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School Site Group Unveil Plans

The community-based consortium, which has successfully bid to develop the old primary school in Narberth, has revealed its plans for the site.

The group comprises The Friends of Narberth Old School – headed by local Town Councillor Sue Rees – supported by local business people Simon and Gina Palmer – owners of the town’s Spar store – and Andrew and Janice Rees of Andrew Rees Butchers.

The consortium says its objective is to save the Victorian building from demolition and to provide space for community use.

This includes relocating Narberth library to the site and installing modern toilets with disabled facilities.

It is also planned to build new retail units around a central courtyard with the aim of attracting new businesses, building on Narberth`s reputation as a centre for high quality, independent shops.

The school playground  – currently used as an overflow car park – will be retained by Pembrokeshire County Council as much needed parking for the town.

The news has been welcomed by Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Paul Miller.

“I’m delighted we’ve been able to offer the Narberth community the opportunity to take forward this development site” said Councillor Miller.

“The site is a gateway to the very special town of Narberth and I’m certain the consortium will develop the site in a way which further enhances the standing of Narberth’s as a unique Pembrokeshire destination.”

Local County Councillor Vic Dennis also expressed his support for the project.

“I am delighted that the main building fronting Moorfield Road will now receive its much overdue restoration and redevelopment

“The scheme also offers the best of both solutions having private investors with a successful track record in Narberth and community interest for which Narberth is renowned.

“I wish the consortium well and offer my support for the creative solution that they plan for this site. This is really good news for the town.”

Simon Palmer said the consortium was proud and honoured to have been chosen as the preferred developer and thanked the County Council for the opportunity.

He added: “We are committed to saving the much-loved Victorian building which is an iconic and recognised feature of Narberth. Our proposal is to integrate this historic building with stylish retail units set around a central courtyard.”

Andrew Rees explained that after ten years of not knowing what would become of the old school, the announcement would boost the confidence of all Narberth businesses planning for the future.

He went on: “We are looking forward to the development and intend to ensure it extends the high street thereby enhancing the shopping experience which our lovely town is renowned for.

“We are confident that this project will strengthen the town and encourage more people to come and visit in order to shop, eat and enjoy one of the truly independent high streets left.”

Town Councillor Sue Rees predicted the school building would remain an iconic part of the Narberth  landscape and an integral part of the community.

She said: “Thanks to the passion of local people, the foresight of our local investors and the new thinking in the County Council, I think the community is finally going to get the plan that they have always wanted for the old school building.”