If you’re in need of entertainment and amusement at the expense of others (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) might I suggest a visit to Whitesands Bay Car Park.

Locate yourself by the slipway at the bottom of the car park, sit back, and wait for the fun to begin. It all starts as soon as some hapless surfer or bather with bare feet sets off across the car park – within a couple of footsteps they’ll be hopping and jigging around like a madman at a Pogues concert.

How you’ll laugh as they vainly attempt to negotiate hundreds of thousands of tiny, needle sharp pieces of grit, which is otherwise known as the new surface of Whitesands Car Park.

That said it will be neither new nor a surface for very long. In their infinite wisdom the powers that be at Pembrokeshire County Council elected – in true Pembrokeshire fashion – to go for the cheapest possible option when the road through the car park was recently resurfaced, an option that clings to the Tarmac it’s set in like a sausage clings to a Teflon pan, and the majority of which will soon be washed out to sea thanks to the combination of heavy rain, strong winds and storm waves which assault the car park on a regular basis.

It seems the glorious leaders on the council neglected to take the vagaries of the Pembrokeshire weather into account when protecting the communal purse with the cheap/crap option.

They also neglected to consider the visitor experience; sure, it might be a bit of a laugh to watch barefoot surfers and bathers hopping, cursing and swearing as they make their way to and from the beach, but the laugh will be on the other side of their faces when visitors not unreasonably decide “Feck that, the surf is shite anyway, so I’m buggered if I’m going to lacerate my feet getting to it; I’m off to Newgale”.

Then there’s the melting tar factor to take into account. On those rare occasions that the sun shines and the temperature at Whitesands gets into double digits the large gaps where the grit has lifted from the Tarmac tend to melt; this then gets onto your feet, your feet get onto your surfboard, the tar gets onto the board, you lie on your board and the tar gets onto your wetsuit.

It also gets onto children’s feet and hands, dog paws, cars and bikes and anything else that has the misfortune to pass across the surface of the car park.

And that’s not all. The council is also guilty of child and youth cruelty with this decision to use the cheap option to surface the car park. I was reliably informed by local entrepreneur and pillar of the community Nick Sime of Ma Simes’ World Famous Surf Emporium that “My son can no longer skateboard down the car park on this stuff”.

What kind of society treats its young people in this thoughtless manner? It’s no wonder they all end up stuck in front of computer screens when there’s nowhere for them to enjoy healthy activities like skateboarding.

It’s surely the birthright of any red-blooded young fella to be able to skateboard on a nice, smooth surface in his local car park, at the same time annoying adults and stirring dogs into a frenzy. This alone is a total abrogation of responsibilities on behalf of the council.

As for the ‘visitor experience’ of having to tip-toe across shards of pin sharp grit to get to the beach – I can only assume the council’s view is “Bollocks to ‘em…”


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