Plans spark fresh castle concerns
1:30pm Saturday 20th October 2012 in News
Plans showing the full extent of land being offered to develop a ‘boutique hotel’ on the grounds of Haverfordwest Castle have been released for the first time, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act.
And the plans show that developer Keith Griffiths will effectively control the entire area that is Haverfordwest Castle, it’s being said.
That has sparked fresh concerns about future public access to the castle.
Haverfordwest Civic Society’s Mark Muller said: “What was originally offered was the old jail and the car park.
“On Plan 2, in the bottom right-hand corner, stand the remains of Queen Eleanor’s beautiful windows, which were the results of her renovation plans carried out in the 1280s.
“This little corner comprises an easily identifiable part of the castle, which although left untouched, will be inaccessible to the public because it is just outside the black line.”
Civic Society chairman Robin Sheldrake said that although public opening hours between 10am and 3pm have been discussed, as a private leaseholder Mr Griffiths would have the final say on public access.
He said: “Effectively, the area enclosed in Plan 2 will be passed into the hands of a private leaseholder, and access to that area will be controlled by that leaseholder.”
“We are not against the hotel, but we are against the possible loss of access to the castle,” he added.
Mr Sheldrake said that the fact that Plan 2 had been in circulation before, but never in the public domain, was worrying.
He said: “I saw the original advertisement on November 10th, but I never saw any other advertisement showing the additional land.
“In asking for that additional land, I plan to make this information as widely known as possible.”
Mr Muller added that this corresponded to the developer allegedly stating that he required “complete exclusivity”.
“The county council, from the start have been secretive and guarded in what they were offering,” he said.
“With what has now been revealed, the town and county and the daily visitors would lose an extensive part of the castle and access currently enjoyed.
“And the Civic Society find that unacceptable.”
Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman Len Mullins said: “It is a matter of record that the developer’s proposals include a larger area, including the former Governor’s House, than was originally offered on the market.
“The phrase ‘complete exclusivity’ is not one which has been used in the negotiations which have taken place.
“Indeed, discussions with the developer have indicated that the public will have access to the castle grounds but details have yet to be finalised.”
Mr Mullins added that initially “commercial confidentiality”
prevented Plan 2 being released because it was previously part of a confidential report to cabinet earlier in the year.
This, he said, was no longer an issue.