It looks like being a happy new year for Milford Haven following the announcement of a £5million upgrade of the town’s marina.

The Milford Haven Port Authority has joined forces with the marina operating company, Cardiff Marine Group, to form the Pembrokeshire Marine Group.

Under the terms of the deal, the marina will remain wholly owned by the authority, with the newly-formed group taking over its management.

The development programme is due to start early next year and looks set to include the upgrading of the existing 328 pontoons, the provision of around 250 new ones and the creation of a new ‘launch on demand’ service.

Future proposals also include a new locking system to enable access to the marina and docks at all states of the tide and the possible provision of a dry stack berthing facility.

The group will also be establishing joint marketing initiatives, including regular flotilla cruises between Milford and Cardiff.

Commenting on the new venture, MHPA chief executive Alec Don said: “We strongly believe that the marine leisure sector is capable of playing a much larger role in the Pembrokeshire economy.

“As well as directly benefitting businesses in the immediate vicinity, we are confident that Pembrokeshire Marine Group will attract other third party investors to the town centre of Milford Haven.”

Among those welcoming the announcement was county councillor Rhys Sinnett.

He said: “It is a welcome boost at a difficult time. The works planned will be specialised, but I’m sure we have all the necessary expertise locally and I hope the Pembrokeshire Marine Group will take advantage of that.”

Agreeing, county councillor Anne Hughes, who is also a member of the MHPA board, said: “It can only be a good thing, as the plans will enhance the marina, encourage new users and bring more jobs to the area.”