven way beyond the boundary of Swansea.” Cllr Rickard then asked about the timescale period and public transport facilities.
Jeff Teague responded saying: “A project like this could easily take five years to complete. We’ve looked at all transport links; one of the important things is to bring a new bus route all the way through the Docks and out again adding to the existing services.” Cllr Byrne said: “One of the things I don’t want this to do is take away from Charles Street and I wish you can get together with Charles Street and work something out.” We also asked about the highways issue and Jeff Teague responded: “We had certain requirements placed upon us to create an access with sufficient capacity in terms of the volume of cars travelling per day. This is the only one that actually satisfied the requirements of the highways officer – we’re desperately disappointed by it.” With regards to Charles Street Jeff Teague said: “Charles Street has a problem like other high street in the UK where there has been a migration of retail but inevitably old buildings get left behind and my view is that a lot of new brands won’t go into old premises.
We are trying to add to the retail offer in Milford Haven and not compete with it.” Cllr Joseph asked about All Pets Vet Care said to which Alec Don replied: “There is some interest in looking at the plans to see if they can get more of what they want. It’s a fantastic facility inside, it’s clean, and it’s attracting serious people who are committed to the ownership of their animals. It’s exactly the sort of business we want populating Milford Haven so we are very, very keen for the vets to stay in the Milford Haven Port family.” Cllr Eden said: “In relation to the Docks offices – this is a listed building and a part of the town’s heritage. We’ve lost a number of buildings and I can honestly say I don’t agree 100% with the improvements.” Alec Don replied: “That building is the one, the potential entrance is what they have said has to be delivered so I really can’t change that. The building is going to be moved and rebuilt 50 yards across the road and it will have a use as a core part of the marine operation.” He concluded by saying: “It is really important that the scheme does have the support of Milford Haven Town Council.”