PREMIER Inn’s planning application to build a hotel on the outskirts of St David’s continues to divide the community.

The three-part application consists of: Premier Inn – a hotel; Pembrokeshire Housing Association – social housing; and the St David’s Community Land Trust (CLT) – a mixture of open market homes and affordable and shared equity homes.

Profits from the sale of open market houses are intended to be used to provide initial funding towards a new swimming pool near the secondary school. The planning authority has requested that the three parties submit a joint application for them to consider as a package.

I support Premier Inn’s application because it has the potential to provide jobs, to extend the tourist season and to provide further business, mainly through conference facilities, for many firms in the area, such as outdoor activities and places like the Bug Farm.

Furthermore, the hotel could provide the training and career development because of the hotel’s status as one of a chain where people could experience training in St David’s and other locations also.

It has been suggested that everyone in St David’s is against the advent of the hotel.

This is simply not true but many people have faced derision and intimidation from those opposed to the hotel and do not wish to show themselves openly.

The No to Premier Inn (NOPI) campaign, which is largely organised and funded by business owners with a vested interest in the outcome, takes the view that the Premier Inn will damage business. They are entitled to this view but it is far from being the view of all. Parties on either side of the argument should be allowed to voice their viewpoint without fear and should make their feelings known to the planning authority in the normal manner when it consults on the application.

NOPI’s pressure on the CLT board to withdraw their part of the joint application is unwise and dangerous. In all likelihood, if the CLT part of the application is withdrawn, it will not deter Premier Inn and a national housing construction company could swoop in and purchase the land.

The resulting build would not achieve the affordable and shared equity homes we so desperately need and all hope of generating income to provide funding towards a new pool would disappear forever.

It is heartening to see the energy and enthusiasm for their business stakes that the NOPI group display. It is, however, a pity they are doing this in a direct effort to reduce rather than improve St David’s and that this is against the will of all those who do not display NOPi signs in their windows.