Representatives of Narberth Future Forum were given a presentation by the developers/architects of the town's former primary school, on both the overall design and the latest changes that had been made to them since its initial publication in April, at a meeting on Monday chaired by Pembrokeshire County Council's head of property.

Narberth Future Forum team, comprising representatives from Bloomfield, Chamber of Trade, food festival, forum community, PLANED, the playground/Scouts/Guides etc., reiterated their concerns about the proposed retail and residential development, on the grounds of reduction of parking, HGV and goods vehicle access, proposed retail offerings, community events and future long-term provisions.

The developer replied that with the remarking (lining) of the top car park and redesign of the old playground area, the net loss of parking spaces would be 27 from the existing 60-plus.

The forum pointed out that many of the remaining spaces would be taken up with the employees etc. of the new development and left little room for any future expansions in housing to the town.

The meeting was informed that delivery goods management on the site would be carried out by a site supervisor and thus would ensure that safety and organisation was at a premium.

It was stated by the chair that, whilst the original car park was included in the development boundary, this area was under licence and would always remain the property of the county council and that 'all' site parking, including the parking on the old school playground, would remain the remit of PCC's enforcement policy.

The forum took note of this in respect of the continuing 'Village Green' protection that they had established.

It is understood that an investigation into future car parking availability will be undertaken in the next few weeks by PCC and local representatives.

The developer admitted that the retail offering suggested in the planning application was not confirmed (apart from Sainsbury's), but had been submitted to cover any implicational contingency.

The forum again expressed dismay that there had been no meaningful consultation with the local community, apart from a presentation to the town council in April 2014. It was felt by the forum that the local knowledge and constructive comments available would have helped formulating the specifics of the project and expressed sadness that there had been no public meeting to explore any concerns.

FOOTNOTE: The application by Knox and Wells Ltd., Abbeymore Estates, is for demolition of the former school buildings and erection of a convenience food-store and non-food retail units, betting shop, cafe, hot food takeaway, day nursery and residential apartments, with associated car parking and delivery area, plus re-alignment of existing accesses, car parking and public space.

It is due to come before next Tuesday's planning and rights of way committee of Pembrokeshire County Council when it is recommended that the application be approved subject to the following conditions: time period for implementation, approved plans, construction management plan, landscaping, contamination mitigation, prior approval of mechanical extraction/ventilation units, ecological mitigation, external lighting strategy, programme of archaeological work and photographic survey, car and cycle parking provision/ implementation, minimum 14 residential units to be affordable housing (socialrental), details of public space, minimum seven units to be retail (including food-store), sample panels of materials, shop-front and balustrade details, environmental sustainability strategy, surface water drainage details, delivery of highway 'stopping-up' (if necessary).