The age old adage of the Local Authority using Tenby as a ‘cash cow’ to fill the Council’s ‘coffers’ - has resurfaced, with fingers once again being pointed at Pembrokeshire County Council for a lack of investment in infrastructure for the local community - leaving the seaside town looking somewhat tired and rundown.

A proposal that went before members of Tenby Town Council at their meeting this month on April 2, to install an observation ‘Big Wheel’ around the harbour - similar to one that has recently been introduced on Mumbles Pier, was met with mostly disdain on social media by locals and visitors alike.

With many believing that the idea was an April Fool’s joke, a day too late (despite councillors agreeing to accept the operators - Studts’ Events’ offer of a meeting to discuss the idea in more depth) the story sparked a backlash, leading to a debate online, with many highlighting more important matters that should take precedence for the community, and directing their frustration at the powers that be at Pembrokeshire Council.

Tenby barrier
Patched up parts of Tenby still remain, despite calls last summer that many picturesque areas were in danger of becoming an eyesore. (Observer pic.)

“I would say Tenby needs a little more than a big wheel!” remarked harbour boatman Joeseph Thomas on Facebook in venting his anger towards the Local Authority.

“For a town that’s meant to be the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ - it’s never looked so poor. The total lack of investment from Pembrokeshire County Council is almost criminal, all the while they continue to use it as a ‘cash cow’.

“You only need to open your eyes a little to see the sorry state that the town has become. A little more than rough around the edges, the lack of investment has opened up cracks in the town that can no longer be touched up!

“Bins overflowing, weeds everywhere, a ‘Welcome to Tenby’ sign in a sorry state. Gumfreston consistently flooding, harbour walls being held together with rotting wood, the sluice in a dangerous state.

“A Harbour becoming less and less usable on small tides. A golf course that will unlikely be there in the not to distant future, due the erosion of the South Beach.

“All the beaches becoming dumping grounds for raw sewage every time it rains as Dŵr Cymru are no longer held to account,” continued Mr Thomas who caused a stir last year when his video showing ‘rats the size of cats’ around picturesque Castle Hill went viral, making national news, forcing the County Council into finally taking action to address the matter, with many fearing that extensive tunnelling under one of the coastal cliffs overlooking the resort’s popular Castle Beach would become unstable if the rodents continued to be left to burrow into the rocks.

Tenby sluice
'Harbour walls being held together with rotting wood' and 'the sluice in a dangerous state' (Observer pic)

Mr Thomas went onto list other factors that needed addressing in Tenby, such as the need for a new secondary school to replace the Greenhill building; a new leisure centre facility to match others across the county; and an improved multi-storey to replace that on Park Road.

“There’s a multi-storey car park only suitable for cars built before 1970, any car built after this and you’ll have to exit the vehicle through the boot!” he continued.

“We have a secondary school not fit for purpose, with the majority of students bused in from outside Tenby.

“It only makes sense for a new school to be built outside of the town. Use the land for social housing and put a covenant on them.

“We have a leisure centre that’s an absolute joke compared to the rest of the county, with more leaks than a sieve and a car park ideal for a darts team, unless you fancy a bit of off roading.

“Again, build a new Leisure Centre just outside the town and next to a new secondary school like other county towns that are fit for purpose, and again use the land for housing.”

“A multi-storey car park only suitable for cars built before 1970, any car built after this and you’ll have to exit the vehicle through the boot!”

His comments came days before it was announced that funding had been agreed to build a new all-weather sports pitch on the site of Tenby’s Greenhill secondary school, with the new facility to be used by students in the day, and be available for the local community to use at evenings, weekends and in school holidays.

“It’s only the local businesses that seem to be keeping the town afloat and looking in good shape. But even these are being pushed out slowly!” stated Mr Thomas.

“It’s not only the visitors who miss out, it’s the locals and local businesses as well, the people who work here, not so much live in the town these days...those who pay our taxes and rates and are increasing getting dissatisfied and disillusioned with PCC.

“Unfortunately the town is in need of a bit more that a few willing volunteers. Major investment is needed from PCC, which they seem to constantly and consistently overlook.

“However, PCC’s solution will be to squeeze the town more,” added Mr Thomas.

Tenby leisure centre
“A leisure centre that’s an absolute joke compared to the rest of the county, with more leaks than a sieve” (Observer pic)

The thread struck a chord with other locals on Facebook, in light of Council tax in Pembrokeshire rising to 12.5% from this month, with head coach of Tenby Sharks Boxing Club Mark Davies concurring with Mr Thomas’ views, and sharing his frustrations too, not just with regards to a lack of investment in Tenby, but across other community areas around the county too.

“When there are people that are so passionate about our towns it pains me to see such logical, and let's be honest, quite achievable measures that would improve the towns for locals and visitors alike being totally ignored. It makes you wonder why we even have a County Council?” remarked the boxing coach.

“We need fresh thinking locals that have the interests of the county in these positions, not greedy career driven dinosaurs that can't think past their own incentives to do things.

“I say it all the time...we need bright young independents running in the local elections. We need to vote in those independents and disrupt the system from the bottom, up - as those at the top have already sold out.

“It comes to something when the best work done locally is more often than not done by volunteers.

Clicketts Tenby floods
Consistent flooding around Gumfreston and The Clicketts has failed to be addressed (Observer pic)

“The Town Council should write a manifesto of problems and solutions for the County Council in representation of the people and then everyone in the town, businesses included, should refuse to pay Council Tax and business rates until they are sorted.

“It's our money, it's our county, it's our future! Until we stand together we will keep having our pants pulled down by these idiots that care about nothing but their wage every month,” he added.

Such views echo those of County Councillor for Tenby’s North Ward Cllr Michael Williams, who aimed criticism last year at the Local Authority he represents, over neglect of towns and communities across Pembrokeshire, asking if “anyone cares?”

Tenby Golf Club
“A golf course that will unlikely be there in the not to distant future, due the erosion of the South Beach” (Stock image)

“With the threat of the removal of a basic service, such as public conveniences, we rapidly resemble a third world country; and in Tenby, we appear to fail to deliver the most basic public services, and this is the responsibility of Pembrokeshire County Council,” remarked Cllr Williams.

Senior Pembrokeshire councillors have admitted in recent months that the County Council is facing its worst-ever financial position, with Pembrokeshire currently facing a projected funding gap of £31.9m.