£1.5 million project to be discussed by park planners
10:30am Wednesday 20th February 2013 in News
A £1.5 million project that aims to boost the economy of a rural Pembrokeshire community is due to be discussed by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s development management committee today (Wednesday).
Two rural families hope to return St Ishmaels Garden Centre ‘to the centre of the economy of the Dale peninsula village’, with a development of 18 luxury holiday lodges close by.
Planning permission is currently being sought for the scheme, which would see demolition of the garden centre’s large glass houses and portable buildings, replacement of the garden centre buildings and creation of the landscaped park for the timber-clad lodges.
“There is huge local support for the project, and it will not only create new jobs but would result in environmental improvements on the site and would breathe some life back into the village of St Ishmaels,” said one of the applicants, Jonathan Boot.
Mr Boot and his wife Wendy, who own grounds maintenance company Boot of Lydstep, and Rowland and Wendy Sturdy, of Lydstep Garden Centre, bought the long-established garden centre five years ago.
“The garden centre is in desperate need of updating, but cannot survive in its present form,” said Mr Boot.
“By tying it in with the holiday lodge development, the project becomes economically viable. With extra visitor numbers, the local community will also benefit from increased spending generated by more holidaymakers, plus new income from jobs created. If successful, it is planned to introduce a village shop and post office – two facilities which were lost to the community in 2008.
“While we are well aware of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s policy over further development of holiday accommodation, we firmly believe that our scheme satisfies the criteria of ‘exceptional’ circumstances because of the economic and environmental benefits,” added Mr Boot.
Support for the scheme has come from MP Stephen Crabb, AM Paul Davies, Pembrokeshire Tourism, and St Ishmaels Community Council which has described the project as ‘a very worthwhile proposal’. It ‘adds considerably to the amenities within the village, improves the quality of life, creates sustainable local jobs and generally redresses the balance of the deprivation suffered over the past few years’, the council has said.