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  • "2013 figures are about as much use as a chocolate teapot. It just shows how much PCC and its elected councilors think of our towns like Haverfordwest and Milford if they imagine that this would have any relevance today. Every week another shop goes,it has to be said, not always for reasons the local authority could do anything about. In the case of "Internacionale" the company filed for insolvency 3 time in 6 years so it was always likely to come unstuck. However others shut purely because of the high cost of trading in town, Tom Hughes is a classic example and is deeply missed by many. There is not and never has been the will from county hall to get the small traders in and address the problems that they face, even the town centre manager had to go when the European funding dried up and he had done a sterling job in promoting Haverfordwest. I'm afraid all medieval towns suffer because the property stock, and infrastructure (car parks Etc..) doesn't suit national retailers who all like their shops to conform to a certain shape and size but this shouldn't mean towns being allowed to die. I don't believe the mere presence of nationals is the cause of the decline of Haverfordwest, other towns survive with that sort of competition, but the timing was unfortunate. The solution is in the hands of young entrepreneurs but they appear to be in short supply at this moment in time, maybe due to the banks continued refusal to release funds for start ups and the like.
    I wish the towns of Pembrokeshire all the luck in the world but when I see PCC grant permission for a supermarket in Narberth I have to ask myself if the planners have our interests at heart or are they just scared of being taken to court by a company with money to burn?"
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Empty Pembrokeshire town centre shops remains cause for concern

Haverfordwest Bridge Street is among the areas with empty shops.

Haverfordwest Bridge Street is among the areas with empty shops.

First published in News

THE number of vacant premises in Pembrokeshire town centres is a cause for concern, but the figures must be put into a national context.

That was the message to come from Martin White, Pembrokeshire County Council’s head of regeneration during his address to the economy overview and scrutiny committee meeting on June 12.

The results of a survey carried out in 2013 were circulated to councillors after the figures were requested at the last meeting.

The data looked at A1, A2 and A3 ground floor vacancies in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Tenby, Narberth, Newport, Saundersfoot, Solva and St Davids.

The A class premises includes shops, financial and professional services and food and drink outlets.

Out of the figures available, the town with the highest percentage of A class vacancies was Milford Haven with 14%, followed by Fishguard, Pembroke Dock and St Davids, all with 10%. Newport and Narberth had the lowest amount of vacancies at just 3% and 4% respectively.

Martin White said: “The top six towns have all set up town teams to address the problem.

“Some towns have a high rate and we’re working with them. But we need to put these figures into a Welsh context.”

In 2013 the UK vacancy rate was 13.9% and the Wales vacancy rate was 15.7%.

Jeremy Martineau has been involved with Fishguard and Goodwick Town Team. He said: “In principle the issue of empty premises has been discussed in the context of revising planning regulations to allow for a shrinkage of the retail area to allow for commercial to become residential more easily.

“I can only count four empty shops in Fishguard, but there are several in Main Street, Goodwick. If one looks historically the whole street was once a row of shops operating out of residential premises.”

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