A body that protects Welsh historic monuments has failed Haverfordwest by allowing the “selling off of the family jewels”, town councillors have said.

In an open letter to CADW, Haverfordwest town councillors said they had lost confidence in the body, which they believe has ‘failed to protect’ the town’s heritage.

This response came after an application by developer Nick Heywood to remove semicircular benches at the rear of Shire Hall and infill the floor-well was approved by Pembrokeshire County Council planning officers in November, subject to conditions.

In the letter councillors said: “On the face of it congratulations might be considered in order.

“On closer inspection it becomes evident that part of this success is achieved by selling the family jewels.”

Councillors said that Shire Hall was the latest historic asset to be “given away” by the county council, following its efforts to “off-load” Foley House and most recently Haverfordwest castle.

Haverfordwest Town Council clerk Jane Clark said that the grade two listed Shire Hall was released into private ownership with the strict understanding that the courtroom would be maintained.

She said: “This council was never confident that the county council would hold the owner to this stipulation in the lease but felt that CADW would ensure the safety of this important part of our town’s heritage.

“CADW has let us down and we ask that it gives a clear indication as to why.”

The letter added: “If initial stipulations can so easily be set aside due only to the passage of time then we can have no confidence in CADW and must realise that the protection of our heritage is left solely in the hands of a county council that has scant regard for it.”