Annual Stakeholder Meeting Q&A
Thank you to all those who joined us on the 24th July 2020 for our Annual Stakeholder Meeting. We were not able to address all the questions on the evening so have provided answers here. We have also, where relevant, expanded a little further on some of the questions addressed on the evening.
About the Port
Great to see more diversity on the MHPA board. Is there any more MHPA are doing to increase diversity?
We are committed to improving diversity at Board level and within the organisation. We recently signed a pledge with Maritime UK and are working with other maritime businesses to increase the number of women working in the maritime sector. We must ensure our environment is supportive and welcoming to everybody. We have also signed the 'Time to change Wales' mental health pledge.
Who has responsibility for sustainability and inclusion on your board?
Sustainability and inclusion are a core parts of our strategic intent and embedded in the culture of the organisation, and we are committed to improving diversity (see above). This is a shared responsibility led by both Chris Martin, our Chair, and Andy Jones, our CEO.
It would be nice to be able to ‘meet’ more board members, including the new ones. I’ve not been able to attend one of these before so not sure if there’s usually more there?
All our Board Members normally attend the Annual Stakeholder Meeting to meet and talk with everyone. We moved the meeting online this year to meet safety and social distancing requirements and this aspect was lost, though the other Board Members were in the audience. We’ll look at how we might address this issue in future.
Can you please give specific examples of how you have improved prosperity for the area?
A survey conducted in 2011 highlighted that the Waterway sustains 4,000 jobs in Pembrokeshire. Prosperity is more than just about money; it’s also about good health and wellbeing, a great environment, opportunities for the next generation, education and vibrant communities.
The real value of a port is the role it plays as an economic engine. Ports create infrastructure and services that attract a wide of industries; together they help strengthen regional prosperity.
Our stakeholders have repeatedly fed back to us via our stakeholder survey that they value the fact that the Port is a Trust Port. Being a Trust Port means that we have no shareholders and therefore all of our profits are reinvested back into the Port to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Port for future generations. We will continue to return value to our stakeholders primarily by operating a successful, profitable and expanding business, providing employment directly ourselves and through supporting other businesses and parts of the economy that make use of the 60 square miles of waterway for which we are responsible.
A great example of this can be seen with the arrival of LNG. For seven years we worked alongside the developers of South Hook LNG and Dragon LNG to plan, risk assess, and scenario test our port operations to ensure that this new era of development could operate safely at the Port. New industries bring benefits not only to the Port and the people directly employed at those facilities, but for the many other supporting businesses operating alongside the Port, such as tug operators and engineering companies.
We continue supporting our core operations but are also focused on laying the foundations for the next key prosperity boost through our flagship projects, Pembroke Dock Marine and Milford Waterfront. Again, we are providing the infrastructure for other businesses to thrive.
There is very little training available in Pembrokeshire for those wanting to work in port or terminal management, nor is there sufficient knowledge locally of the jobs that are available in this field. When jobs are advertised the job descriptions, specific requirements and qualifications limit local applications as the education/training is simply not available locally. Could MHPA please consider working with the local college / ICS / Lloyds maritime academy / BIFA to provide marine based qualifications?
We are keen to see more training and skills development in Pembrokeshire.
We have been collaborating with Pembrokeshire College; most recently to raise awareness of STEM related career opportunities associated with the marine energy industry. We also worked alongside them to develop the NVQ in Port Operations qualification for our employees.
We are also working with other ports and Maritime UK to highlight maritime roles and increase interest in the sector.
Part of the funding of Swansea Bay City Deal has been identified to support training and development across all the projects.
If a Freeport is established will you also retain your Trust Port status?
These are two very different things. We were established as a Trust Port in 1958 by an Act of Parliament and we are passionate about this status. It means we have no shareholders but instead have a range of stakeholders to whom we are accountable. For us at the Port, it’s a fundamental driver for what we do.
A freeport would be a different type of status that UK Government is looking at. Without going into too much detail, it’s commonly seen as being about tax status but it’s also about being a hub for innovation, accelerated planning and stimulating economic activity. It’s a way of moving some of the economic focus away from the South-East of both England and of Wales. We are well positioned in both regards and we are a great location for regeneration opportunities. We have natural resources to support the decarbonisation industry and solve some of the climate emergency issues and we have a fantastic supply chain that could support all of that. We think a free port is a great opportunity and whilst we have been advocating for it, the name is slightly misleading as it would sit beyond us as an entity and would rely on a range of stakeholders, including us, coming together to put forward a compelling bid to the UK Government.
Please can you consider remote access for future events post-COVID (this is the first time that I have attended is because it’s hard for me to get to evening events in particular in person)?
Yes. We have always tried to hold events that cover a range of times and dates but appreciate that a venue-based event is always going to have limitations for some. We are looking at using this online medium more in the future.
Are you considering installing more solar panels on your properties to enhance the ESG agenda? This would be a cheaper way of really improving your carbon footprint.
We have over 2,900 solar panels across our buildings and just under 20,000 at Liddeston Ridge. While some of the harvested energy is used by us, operationally, the majority is exported to the grid. Our strategy is increasingly focusing on how we can use more of the electricity the solar panels generate. This has supported converting some of our heating systems to heat pumps and supported involvement in the piSCES project and other technology and energy system innovations. Such initiatives are working to ensure more of the excess generation is used to benefit the Port and its tenants.
We have also dramatically reduced ourcarbon footprint in 2019 by investing in a new biomass heating system for our headquarters, and by switching to a renewable-only energy supplier - we also anticipate that the adoption of modern information technology and more online working practices will have made a further substantial reduction in 2020 as our transport emissions will be much less. While there are some aspects of the business that are very difficult to decarbonise at present, we have formed an emissions working group to identify potential reductions, and to arrange for the offsetting of residual carbon emissions over and above out levels of renewable energy generation. This is something that we take very seriously, and we are proud of the role that national infrastructure plays in reducing carbon emissions from the supply chain.
What plans do MHPA have for the land on the western side of Castle Pill, near Milford? Have they considered working in cooperation with the owners of the land on the east side of the pill (Newton Noyes) in developing infrastructure like that being proposed for Pembroke Dockyard?
In relation to Ward’s Yard, we are currently looking at the potential for development in line with the local development plan but there are no imminent plans for this land at present. Unfortunately, it would not be appropriate for the type of development proposed within Pembroke Port.
We are always keen to talk with the major waterway landowners to see how we can collaborate and help strengthen the region’s prosperity.
Could we have these (online Q&A) events on a quarterly basis?
We can certainly look at increasing the number. We do also have the Port Advisory Committee with twice yearly meetings. Attendance has typically been low, but we are finding that the online format is improving that. The Advisory Committee membership features representatives from a range of stakeholder groups, so it’s not open to everyone, but the Town Councils of Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock are represented, as are the local community.
How does the port plan to support young people within the community in the short term after this crisis.
We are keen to hear other ideas on how else we could support young people.
As part of our community outreach programme, we will work in partnership with local organisations to deliver projects for young people. A great example of this is the Under the Bridge project which has been successfully delivered in partnership with Milford Youth Matters and Milford Haven Town Council for several years and has attracted some prestigious awards too.
We will also continue to run our Scholarship Scheme. We have opportunities for 4 or 5 students to join us on a placement working on a specific project and mentored by one of our colleagues. It’s a joy to see them grow during their time with us and we will continue to support this initiative.
How does the port plan to support young people and vocational training in the long term.
We are focused on creating more opportunities on our doorstep so that school leavers can choose a career in Pembrokeshire. It’s such a core driver for us that both Chris Martin, our Chair, and Andy Jones, our Chief Executive, are Board Members at Pembrokeshire College in their own personal capacity and we have supported other members of staff to sit on the Governing Bodies at local schools.
We see significant opportunities in the marine energy industry and at a STEM event held just before lockdown we took students through a series of experiments and workshops to see how a career in marine energy might unfold. It’s a particularly exciting time for the industry as innovation is critical and the problems they solve will have a bearing globally as we fight to find a way to decarbonise our planet. You can find out more at STEM.
We hope that the new hotel and conference and events venue will provide opportunities for students studying in the tourism and hospitality industry as well.
We also welcome applications from students looking to complete work experience at the Port.
How will you involve the community in generating ideas and projects for the future of the Port?
Every year we undertake a Stakeholder Survey which provides everyone with an opportunity to feed in ideas.
As people who live and work locally, a number of senior staff members make themselves available to attend as many community groups and forums as possible, and we often have requests from organisations who wish to visit the Port or who invite us to make a presentation at one of their meetings. We always welcome these opportunities.
We also have a Port Advisory Committee which, whilst not open to everyone, does have membership which ensures that all stakeholders are represented.
Our door is always open, too. If anyone has any ideas for improving prosperity in the area, we’d love to hear them.
How can people apply to become part of the [Port Advisory] committee?
In accordance with the Milford Haven Conservancy Act 1983, we are required to maintain an Advisory Committee in connection with the discharge of the Board’s functions and the use of the Haven. The Committee meets twice a year and, while not open to all, does include nominated representatives from identified stakeholder groups. You can find details about membership here https://www.mhpa.co.uk/advisory-committee/.
Really pleased to hear talk of a Sense of Place project for Pembroke Dock, that is something we have been floating as part of the Town Team’s EU LEADER funded PD Tourism Study.
We’d be happy to explore the possibilities of a Sense of Place initiative in Pembroke Dock.
What amount of financial support, or support in kind, does MHPA give to charities within the communities around the Haven? Related Question: Regarding the question about the amount of money that MHPA has given to local charities over the last two years, It would be good to have a more accurate figure. The CEO said that it was about £100,000, which if to 1 significant figure, could be between £50,000 and £150,000 – quite a range. To the nearest thousand would give a better idea. Also, in the reply the CEO overlooked saying what support is given to charities in the form of leases etc. Some information about this over the last two years would be helpful too. Related Question: In 2019 you made 2.8 million pounds profit. You donated £100,000 pounds to charity. What happened to the rest?
We allocated around £100,000 towards additional community benefit in 2019 which was spent via a mix of direct charitable donations via our Community Fund, and through investment in projects such as our Scholarship Scheme, Under the Bridge, WAVE and Would you Jump etc.
As a Trust Port our primary obligation is to reinvest profits in the fabric of the Port to secure its long-term future. Examples of such investments are pilot boats, the simulator suite, navigation aids, lock gates, and facilities for fishermen at Milford Docks. We also invest our profits in developments that will create future opportunities. For example we are investing £13.5m at Pembroke Dock which will, alongside additional EU and Swansea Bay City Deal funding, lay the foundations for a new era of renewable energy and engineering activity around the Waterway which we fully expect to create and sustain more well-paid jobs in Pembrokeshire.
We took the decision some years ago to move away from subsidised leases. This enables us to more effectively work with local charities who may not be tenants of ours. Rental agreements to charities are as commercially sensitive as those to businesses and it would not be appropriate for us to comment on individual agreements.
What support are you giving to developing Tourism in Pembroke Dock? Related Question: What is MHPA's response to my proposal that the western side of Pembroke Dock dockyard be developed as a Maritime Heritage tourist attraction?
Ports are vital assets for us as an island nation. They are key economic engines that can, with correct investment, secure long-term growth for the coastal communities. We have an important role to play in supporting the Pembrokeshire economy, so we really need to ensure we are using our assets in the most efficient way.
Our primary investments ensure we can deliver our waterway operations. Then in Milford Haven, our investments focus on creating a vibrant destination around our associated assets: leisure marina, waterside land, retail units (tenanted by food and beverage and independent traders). Our assets are completely different in Pembroke Dock and are limited to the Port environment, so that is where we invest.
It is important to remember that being a Trust Port does not mean we are able to hand out unlimited financial donations. We are governed by an Act of Parliament and the UK Government’s Department for Transport have published governance guidance for all statutory harbour authorities whether they be privately owned, local authority owned, or trust ports, like Milford Haven. Both our Acts and this guidance from DfT stipulate that we must operate on a commercial basis. Whilst we have greater flexibility in how we invest and can take a longer-term view on investments, we do have to make a profit so that we can continue to fulfil our obligation to maintain and improve the Port for future generations.
Our response to the proposal is unchanged from when it was first presented in 2017. We have adapted our proposed developments to minimise impact, but also to consider how we might better contribute to the town’s story while also helping build the strongest possible future. We are looking into technologies that can help with this and have also introduced more practical changes when possible. For example, we have left in place the seaward facing features creating an opportunity for heritage boat tours. Similarly, we hope to bring some of the Sense of Place activity to Pembroke Dock to celebrate the town’s past and its future.
We see a real opportunity here to celebrate our past but, crucially, to create real career opportunities for the next generation.
How are the Port paying for the tourist attractions that are being developed in the town of Milford Haven? We are struggling to understand exactly how much money the Port is investing in tourism in the Town of Milford. How much has/will it cost to build the Floatel Cabins and the proposed Hotel and where is this money coming from? Additional Question: We have been told that the Port allows the Waterfront Gallery free use of the Old Sail Loft. Is this true? How many other arrangements such as this does The Port have with other organisations and how much do these arrangements cost the Port in lost revenue? We have been told that the Port allows the Waterfront Gallery free use of the Old Sail Loft. Is this true? How many other arrangements such as this does The Port have with other organisations and how much do these arrangements cost the Port in lost revenue?
All of the Port’s investments are made out of retained profits ultimately, but we will access public and bank funding just like any other business. These investments are made on a commercial basis and need to generate a return so that any profit can be once again reinvested for the benefit of Pembrokeshire.
Both Pembroke Dock Marine and Milford Waterfront are attracting similar levels of investment from the Port, but Pembroke Dock Marine has attracted significantly greater public funding.
We also leverage opportunities from third parties. Great examples are the Pembrokeshire County Council organised and funded Fish Festival and Milford Haven Round Table Fireworks display.
With regards to the Floatel Cabins, while the exact figures are commercially confidential, they were part funded by the Coastal Communities Fund and the proposed hotel is being developed on a commercial basis.
The assumption about the Waterfront Gallery is incorrect. Like all property, we receive a market rent, which is confidential in nature.
I watched 30 kids jumping off Hakin Point last week and 20 off the slip below Foam. What is MHPA doing to stop tombstoning? Related Question: Tombstoning - how about a project co-produced with the kids who are doing it? Involve them in the decision making process. additional related question: There isn't a great deal for youth to do in the areas in question - they need to do something outside at the moment and are short on places to go - is there a development opportunity that the Port could look at there?
For many years we have worked in partnership with Milford Youth Matters, Dyfed Powys Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue, the RNLI and the Coastguard to educate young people about the dangers of tombstoning. Our WAVE and Would you Jump initiatives have always involved young people in the decision-making process by creating opportunities for role play, script writing and acting to help them discover for themselves the consequences of their actions. Would you Jump has received funding from Arts and Business, won prestigious awards, and is highly regarded as a community sustainability project.
However, we recognise that tombstoning remains a serious issue, and it’s one we can’t manage alone. The whole community needs to come together to find a solution. We’ll talk further with Milford Haven Town Council to see if there is a way to solve this as a community and would like to work with Pembroke Dock Town Council and community to address the issue there too.
Given the very low levels of crude tankers, has this impacted the revenue for 2020?
Yes, and it’s not just crude tankers. The Covid crisis has had an impact on all hydrocarbons (people haven’t been driving or flying) so that’s hit this industry hard.
On a more positive note, gas activity has remained buoyant with both South Hook LNG and Dragon LNG remaining busy over the first half of the year.
All our employees are considered critical workers and have continued to work throughout the pandemic to ensure we can, collectively, keep the UK’s supplies moving.
Pembroke Port and Pembroke Dock Ferry Terminal
Does MHPA have any plans regarding the former Commodore Hotel in Pembroke Dockyard, including the building's paddock? Related comment: It was heartening to hear the CEO say that MHPA would support any attempt to restore/renovate The Commodore in Pembroke Dockyard. I also understand that as MHPA do not own the property, they are unable to do anything about the condition it is in at the moment. The Commodore Trust is beginning to see a way through the quandary that the property – an important part of the heritage of Pembroke Dock – presents. The Commodore Trust would welcome the opportunity to discuss possibilities with Andy Jones that would ensure a secure future for the building as a community asset for the residents of Pembroke Dock.
We do not own the Commodore Hotel.
We did work with the community, PCC and National Museum of the Royal Navy last year on a Heritage Horizons Fund application to buy and develop the space. Demand for the fund was high and our bid was unsuccessful. Our team remain engaged with the Trust and are always happy to discuss opportunities.
We’d be interested in exploring similar opportunities in the future. We have a strong track record in redeveloping and repurposing heritage buildings; the Oakham building in Pembroke Dock is a great example. We are also in the process of developing the annexes attached to the Sunderland Hangars, and Quay Stores in Milford Haven.
We do own the adjacent land (to the west). This land is included in the planning application for the infrastructure changes at Pembroke Dock. We propose clearing the area and restoring some sections of the Paddock around a light fabrication facility /space.
What alternative vessels can use PDFT?
Maintaining our rigorous service standards for Irish Ferries, twice daily service to Rosslare is our priority.
We have identified windows that could comfortably accommodate vessels to make additional use of the terminal’s 185m berth with 7.6m control depth and a two tier linkspan.
Is the plan to ship waste out from Pembroke Port still on the cards? What does this do for Pembroke Dock’s sense of identity?
We obtained a licence to deal with a range of possible commercial opportunities. There is nothing imminent but if something did start to come forward, we’d be engaging with the town council and local community to highlight that.
We recognise our responsibility to attract more cargoes. We need to ensure we manage that in a way that fits our plans
What happened previously, under a different licensee, is not something we would want to see repeated.
Are you looking / planning to re route the roads out of the ferry freight yard?
No, we have no plans to re-route the roads out of the ferry freight yard.
How many vessels have used the deep-water berth on the eastern side of Pembroke Dockyard over the last 10 years? Name, Company or Agent, port of origin, destination port subsequent to un-berthing, dates/times, cargo transferred (if possible and not commercially sensitive) would be very helpful.
We are at about 50% capacity and we are looking at new opportunities to increase that. It’s easy to think that this area might provide the deployment solutions that Pembroke Dock Marine will deliver. However, we’ve worked closely with the marine energy industry and know that over the quay deployment is a significantly more expensive and weather dependent option for large scale devices. We even experienced it first hand with the DeltaStream deployment. As the industry matures, devices will get larger so a more reliable and cost effective land to sea interface will be critical. It also means that we can continue to deliver the needs of our existing customers at Quay 1.
Pembroke Dock Marine
What projects will PDM and the City Deal help deliver?
Pembroke Dock Marine, a £60m Swansea Bay City Deal project part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, will build the facilities and spaces needed by the marine energy and engineering industries. The project’s priority is to provide operational efficiency and innovation opportunities for the wave, tide and floating wind industries. It will also have wider reach providing services to other maritime industries. It’s a major initiative for Pembrokeshire and comes at a good time as we seek to secure economic growth post-Covid.
At the Port, this means the creation of flat, open laydown spaces and a deep-water slipway. Our partners, Marine Energy Wales, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Wave Hub will bring test sites for component and scale devices, an innovation and research centre, and an offshore demonstration site for full size and array wave, tide and floating wind devices.
Developers, such as Bombora and Marine Power Systems, are already here - attracted by the energy source, the excellence of the supply chain and the promise of what’s to come. Additional investment, for example Milford Haven Energy Kingdom, has also started to flow and we look forward to working with our partners and Pembrokeshire County Council to ensure we maximise the positive impact for Pembrokeshire and the Swansea Bay City Region.
Floating wind in the Celtic Sea could be a significant opportunity for the region. What is the port doing to support these plans?
With floating wind identified as one of the key solutions for decarbonisation, we are proud to be involved with its growth and to secure jobs and economic growth for Pembrokeshire.
Whilst we recognise the significant opportunity with floating wind, the sheer scale of devices does present some challenges for us and indeed all ports in the southwest.
Pembroke Dock Marine, in creating the infrastructure, facilities and innovation support outlined above, will pay an important role in helping this sector reach its full potential. It will also support the growth of the wave and tidal sectors which offer real opportunities for co-location energy generation with floating offshore wind devices.
We are also investigating Free Port possibilities and believe this may create opportunities for businesses such as Blue Gem.
What infrastructure investment do you feel is further needed to ensure the continued and future success of the Milford Haven Port and the Pembroke Dock Marine Project development?
A quick look around the world at recent port developments demonstrates the requirement for large, open, flat spaces with good access to deep water. Our work with the industry is highlighting this need too.
Our involvement in the Milford Haven: Energy Kingdom and South Wales Industrial Cluster is looking to unlock opportunities in hydrogen and carbon capture and utilisation. Both could pave the way to helping maintain the activity within the waterway for many generations.
Floating wind is currently uneconomic at current full installation prices. Do you think that we can make the structures cheap enough for them to prosper?
This is where the value of Pembroke Dock Marine lies. The project is built upon learnt experience by industry, our partner ORE Catapult grew up supporting innovation and growth in the offshore wind sector. That industry was once seen in the same light as marine energy – too expensive, but innovation and operational efficiency drove down costs and made it a very cost-efficient energy source. We anticipate the same learning curve, if not better, on this coast with the floating wind industry especially as turbines get larger. All the partners are focused on driving down the costs.
To find out more about the floating wind sector (or any marine energy technology type) we encourage people to visit Marine Energy Wales.
You clearly have a focus on marine energy which is great, what are you doing to help increase engagement with young people with this industry? eg. education in stem, careers advice on marine renewables. Would be great to retain young people in the area!
At a STEM event earlier this year just before lockdown, students learnt about the opportunities associated with the marine energy industry. There’s a wide range of career opportunities and we have produced (alongside Coastal Communities Acting Together, Pembrokeshire College, Marine Energy Wales, ORE Catapult, Mainstay Marine and Bombora) a guide to help showcase the types of careers. The guide can be found here. The marine energy industry is at an exceptionally exciting time with the chance to innovate and make a real difference, not just here in Pembrokeshire, but globally. That’s a rare opportunity and we are exceptionally proud to be helping drive this change. This is also not just about school leavers, there will be wide ranging opportunities that will benefit the entire community.
How can local supply chain companies get involved in the PDM project? How/when can we hear more about PDM?
We are working to finalise all the funding streams which are agreed in principle. From our perspective, this now positions us at the start line. In order to deliver on time, we had simultaneously, and at risk, been proceeding with planning. As you can imagine, for a project this size there have been extensive discussions including the Pre-Application Consultation process and an Environmental Impact Assessment.
We are very focused on how to ensure money impacts the local economy.
As for supply chain opportunities, there are two types of opportunity presented here. The first is the planning and build phase. The second is the opportunities presented by the marine energy industry itself. We will be engaging much more over the coming months and look forward to working with the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone’s Business Interaction Group on meet the buyer type events.
How does MHPA feel about the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders in the development of Pembroke Dock Marine?
Under our Act of Parliament, we do have the ability to acquire land if it’s needed to carry out our statutory function. However, Compulsory Purchase is and always has been something that we’d only want to progress as a matter of last resort.
We are in active discussions with the affected landowners and businesses on a regular basis and appreciate their patience, especially in response to ongoing delays which have been out of our control. With funding approval and planning submissions now further advanced, we do want to accelerate those discussions to give clarity to all parties and we encourage those landowners to keep working with us to find a solution.
Unfortunately, we can’t relocate the port or Pembroke Dock Marine anywhere else and any decision, no matter how difficult, will always be taken in response to what is in the best long term interest for the Waterway and communities in and around the Haven.
Might you be able to put the pre-application information back up on your website. This would give an idea of what is intended, even if not up to date. (An apology: A slight misunderstanding during the ASM meant this question was not addressed correctly.)
We recently underwent a Pre-Application Consultation phase. Whilst it isn’t a legal requirement to consult with non-statutory consultees, we wanted the planning process to be as thorough as possible, mindful of the impact on the community, and therefore chose to engage with local community groups and the wider community.
The papers were on our website during the pre-application phase and were removed after the end of the consultation period so that we could address any issues raised.
We will, however, display the pre-application documents on our website again until the updated documents are available (which will be when we submit for full planning permission). The PAC documents can be found here: https://www.mhpa.co.uk/pembroke-port-developments/
We recognise that we have a considerable body of work ahead to demonstrate the benefits of the project to the community and be clear about any impacts. You can expect to hear a lot more in the coming months.
Where can members of the local community obtain detailed information about which buildings will be changed and where new ones will be built in the Pembroke Dock Marine development?
Information regarding the proposed demolition of buildings and other changes was available on our website whilst we undertook a pre-application consultation as part of the planning process. This has now been removed as the pre-application consultation period has ended.
We will, however, display this information again for stakeholders to view, bearing in mind it will now be slightly out of date as we will have made changes based on feedback from the consultation. The PAC documents can be found here: https://www.mhpa.co.uk/pembroke-port-developments/
The next stage in the planning process is to apply for outline planning consent. When we do this, we will update our website to display the updated documents.
Our outline planning application documents will seek to consent new large-scale fabrication sheds. However, these buildings will not form part of the funded works and will be built on a commercial basis when an appropriate commercial contract is secured and detailed planning permission is granted. The planning documents depict the largest possible buildings which would be considered the most extreme case, visually, in terms of any environmental impact.
We are separately undertaking a £4m heritage renovation project to renovate the annexes to the two Sunderland Hangars. This work has already been consented and will create modern, mixed use office facilities with light fabrication space, breathing a new lease of life into buildings that are at threat in an area that is more publicly accessible.
Milford Fish Docks
If Britain is unable to agree a deal with Europe over Brexit, and we get the nation's waters back, what plans have you made to retreat Britain’s fishing industry since Milford is ideally placed to seize this opportunity? Related Question: Why not buy fishing boats to train people to be the fishing industry of the future?
We are conscious of the issue but are not necessarily able to impact the situation. We are monitoring the situation closely in terms of what policy might look like in Westminster and Cardiff. We continue to invest in the facilities at Milford Fish Docks for current and new customers.
We will continue to work with the local Fishing Associations, Seafish and Welsh Government to support the development and education of current and future fishers.
The water supply to the pontoons is not good. The water supply to the boat yard is diabolical, both in terms of capacity and pressure. In the Spring trying to run a pressure washer at the bottom of the Eastern yard (where my boat always ends up) is very difficult as the pressure keeps causing stops due to starvation of water. If anybody else draws water further up the pipe then water drops to a trickle and work is impossible. Bearing in mind that in Spring everyone is mostly working on their boats at the same time this means a very frustrating experience. I would respectfully suggest that a 15mm distribution pipe throughout is vastly inadequate.
You are right. We are aware that there is low water pressure at the Boatyard and have been working with Welsh Water to understand how they might be able to improve that - both for our berth holders and with future developments in mind. So, there’s definitely work to be done here and we’ll keep you and berth holders updated as things progress.
What background research have you done to show that a 100 bedroom hotel will prosper in Milford, given that most of the other hotels are up for sale in Milford?
Currently less than 10% of visitors to Pembrokeshire come to Milford Haven. We want to change that. A key part of this will be the new hotel which will complement the rest of Milford Haven’s accommodation offer, ensuring the town can provide ‘something for everyone’. By providing a wide range of accommodation types, we can attract new visitors, and the more people that stay here, the more they will spend locally.
We also know from firsthand conversations with our suppliers and visitors that hotel rooms can be difficult to find in Milford Haven, and indeed across Pembrokeshire during the busy season. We have been working with hotel industry experts to assess the opportunity and both us, and the commercial operator we are in discussions with, are confident that demand will support the investment we are making.
You have had 100,000 visitors in 2019. How does this compare with previous years?
This is an 18% increase in visitor numbers since 2016.
2019 was a spectacular year for activities around the Waterfront and it was heartwarming to see so many people enjoying themselves – and so many new faces. We had great plans for more of the same in 2020, but like everyone else in the country and around the world, we’ve had to halt. We’ll have to keep adapting and working with the businesses around the Waterfront to find ways to keep visitors safe. We are all learning here, and hope we see a return to ‘normal’ as soon as possible.
Could not more have been done to assist the tenants on the Waterfront? A rent reduction would be beneficial to ensure they remain open. In this terrible period we should be helping each other.
We are very aware that these are challenging times for small, local businesses and have been in regular dialogue with those that are tenants of ours since the beginning of lockdown at the end of March. We offered all our tenants at the Waterfront a three-month rent holiday. Many of them were also eligible for financial support from the Government and we have assisted by signposting them to this. In addition, we have given our tenants with charitable status (such as Paul Sartori and PATCH) a rent- free period.
We are aware that in some cases, despite a rent-holiday period and financial support from the Government, some businesses will still struggle. We have made it very clear to our tenants that we are open to further discussions to consider what additional support we may be able to offer, and these decisions are taken on a case by case basis.
Covid-19 is also having a financial impact on the Port. With global demand for fuel substantially lower, as we all travel less and businesses have shut down, shipping activity at the Port has substantially reduced. We are fully expecting this to hit our bottom line this year.
During all of this uncertainty, our primary concern was, and still is, for the welfare and safety of our staff and their families.
We are, however, committed to playing our part in the economic development of Pembrokeshire and through our substantial investments in Milford Waterfront and Pembroke Dock Marine we see massive opportunities for job creation and supply chain resilience. Despite the uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought, we remain focused on delivering these projects for the benefit of everyone living and working in Pembrokeshire, and most importantly for our future generations.
how profitable have the Floatel Cabins in the marina been since their installation.
We are proud to have had the awards from Visit Wales commending the Floatel Cabins accommodation. They got off to a great start in 2019 but have, like all tourism facilities, been restricted as a result of Covid-19. We are seeing increased interest now that things are opening up again, with August and September looking positive.
More importantly, the Floatel Cabins play a key role in rounding out the Milford Waterfront proposition and giving more reasons to new audiences to come and stay in Milford Haven.
How is the Port addressing the ongoing issue of visitor parking on the Waterfront as all efforts to attract tourists, visitors and businesses to the area will face a huge challenge. Late in 2019, the businesses on Milford Waterfront were assured by senior members of staff within the Port that parking was being addressed and that a comprehensive "Parking Plan" would alleviate the challenges we were facing. Nearly 12 months later we have yet to see any of these plans come to fruition. Many of our customers have been issued with ridiculously over-priced parking fines, disabled and elderly visitors cannot park anywhere near the shops or businesses they are wanting to visit and the signposted free parking on Mackerel Quay is full by lunchtime on a sunny day and if you do find a space you run the risk of a broken ankle when you fall or trip over one of the many potholes. We were promised 20 additional short-stay spaces outside the current Boat Yard, these have not been delivered. There is now talk of a nominal parking charge when they are created. Anyone who has followed the decline of the Great British High Street will tell you that parking restrictions and charges are detrimental to the attraction, retention and growth of operators and customers. Mary Portas' review for the Government in 2018 highlighted parking charges as the number one cause of people choosing to shop out of town or online. Why are the Port not seriously dealing with this massive problem and engaging with Waterfront business operators who continue to offer serious solutions which are ignored?
We are disappointed to hear you do not feel we are not taking the issue seriously. There’s been extensive engagement between the team that run the Waterfront and the businesses there, but if you are feeling ignored, we collectively need to do more to ensure we hear each other’s views.
We are aware that there are some problems in relation to parking around Milford Waterfront and finding the right solution is on our mind. Many of the spaces around the buildings are restricted use, belonging to the businesses and tenants who live and work there, and we fully support that.
There is already free parking for 3 hours in the space between Martha’s and the Spinnaker Café, 1-hour free parking for berth holders next to the marina office and unlimited free parking along Mackerel Quay. We do recognise though that the quality of that area could be improved.
We do want to find a solution to parking concerns and have started discussions with stakeholders on the principle of introducing nominal parking charges for new or upgraded parking facilities. The feedback we have had to date has been supportive of this idea. As a Trust Port we are required to act on a commercial basis. The provision of parking could reach considerable sums of money and we have therefore had to consider the idea of recouping some of these costs. Having said that, we have no immediate plans to introduce parking charges but do keep this under review.
The works in relation to the additional 20 spaces in the boat yard have been delayed as a result of Covid but are still planned. The planning and drainage consenting processes take time.
We see parking as a dynamic process that will need to develop as our plans develop. Indeed, around 70 spaces will be created before hotel occupation. You can be assured it will certainly form part of our planning consents as we move forward.