Amendments to previously-granted plans for the second phase of Pembroke’s South Quay Regeneration Scheme, saw objectors saying they would rather wait for further funding than have what has been approved.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee, at their November 7 meeting, narrowly backed an application by the local authority for the erection of a community hub with associated infrastructure works, part of the second phase of Pembroke’s South Quay Regeneration Scheme.

Led by Pembrokeshire County Council, the South Quay project, below Pembroke Castle, includes the refurbishment of the Grade II-listed 7 Northgate Street; demolition of the existing public toilets; construction of a four-storey ‘L-shape’ extension building, a three-storey frontage to South Quay and the extension of a public space and reconfiguration within the car park.

The community hub would provide a service for older people, learning and skills areas to support independent living, and continued education for people with disability, and supported employment opportunities.

Pembroke Town Council, Pembroke Castle Trust, Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society all objected to the proposal, saying it would be an overdevelopment of the conservation area which would not preserve its character, and would tower over neighbouring buildings such as the nearby Royal George hotel.

They have described the scheme backed in November as “a fait accompli,” having little to do with the quayside tourist attraction they wanted, describing it as an “unsympathetic development,” near the Grade I-listed castle, with the social hub better sited elsewhere.

Since then, the scheme returned to the March planning meeting with amended plans including the largest building now having a break in its ridge line, articulation to its brickwork elevation facing north and chimneys to complement the roof-scape of that part of the conservation area, and some buildings finished in render rather than brick.

The application, recommended for approval, saw two speakers against the scheme.

One was Pembroke town councillor Linda Asman, who said the plans made “no reference at all to our previous objections to the social services building”.

She described the addition of chimney pots as, frankly “potty,” and said the plans were “a glaring disregard of conservation law,” with “no attempt to harmonise with historic surroundings”.

Cllr Asman said the previously-granted scheme was presented as “a fait accompli,” with “the concerns from the town council and public ignored”.

She told committee members the planned social services hub would be better placed in other parts of the town, warning the proposed building “may well prove to be a money pit”.

She later added: “We put forward our own plans and were expecting a proper quayside development; there was no consultation for this building, it was presented as a fait accompli.”

Fellow town councillor, and county councillor, Jonathan Grimes said he shared the “serious concerns” over the scheme, which he said had created “controversy and dismay”.

He said other locations in the town would be more suitable for a social services building and objectors “would be happy to wait for further funding rather than allow this unwanted building to be built”.

“We do not want this particular development there,” said Cllr Grimes, adding: “The passion of the people of Pembroke is why I am here; a last-ditch attempt to let the people have what they want here.”

He said the quayside as an attraction could fit in with the ongoing Celtic Freeport development in the Pembrokeshire, adding: “Perhaps we could wait a little longer so people could have something to look forward to in the form of the quayside.”

The recommendation to approve was moved by Cllr Tony Wilcox, and was backed by the vast majority of members, save one voice of dissent from Cllr Brian Hall of neighbouring Pembroke Dock: “This is something the people of Pembroke and all the objectors don’t want; I still maintain this is not the right building, I will vote against it.”