A POPULAR sea-front attraction in north Pembrokeshire has nine months to develop a business plan or face eviction.
There had been a proposal by Cllr Paul Miller that Goodwick’s Sea Trust and its Ocean Lab be given three years’ free rent while it develops “ambitious plans for developing a marine wildlife conservation centre.”
It was not paying rent to its previous landlords Conygar, which recently pulled out of plans to develop the marina area.
The cabinet member for Economy
The long term lease would provide stability for grant applications, he told the cabinet meeting.
However, Cllr Bob Kilmister, cabinet member for finance, said that the strategic asset management group had been clear that “notice to quit” should be issued to the Ocean Lab and the cafe immediately, and the building sold off.
He added that the current Sea Trust arrangements were unlikely to generate a commercial rent and that the current position be maintained until the end of the financial year while alternatives were discussed.
Working with the community was to be encouraged, said Cllr Kilmister, with the development of a suitable business plan expected within nine months, after which there would be no more “subsidy.”
“I personally cannot see any one group using that building and coming up with commercial rent. I could see the Sea Trust working with other groups to make that happen,” he added.
The cafe has a separate lease, which will also run until next April, and pays a commercial rent.
Support in developing the plan has been offered by the director of finance, Jon Haswell and from Planed, via Cllr Cris Tomos.
Cllr Miller said Sea Trust had a “fantastic offer” and there was potential to use the building to better effect and “expand beyond” adding, “I do think it’s worth exploring.”
Cabinet agreed Cllr Kilmister’s amendment to give Sea Trust until the end of the financial year to prepare a business plan, alone or with others, to generate commercial rent.
*Cliff Benson at the Sea Trust has been contacted but not spoken to yet*