Getting the backing of both Welsh and UK government shows the council is on the right track with its regeneration plans, the cabinet member responsible has said, as he welcomed £21million of investment in the county.

Pembrokeshire County Council heard last week that two ‘levelling up fund’ applications to UK government had been successful with £17.7million awarded for the economic regeneration of Haverfordwest and £4.1million for a second phase community and social care hub project at South Quay, in addition to heritage centre works underway.

Cabinet member for economic development, Cllr Paul Miller, said it was “very good news from our perspective” as he emphasised the council’s early involvement in developing plans to meet a long-term goal in the success of the bids.

Cllr Miller said that proposals including the multi-storey interchange, Western Quayside and Riverside had been backed by the Welsh Government with “tens of millions of pounds and is also now being backed by UK government.”

“We’ve put together a plan, we’ve started to implement it and those in government agencies have all said yes it’s right plan for Pembrokeshire and, in particular for Haverfordwest and Pembroke, and we’re convinced enough to financially back it.”

He added that having a plan in place had been “critical” in accessing funds, saying “let’s be honest four or five years ago we wouldn’t have had a clue, but we’ve got a plan for what we want the economy in Pembrokeshire to look like in the future and that grant fits with what we want to do.”

The proposals include adding to ongoing improvements at Haverfordwest Castle to create an outdoor performance area, renovation of the jail, and perimeter walks with a direct link to the town centre via Bridge Street, and on to the Western Quayside and Riverside via a “signature bridge.”

Work will take time Cllr Miller said, with a four year window to complete levelling up fund projects, including regenerating buildings around South Quay and “driving footfall” to the town without creating commercial space.

“The problem with the 'regen' agenda is you can’t wave a wand and it’s all done tomorrow,” said Cllr Miller, adding that the “early moves” made by the council indicated the administration’s commitment to revitalising towns.

He added that previous administrations had been wrong to think the economy was “not a property or not really their job” and the council wanted to be “key in driving the economy forward.”

“Hopefully people can now see that things are changing and know that we are very serious about the plans.

“We’ve got a labour Welsh government and conservative UK government to agree we have got the right plan,” said Cllr Miller.

Further funding announcements were made this week, including £2.9million for Pembrokeshire from the UK government’s community renewal fund, although Cllr Miller points out that the region would have received more money under the EU system, although not necessarily in such a targeted way.

Haverfordwest county councillor Tom Tudor added: “I am very excited that the LUF offers an important opportunity to make a significant change for the wider regeneration plans for Haverfordwest through infrastructure improvements that will revitalise its key heritage and cultural assets.

“I am very optimistic that the Funding for Haverfordwest town centre will enable it to become a thriving commercial and residential location of choice with a resilient and vibrant community, creating a distinct destination and sense of place that will continue to attract people, which ultimately contributes to the wider sustainability, success and function of Haverfordwest town centre.”