PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL could include the South Quay car park in Pembroke as part of plans to market a number of properties in the town.
Two properties on Castle Terrace and another two on Northgate Street have been empty for a number of years and the Council has continually tried to find a solution for the sites.
At a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday (Jun 12) it was mentioned that the car park behind the buildings, South Quay, could be included in any potential sale to increase development opportunities.
However, that idea was met with some caution by Cabinet members Paul Miller and Tessa Hodgson who said the Council would need to be careful and that they would need to consult properly with the Town Council and other stakeholders.
Cllr Paul Miller said: “This is a fairly prominent site in the town of Pembroke, it’s been a long time in a dilapidated state, that state is deteriorating and not for lack of trying I fancy, but we have nonetheless failed to procure a solution to this issue and we still have near derelict buildings not far from Pembroke Castle in the middle of their town.
“It is incumbent on us to make sure we do procure a solution and this report sets out the mechanism by which we hope to facilitate some form of development on that site.
“The joint venture line is interesting and positive but I will point out that the additional land that is identified to be marketed does include the car park adjacent to the Mill Pond, that wasn’t immediately apparent to me when I first read the report, it only became apparent when I read it properly.
“I do think that is an area that we need to consult properly with the community of Pembroke about because loss of car parking has the potential to be a divisive issue and we need to get out there and consult with the Town Council and other stakeholders how that impacts the town centre.”
Cllr Tessa Hodgson added: “I welcome any progress on this site. These buildings are an eyesore in the heart of what is our most prestigious town.
“Pembroke is steeped in history, the new statue has just been unveiled and it provides a real focal point. But right behind that statue are the derelict buildings covered in ivy, left to decay.
“The car park is a very popular amenity for the people of Pembroke, leading to the footpath which goes around the Castle so I think we have to tread very carefully and make sure we consult fully with Pembroke because it is a very popular area.”
A report to the Cabinet states that potential developers have estimated unconfirmed costs of between £1,800,000-£2,000,000 to refurbish the buildings. They go on to say that when finished, the buildings would only have a potential value of £1,250,000-£1,500,000.
One Pembroke resident, Mike Hillen, said: “My own opinion is that it is utter madness to sell this car park, they have just placed a statue of Henry VII only yards away, and are about to place picnic benches around it.
“South Quay car park also has numerous events on it during the summer, the very popular River Festival being one.
“Car parking in Pembroke is already a nightmare for anyone with disabilities living or visiting the town, the nearest car park to this is Long Entry which is opposite the castle with very few spaces available and it’s always full.”
Cabinet voted in favour of going ahead with the proposals, subject to legal confirmation and if nothing has come forward by October 30, the Council will consider a re-development scheme under its control.