THE recently scrapped HS2 rail scheme was cited in a call to abandon plans for Haverfordwest’s “unwanted” ‘Instagram-friendly’ bridge.
The call was made at the October 12 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, following a submitted question on the costs of the town’s planned ‘signature’ bridge, the central feature of a ‘Cultural Corridor,’ part of the ‘Heart of Pembrokeshire’ levelling-up regeneration project in the town.
Councillor Alan Dennison asked: “Can the Deputy Leader [Cllr Paul Miller] confirm the total costing for the proposed footbridge from the Argos side of the riverside to the Ocky White?”
Responding to Cllr Dennison’s question, Cllr Paul Miller said confidential information on costs relating to the ongoing final stages of tendering for the project could be provided to him rather than being provided in a public forum.
In a supplementary question, Cllr Dennison compared the bridge to the controversial HS2 rail scheme.
“Rumours on social media have put it [the bridge] at many millions of pounds; that’s not confidential, that’s in the open.
“Does the deputy leader agree with the majority of this county – and the UK – that scrapping HS2 up north was absolutely the right thing to do, and seize the opportunity to do the same with this unwanted reassuringly expensive ‘instagrammable’ bridge replacement, and divert the Pembrokeshire County Council funding element to keeping open the public toilets which are destined to close from November onwards.”
Cllr Miller responded: “Do I accept that Cllr Dennison speaks for everyone in Pembrokeshire? No.
“Cllr Dennison’s brand of politics has a very niche following that I’m pleased not to be part of.
“Do I think that cancelling HS2 was a good thing? No.
“I think the Tories have got that horribly, horribly wrong; they’ve spent billions on consultancy fees and the bit that people actually want built – the railway line – they are now not going to do.
“In terms of cancelling this project, I have no intention whatsoever in doing that.”
Haverfordwest’s proposed ‘signature’ bridge was recommend to be approved by planners earlier this month, but the application was deferred as there were not enough members of the planning committee present.
The design of the new bridge has previously been labelled an ‘Instagrammable’ bridge by Councillor Rhys Jordan during a discussion on costs.