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St Davids: Backlash to Premier Inn plans from locals

‘An opportunity that should not be missed’: Applicants put plans on display in St Davids

PROPOSALS for a major hotel and affordable housing development in St Davids are to go on display this weekend (May 19–20).

The proposed development, which would be sited on land off Glasfryn Road, would feature a 63–bedroom Premier Inn and up to 75 new homes.

The applicants behind the project – St Davids Peninsular Community Land Trust, Swangate Developments and Pembrokeshire Housing Association – have suggested that the hotel would add to the town’s economy by increasing visitor accommodation choice and creating around 20 new jobs.

This aspect of the development however, has already come under fire from local residents and visitors, with an online petition titled ‘NO to Premier Inn in St Davids’ having reached nearly 700 signatures at the time of writing.

Those behind the project are encouraging local residents and businesses to attend the public exhibition at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre to learn more about the proposals and contribute to the public consultation, which is taking place ahead of a planning application being submitted.

The applicants intend to submit a planning application later this summer.

Bill Preece, who is leading the proposals for St Davids Community Land Trust, said: “Creating more than 70 new homes on Glasfryn Road is a significant opportunity for St Davids given the shortage of new and affordable homes in the area.

“We have been promoting the site for many years and now have a proposal that is achievable and will make a meaningful contribution to the local housing supply. It is an opportunity that should not be missed.”

The proposals for the housing development are said to include a combination of rented and affordable shared–equity housing, as well as open market properties.

Group Property Services Director at Pembrokeshire Housing Association, Nigel Sinnett, said: “Delivering affordable homes is a serious challenge in Pembrokeshire. With high land values it is often very difficult to make developments financially viable.

“The proposed mix of rented properties, shared equity homes and properties for private sale ensures the development can proceed and will bring much needed new homes on an allocated and accessible site. It will enable families to stay in the local area.”

Public opposition however, would appear firmly aimed at the Premier Inn aspect of the development, as opposed to the housing.

In raising concerns over how the hotel could ‘pave the way for more big chains’, which could destroy ‘independently run businesses’, a spokesperson for the ‘NoPi’ petition said: “Premier Inn won’t support local businesses, it will undermine them.

“The land being sold to Premier Inn is privately owned by someone outside of Pembrokeshire. None of the funds raised will go towards the housing, swimming pool, or back into the community.”

They continued: “Premier Inn are part of a large multinational company. This development could potentially pave the way for more big chains within our beautiful city, destroying independently run businesses and threatening our cultural identity.”

The spokesperson concludes by drawing on the Pembrokeshire National Park Local Development Plan 2010–2021, adding: “The City’s role as an attractive historic centre is protected and enhanced and the hotel and guest house accommodation is adequate to serve the needs of visitors.”

The proposed site is located to the north–west of Glasfryn Road.

According to the applicants, the Premier Inn would be positioned to the east of the site, facing onto Glasfryn Road and the A487, while the new homes would be located to the west and south.

Three accesses are proposed to the site, two from Glasfryn Road and one from the A487.

Acquisition Manager for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, Nick Johnston, stated that the proposed ‘lay out separates the hotel from the new homes’, while the elevations of the hotel have been ‘broken up […] to ensure it suits its surroundings’.

Representatives from the joint applicants, as well as Premier Inn and the ‘technical team’ will be present at the exhibition.

Exhibitions will take place on Friday (May 19) between 2pm and 7pm and on Saturday (May 20) between 10am and 2.30pm. Feedback forms will be available at the exhibition.

A further round of statutory consultation will follow once a planning application has been submitted to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Details of the plans are now available via the website, www.glasfrynroadplans.co.uk.

Feedback can be submitted via the online form or by emailing glasfrynroad@turley.co.uk. Alternatively, you can call 0808 168 8296.

The petition can be found here.