Protect existing features
11:14am Wednesday 9th January 2013 in Letters
I WOULD express some agreement with the views of Peter Cross in the Western Telegraph letters page last week regarding the marina development and Fishguard and Goodwick Bay Conservation Group.
I have endeavoured to have some dialogue with this group, but found that they seem to wish to limit their community exposure to anonymous Facebook messages.
However my view is that concerns over this development should fall somewhere between uncritical support and emotive rejection. I put forward this view at the recent planning application meeting and in the very limited time available, tried to contact anybody who might identify relevant issues to enable a broad spectrum response.
A sad aspect is that we lack well identified community channels for responding to such issues. A body such as a Bay Conservation Group might be helpful in that way, but only if it is set up with a will to engage with the community in general.
Yes, we do need investment to improve local prospects and we do need to protect existing features that may appear trivial to developers. Not raised in either of those views are practical matters like already creaking parts of our infrastructure and the potential impact of 530 new dwellings in what could easily be a ghetto and the fact that the development will necessarily cut off, in some ways, the Goodwick community from the origin of its development.
There have been a number of investments in the area over the last 120 years, but today there is probably less evidence of local commercial prosperity than existed before those were made and moreover less desirable outcomes remain, such as the Slimma bombsite.
Major commercial investments need to be considered in the scope of total overall and continuing development and with a sceptical eye open in relation to community amenity and longer-term sustainability, both commerical and environmental – has that yet been truly demonstrated in the case of the marina and was five minutes at the planning meeting a sufficient platform for a local viewpoint of those concerns?
❑ WE are pleased to see some dialogue appearing in the Western Telegraph regarding the proposed marina development in Goodwick. It is very important that the local people are given more clarity about such a huge environment impact that is intended for our area in the name of employment.
The Fishguard and Goodwick Bay Conservation Group made a six-page presentation to Fishguard and Goodwick town council together with statements from experts.
Mr Cross is mistaken. We are not against a marina and we applaud any jobs it will bring particularly because some existing jobs will have to go to make way for this development.
We do have some deep concerns about the Stena platform which has an undefined use; when fenced in (as the plan states) will most likely come under the port authority, and the County Council will have no jurisdiction over what will be built on it. There are no safeguards against this happening.
The remaining built up area proposal contains tourist attractions – shops etc – which have failed in St Davids, Milford and Neyland.
There are also doubts as to the sustainability of the marina (a small portion of these plans) itself, and what eventual effect the whole project will have on the function of the existing port.
These plans require about 40 acres of concrete, enough to fill the whole bay (getting it there is an environmental issue in itself). If we follow the results of the other towns we could be left with just concrete and irretrievable damage to the beautiful bay.
The area around the Ocean lab is a venue for many tourists and many well attended social and civic functions for the twin towns and also other tourist attractions.
This area will be replaced by some of the 250 so-called luxury flats, if you regard living next to 24-hour industrial activity with its noise, smell and bright lights. We therefore have concerns about their ultimate use.
We have made suggestions on how much of these plans can be achieved on dry land because only the marina needs to be in the sea.
Anything built on dry land can be salvaged as it could be in the unredeemed towns of Neyland and Milford Haven, unlike Goodwick Bay, which cannot be salvaged once it is destroyed by concrete.
The plans presented to us are not conclusive and are mediocre, emulating similar places elsewhere. They are a poor exchange for our unique beautiful bay and the national heritage it contains, and appreciated by so many visitors. They should never have been presented and considered by county council as a multi-purpose planning request, one part industrial, riding on the other recreational part. They should have been submitted as two planning requests and judged on their separate merits.
On April 17th of last year, the county council allowed a mere five minutes for one representative to make a presentation on a matter that will have such a huge impact on our environment, and lives. At the same meeting they voted against making a site visit in order to understand this impact, and then again at the same meeting they voted to permit outline planning.
We need more clarity and more say on what is happening with these plans. Are they really intended to benefit our community, or another imported community? We need assurance that should we have to sacrifice existing employment and our heritage, which is the bay, that it really would be for our own local people.