Bold, innovative and transformational – that’s the aim of the £6.287m Western Quayside project launched recently by Pembrokeshire County Council.
The 18-month scheme of work at the three-storey building on the Riverside in Haverfordwest is part of the Council’s comprehensive regeneration programme for the town.
Formerly the Ocky White department store, the site will be developed into an attractive and vibrant local produce destination and marketplace, combined with the potential for leisure and community use to encourage greater vitality, resiliency and vibrancy within the town centre over time.
The quality-led approach includes plans for external seating and displays and a focal space for community events and activities which could extend its use into the early evening. In this way, the development will connect and enhance the riverside aspect of Bridge Street, improving visitors’ first impression of the town.
Existing businesses in the area will remain open throughout the 18-month construction scheme.
As well as supporting local business growth, stimulating prosperity and long-term economic investment, the project is evidence of the County Council delivering on its commitment to support the regeneration of Pembrokeshire’s county town, said Cllr Paul Miller.
“This is a clear example of us taking ownership for transforming our towns,” said Cllr Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture. “Obviously, the local authority cannot transform Haverfordwest town centre on its own, but together with our partners, we can.”
“Western Quayside is a really ambitious and positive project,” he added. “Not only will help drive footfall to the town, it will also support business growth and create an additional community hub. Moreover, at a time of such economic uncertainty, the need to help deliver economic uplift for Pembrokeshire has never been more crucial.”
The appointed contractors for the site, John Weaver Ltd, has been carrying out preliminary work, including installing perimeter fencing, ahead of the partial demolition of the rear of the building.
Site materials will be delivered via the Swan Square entrance between the normal working day times of 8am and 4.30pm during the scheme, and pedestrian access will be maintained from the Riverside area to Bridge Street via the footbridge and along the footway alongside the Friars.
The ‘Hole in the Wall’ car park has been closed to allow contractors to use it as a compound. Alternative parking is provided nearby.
Local Councillor Tom Tudor said the future for the town looked ‘very bright indeed’.
“As the County Councillor for the Castle Ward I welcome this news,” he said.
“Combined with other initiatives such as the new Castle Lake – Castle Square walk way link, I am very optimistic that Haverfordwest Town Centre will become a thriving commercial and residential location of choice with a resilient, vibrant community.”
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said:
“Our Transforming Towns Programme aims to increase vibrancy, resilience and footfall in our town centres and the redevelopment of the Ocky White department store will do just this.
“Regenerating this well-known building into a hub that will not only benefit local people but also provide a major boost for the town and local economy. I look forward to seeing how the work progresses.”
Cllr Paul Miller said Western Quayside is a key element of the town’s regeneration programme, which began with the opening of the successful Glan-yr-Afon library and cultural centre and will include the redevelopment of the town’s multi-storey car park, plans to enhance Haverfordwest Castle, and the acquisition of Riverside Shopping Centre.
“All these projects are designed to ensure that we as a local authority are playing our part in transforming the fortunes of Haverfordwest,” he said.