"It is important for us to be ambitious; it’s even more important when the future success of Pembrokeshire depends on the changes we are driving to deliver."
That’s the view of Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire’s Cabinet Member for Econony, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, who has made unequivocal his commitment that Pembrokeshire County Council will spearhead a programme of widespread regeneration across the county.
The splendour of Pembrokeshire, its celebrated beaches and its spectacular National Park coastline – the only one of its kind in the UK – cannot be questioned. To many, it is place of unparalleled beauty and the 4.2 million tourists per year are testament to a destination that consistently draws and delights visitors from all over the UK and abroad. But the notion of Pembrokeshire as a modern business hub that is ripe for investment and development, allied with home-grown, dynamic talent ready to realise this ambition has not been a conversation on many people’s lips…until now.
‘The Regeneration of our County is long overdue. It is my commitment to get the wheels of progress turning in a way that the public are able to see and believe in,’ said Cllr Miller. ‘There has been significant change already during my time as a Cabinet Member, but I accept that’s not been very visible to date. We are perhaps, only now, beginning to see tangible progress but I am absolutely determined we build momentum around a programme that will create exciting, lasting change for Pembrokeshire. I am ambitious about what our county can be and our vision is based on an realisable agenda for regeneration that creates jobs and a thriving region in rural west Wales.’
Though Haverfordwest and Pembroke will be priorities for the town-centre regeneration programme, the public will benefit from projects throughout the whole of Pembrokeshire.
Pembrokeshire County Council’s proposals for Haverfordwest will look to re-establish the county town as a destination of choice for residents, tourists and business, providing an attractive proposition for investment. A number of ‘flagship’ projects are now tabled and the first phase of this work has already delivered Glan-yr-afon/The Riverside, a new library, tourist centre and gallery which has brought a 10% increase in town centre footfall since opening earlier this year.
Amongst a number of other exciting schemes nearing fruition, phase two of the Riverside project – the redevelopment of the former Ocky White department store building – is now at an advanced stage. There is now the required political appetite alongside a robust business case to see these projects assist in repositioning Haverfordwest as an exciting place to work, live and build a business.
With rail and road infrastructure strategies well underway, alongside a desire for highspeed fibre broadband throughout the county, Cllr Miller talks candidly of a mission to make Pembrokeshire ‘the best connected rural county in the UK.’
Plans for the redevelopment of South Quay in Pembroke are beginning to come together and the decision on the appointment of the architects for the scheme will be made imminently. While Cllr Miller is careful to acknowledge that progress will be measured on results, he is determined that the next few years will demonstrate a sea change in Pembrokeshire’s drive towards regeneration and he is clear about how he sees this being realised:
‘We’re going to show some leadership and that’s going to prove the catalyst for bringing partners, investors and businesses to the County. With connectivity at the heart of our programme we are going to invite the nation to embrace the attractive possibility of living and working in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Pembrokeshire is a dynamic, connected, ambitious place and we’re open for business!’