THE future of four county markets hangs in the balance after cabinet members approved a review on Monday (December 2).

Pembrokeshire County Council’s review will look at the future of its markets in Haverfordwest, Tenby, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock.

According to a report by the council’s director of development, put before cabinet members, the markets are considered “not profitable, when taking into account whole costs of management and future capital requirements”.

The report added: “The provision of markets is a discretionary function and the relatively modest size of the facilities limits the ability to generate significant socio-economic benefits for the county.

“Furthermore, there is no capacity being created for future investment into developing and improving the facilities.”

The options due to be considered in the review include: sale to a commercial market operator, letting to a commercial market operator, letting to third sector/tenant consortium, retention by the council, provision in more appropriate premises, and closure.

Cabinet member for economy Cllr David Pugh said: “I think this is a timely review, given the work being undertaken on town centre regeneration.

“Something I would like to say is that we will look at all of the options – each market is totally different and the amount of support they get is totally different, which might mean a different solution for each market.”

He added: “I think it’s an opportunity, certainly here in Haverfordwest, to create some exciting prospects if we get the provision right.”

A further report will be presented to cabinet in February.

Haverfordwest stallholder. Priscilla Williams, of Bubbles and Co. toy shop, and Hair Delights, attended the meeting.

Speaking afterwards, she said: “We want people to know the market is not closing down. People need to come in and see it’s thriving. We are open for business.”

But fellow trader Jan Maundrrill, of Treasure Chest, added: “People do not even know we are there. We have all done our best to make our units looks nice, but the building needs a coat of paint inside and out, and the toilets are atrocious.

“Up until recently half the stalls were empty. Now the stalls are full and they are going to close us down. They’re not taking any notice of us.”