Back in January 2019 the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, announced £2.2 million for 23 projects across Wales, to improve the visitor experience and develop “high quality destinations”. Tenby, Marloes and Broad Haven were to be among the county’s tourist hot spots to receive part of a £323,000 funding boost, of which Pembrokeshire County Council would receive £128,000 to replace the Tenby Harbour sluice entrance stop logs with an electronically-controlled gate that could be easily opened on demand. This would extend the operating season and create a year-round harbour excursion offer.
The sluice was originally built in the early 17th century to store water at high tide which could then be released as the tide went out to scour out any build-up of sand and debris from the harbour. Since then it has been rebuilt a number of times, notably in 1763 when the landward side was built to make a wharf to unload ships. It retains some old features such as the three blocked arches which originally allowed boats under Sleeman’s Stores, now Tenby Sailing Club, to unload goods. The sluice is listed Grade 11 as an unusual harbour feature.
The stop logs do a useful job but the outer wall is not strong enough to hold water at high tide as it was originally designed to do. They also provide some shelter during the winter for some boats from Northerly winds and tides. However, many boatmen choose not to use it as there is insufficient protection from the flow of water created on an incoming tide; this water could cause boats to slam against the sluice walls.
There are also other developments mooted for the sluice area. Mr. Jim Cornwall’s, secretary of Tenby Sailing Club, understanding of the situation is that permission has been granted to cover one third of the sluice starting from the Mayors Slip. The ribs and dinghies that are currently housed at that end would be moved onto the covered area. The sailing club is also still in negotiations with the PCC about extending the balcony above the sluice thus enjoying the evening sunshine.
Nothing appears to have progressed since the beginning of the year ……………