PEMBROKESHIRE County Council will hold an ‘urgency committee’ next week to allow all planning applications to be delegated to officers during the COVID-19 outbreak – including the hotel development on Milford Haven’s waterfront.

The committee, which will meet on Monday, March 30, is being asked to allow the director of communities to take over delegated power from the planning committee including granting permission, issue certificates of lawfulness, serve contravention notices and power to execute urgent works.

These powers, along with a number of others, were delegated by council to the planning committee in the Pembrokeshire County Council constitution.

A report states that these changes are to “enable decision-making in the Planning Division to continue during this outbreak of Covid-19.”

The committee is asked to agree “that all applications shall be delegated to officers, this would obviate the need for any Planning Delegation Panel during the Covid 19 outbreak.”

A site visit was due to be held at Milford Haven marina before a decision was made on the Port of Milford Haven’s plan for a 100-bed hotel.

The committee has to decide if a site visit, planned for April 15, is still necessary, given government guidance to avoid public gatherings.

If planning permission is granted for the hotel plan the Port Authority has contractors already lined up and “therefore any delay beyond the date of the next programmed Planning Committee (21st April) could have serious economic consequences for this element of the redevelopment and the redevelopment of the Waterfront as a whole.”

The principal of the development has already been approved with the site visit relating to the design details of the hotel.

Members of the urgency committee expected to attend are councillors Michael Evans, Jon Harvey, David Lloyd, Paul Miller, Peter Morgan, Michael Williams and Di Clements.

With meetings cancelled and quorums unlikely the report of Dr Steven Jones, director of community services, states: “It is imperative however that planning does not grind to a halt and that timely decisions are still able to be made.

“The Urgency Committee was set up to deal with urgent business in relation to council functions where a decision could not wait “for the next available meeting of the council or any of its committees exercising plenary powers.”