St Catherine’s island fort to re-open to the public
After being closed for decades St Catherine’s island fort is going to re-open to the public.
Plans have been approved by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park planning committee because of the economic benefit that the tourist attraction would bring from people staying in B&B’s and holiday cottages in Tenby.
The new plans propose that the fort is to be restored and a nature walk is added to the island along with boat landings and shops according to this BBC article.
The plans were spoken of ahead of their approval in this previous article and many locals and business owners will be encouraged by the news of the plans moving forward.
The fort is a Tenby landmark and has had various uses throughout its life. It was a marine fort between 1868 and 1870, built to protect Milford Haven. It was then decommissioned as a fort in the early 1900s and was turned into a private dwelling but was brought back to military use in World War Two. In a very large step away from its roots it then became a zoo between 1968 and 1978 but has since stood empty.
It is now a scheduled ancient monument and a Grade Two listed building, therefore plans for restoration will have to be undertaken under strict regulations in order to keep the integrity of the original building. There are expected to also be a number of other conditions put in place before any work on the island as a whole begins.
There was a petition of support that had 838 signatures that helped the plans get approved, despite some opposition from the Lexden Terrace Conservation Group, whose properties overlook the island.
Concerns have also been raised regarding a footbridge to connect the island to the mainland, which opponents have said will destroy the dramatic views of Tenby. The application implied that a bridge will be needed but doesn’t specifically mention it.