REDEVELOPMENT of the former Ocky White building in Haverfordwest is due to start, as part of a £6.287m Pembrokeshire County Council regeneration scheme.

Purchased by the county council in 2018, the former department store and its surroundings are to be transformed into ‘Western Quayside’ which will include a three-storey local food and beverage emporium with bar and rooftop terrace.

The scheme includes a new waterfront square with space for events.

Contractors will be on the Covid-compliant site over the next few weeks for preparatory works - ahead of the partial demolition of the rear of the building starting in mid to late February.

Existing businesses in the area will remain open throughout the 18-month construction scheme.

Cllr Paul Miller, cabinet member with responsibility for economic development, said Western Quayside is part of a comprehensive plan to revitalise Haverfordwest town centre.

“I strongly believe that the quality of key town centres is important for the wider economic wellbeing of Pembrokeshire,” he said.

“In Haverfordwest, we’ve already opened the very successful Glan-yr-Afon library and cultural centre. In addition to the Western Quayside project, we expect to conclude the acquisition of the Riverside Shopping Centre next month and plans are well developed to enhance the castle, and link it directly to Bridge Street.

“All these projects, taken together with our commitment for a wholesale redevelopment of the town’s multi-story car park, are designed to ensure that we as a local authority are playing our part in transforming the fortunes of Haverfordwest.”

Site materials will be delivered via the Swan Square entrance between the normal working day times of 8am and 4.30pm and the appointed contractors, John Weaver Ltd, do not anticipate disruption to neighbouring properties.

Pedestrian access will be maintained from the Riverside area to Bridge Street via the footbridge and along the footway alongside the Friars. Pedestrians will also be able to access the Riverside library from the footbridge (although due to Covid restrictions, the library is current closed apart from the order and collect service).

Vehicle access to the Glan-yr-Afon road will be managed.

However, the ‘Hole in the Wall’ car park, close to the former Ocky White building, will be closed from January 25, for approximately 24 months to allow the contractors to use it as a compound.

Local member, County Councillor Thomas Tudor welcomed the beginning of the project.

“The Ocky White building is a key site in the Riverside area and we’re very much looking forward to seeing the work starting,” he said.

“I am very optimistic that this project and others will enable Haverfordwest town centre to become a thriving commercial and residential location with a distinct sense of place.”