Pontoon plan is "utter lunacy"
8:50am Sunday 3rd March 2013 in County News
“Insane” “cack-handed”, “crazy” and “inept” were just some of the words used last week to describe county council plans to build a new pier and pontoon at Tenby Harbour.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s development management committee discussed the plans for the 75-metre pedestrian pier, bridge and tidal pontoon off the north side of the harbour’s outer pier last week, with the application recommended for refusal.
The purpose of the development was to extend the length of time businesses using the harbour could operate by around 40 minutes either side of high tide.
National park conservation officer Rob Scourfield said the plans as a “large and intrusive”
structure would have “an adverse impact on the character and setting of the listed pier” as well as nearby listed buildings in the harbour area.
Tenby Civic Society had objected to the plans along with 11 members of the public, but Tenby Town Council had offered support, saying it would “enhance the facilities of the harbour”.
Speaking as an objector, resident of the nearby former lifeboat station Tim O’Donovan said it was “a bad plan and a mad plan,” and suggested the castle beach area would be a better location.
“All the boats are brought into the harbour if there is bad weather, you can’t bring in a pontoon. My fear is I’ll wake up one morning with a pontoon next to me in my bed,” he added.
County council head of regeneration, Martin White, defended the plans, and explained the aim of the application was to provide economic benefit to local businesses by extending the ‘window of opportunity’ either side of high tide.
He said that Visit Wales funding for the scheme would be lost if the application was refused.
Mr White said 15 businesses operated from the harbour and the pontoon would offer more time for them to operate and would also be available to visiting yachts and boats.
He said the pontoon, which was similar to those used at Dale, Neyland and Burton, would be removed in winter.
Member David Ellis remarked it was “depressing” that the head of regeneration thought it “okay to destroy one of our most iconic sites with this ill thoughtout scheme”.
Cllr Michael Williams declared an interest as he owns a harbour mooring, but was allowed to speak on the application, calling it “utter lunacy”.
He said he was annoyed that as a Tenby county councillor, who had owned a mooring in the harbour for around 50 years, he was not consulted in any way.
“This is at the core of the conservation area of Tenby, nearly everything is listed and we would be sticking an absolute eyesore in the middle of it and causing a severe loss of amenity to the people living there.
“There is a need for this but there must be a proper consultation and pre application advice must be taken on it.”
Sixteen members voted to refuse the plans with one abstention.