Shrinking the council “property portfolio” is the next in line for cuts in a bid to make savings.

As the “transformation” programme continues at Pembrokeshire County Council a model categorising towns in tiers as part of a review of access to services has been agreed by cabinet.

Cabinet member for finance Cllr Bob Kilmister said a consultation will be held on the model which could achieve savings of more than £1million by moving services to County Hall, shared locations and an increase in agile working.

“Nothing has been determined for any town,” said Cllr Kilmister.

The model focuses on Haverfordwest as a tier 1 town and as a “hub” due to its central location and easy access via public transport.

Options for the town include "releasing" the old library site at Dew Street, Cherry Grove, Haverfordia House, 19 Old Bridge and Picton House, with a potential saving of £462,628 in property costs.

Tier 2 towns, including Pembroke Dock and Pembroke, Milford Haven, Tenby and Saundersfoot and Fishguard, are large areas of population and need where there could be shared locations but also reduced opening hours.

Options considered for Milford Haven include releasing the Town Hall and old library as well as the Argyle Street PFI Building, The Bridge Innovation Centre and youth club in Pembroke Dock. Both Pembroke and Pembroke Dock's libraries are included in the options.

This could generate savings of around and £64,829, less £17.877 income from the Town Hall and £398, 204 less BIC income £186,344.

In towns such as Neyland, Narberth, St Davids, Newport and Crymych, which are classed as tier 3 towns, face to face facilities would be provided on a mobile basis or with community involvement or not at all.

Following the review the focus will turn to non-public facing buildings and the “substantial savings” that can be made.

“I never cease to be amazed at the size of our property portfolio,” said Cllr Kilmister. “It’s too large and it’s too costly. We have to get buildings in the right place to deliver the right services.”

Council leader Cllr David Simpson added that it was “like swimming treacle”.

“Talking about it is not good enough, we have to sell these buildings. Even if we get a pound for the building and get the costs off our books.”

Cabinet approved a recommendation that the Locations Based Model for and the commencement of the next phase of the Access to Services project comprising a review of the services and facilities, with a formal consultation on the options identified.

Cllr Tessa Hodgson, cabinet member for social services, brought up the Pembroke Dock Bridge Innovation Centre (BIC). “It’s costing us £50,000 in gas and £23,000 in electricity.

“Perhaps we should turn the heating down,” she said.

Adding, if the council is asking for an increase of 12.5% in council tax the “spotlight” should be put on BIC which has had empty units over the years.

“I hope next year we haven’t got the same long list of redundant and empty buildings on our portfolio,” said Cllr Hodgson.

The meeting was told that criteria for renting at the BIC had been relaxed and now most units were filled.