As you know this has been a labour of love for all the team here. Closing is the last thing we wanted to do and it has been difficult to say the least. I would like to put a few rumours to rest and answer a couple of the questions.
We haven’t stopped because of Cadw. For our part Cadw, the authority on scheduled ancient monuments, have from the beginning been supportive and helpful at all times. They have been a pleasure to work with.
Pembrokeshire County Council, Tenby Town Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Planning have been difficult. Our battles have been well publicised but we haven’t stopped because of the National Park and Planning. Due to other factors outside of our control we have taken the hard decision to hand back the application and let it expire. It is the case that as of the 13th of September the planning application that took six years to complete becomes completely void. This unfortunately leaves the island in a position where it cannot be used for any purpose until a new application is agreed. If it was to be used, it would be subject to planning enforcement as spelt out by the planning inspector. As you can see we have had no choice but to close due to the application becoming void. The plan wasn’t to stop but in the midst of all the hard work, we have been faced with increasing risks and Health and Safety concerns. These risks have now become so significant that there is currently no foreseeable way forward for the project while we are in leasehold terms. That said, if we could ever find a way, we are all agreed that we would love to finish what we started.
We have recently seen the articles in the press about the island reopening and are keen to see how they propose to deal with the health and safety issues when they submit their new planning application. We suspect that no experts have yet been employed to assess the rapidly deteriorating situation and the issues at hand. It is very disappointing but we wouldn’t expect to see the island open for number of years now due to the work required and the planning to be gained.
A number of you have said you miss the flag pole. To explain, we had to take it down before leaving due to the sheer weight of the pole. Whilst we were there to manage it we could perform regular safety checks on the new restraint. The historic brackets were unable to support the pole and with the new restraint we were able to lower the pole in high winds. If it was to break free on its own it would cause significant damage to the building and people below.
For anyone with a serious interest in developing the property we have ten years of historical research some of which we will be sharing here in the next months. We also have a comprehensive understanding of the property and its issues not to mention extraordinarily detailed plans. With the huge investment we have made into the property we will be happy to help serious parties with progressing any future plans please feel free to get in touch.