THE FACE of Bridgend County Borough will continue to change this year, due to a number of major developments which have been recently submitted or approved by the local council.
The area based in south east Wales between the boroughs of Neath Port Talbot and the Vale of Glamorgan, is known across the country for its mix of valley and coastal landscapes, as well as it’s vibrant towns and people.
However, there are a number of plans that could change many parts of this thriving community over the course of 2024, with a series of planning and regeneration projects currently in the pipe-line.
From schools and housing, to leisure facilities and large scale refurbishments, here are some of the stand out plans that could go-ahead in Bridgend County Borough over the course of 2024 and beyond.
Porthcawl’s sea-front regeneration
One of the biggest development projects set to continue in Bridgend in 2024 is the on-going regeneration of Porthcawl’s sea-front area, which residents say could change the face of the town as we know it.
While we may only see the completion of a new Cosy Corner development, along with the town’s new bus station based on John Street this year, the wider regeneration site in the seaside town includes land at Sandy Bay and Griffin Park, as well as a site now leased by the Welsh Government which includes the town’s Coney Beach amusement park.
If given the go-ahead by council bosses, these long-term plans could see the area transformed, with a mixed-use development that would involve the creation of around 900 homes, a new school and road system, along with retail commercial, and leisure opportunities.
These would also feature plans for a 200m-long seafront park that runs the length of Salt Lake adjacent to the eastern esplanade, a public plaza at the top end of Salt Lake, and a new promenade in Coney Beach as part of the council’s ongoing flood defence scheme.
Maesteg Town Hall
While the work has already started to refurbish Maesteg’s famous town hall and return it to its former glory, it has still not been completed due to a number of structural issues discovered within the building.
It has led to a delay in completion to the plans, first approved in 2019, as well as an uplift in cost of contract to almost £10 million.
However, with a budget increase approved in November of 2023 for work to treat sections of structural dry rot, officers say they hope the Grade II-listed building, will now be completed some time in 2024.
Once up and running the newly finished town hall is set to be a focal point in the Maesteg community, featuring a new glass atrium, studio theatre and cinema space, as well as a café and mezzanine bar, with heritage centre and even a library. It will also feature original works from one of Wales’ most famous artists, Christopher Williams.
Bridgend town centre
Bridgend town centre will also see its share of development work this year, with the demolition of the former police station and car park in Cheapside, in order to create a new multi-million campus for Bridgend college.
The project, which was approved by the local council in 2023, will see the creation of a modern college campus which features amenities such as classrooms, IT suites, multi-purpose studios, catering kitchens, hair and beauty salons, dance studios, and performance areas.
There would also be a 250-seat theatre alongside a café as well as cycle storage.
Meanwhile, the eyesores that were the former Ranch chip shop and Welcome to Town pub in Nolton Street are also being ripped down, with plans to merge the two derelict buildings into a brand new restaurant.
As well as the regeneration of a number of popular buildings, there are also a number of housing developments planned across the wider Bridgend area.
In Bridgend town, the site of the former water board offices in Bridgend could be demolished to make way for two blocks of 65 apartments, along with the creation of a 28-home development near Cwm Felin.
Plans for 201 houses at a site near Maesteg will also go before the council’s planning committee, to seek approval for the large scale development, as well as the creation of 20 flats on land at the former Bettws Social Club, and a potential 70 house development on a former railways site at Waunscil Avenue.
Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion
Plans for an £18 million refurbishment of Porthcawl’s iconic Grand Pavilion have also advanced, with a search for contractors to work on the project starting at the end of 2023.
The scheme could see the development of new facilities at the Grade II-listed building, including function spaces on the Esplanade level, along with new rooftop function and café spaces.
There would also be a new studio theatre, business incubation or workshop spaces at the street level, and increased welfare facilities including a changing places facility.
While the refurbishment is not expected to be completed until 2026, after an extension of contract from the UK Government’s levelling up team who funded the project, the building is expected to close early in 2024 ahead of the start of works later this year.
A number of school developments across the borough could begin in 2024, namely in the Cornelly area in form of an English-medium primary school in Marlas, as well as another Welsh-medium primary school to replace Ysgol Y Ferch o’r Sger.
There are also proposals to build a new 420 placed primary school in the village of Kenfig Hill, and to expand Coety Primary School from 420 to 525 places for pupils aged between 4 and 11-years-old.
Y Bryn Windfarm
Proposals to create the UK’s highest onshore turbines to the backdrop of a semi-rural community between Port Talbot and Maesteg, are still waiting for consideration form the Welsh Government.
Despite facing a massive backlash from residents in both Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot, the plans could see the construction of the tallest turbines in the UK, measuring between 206 and 230 metres, and up to 250 metres to tip- along with turbine foundations, external transformer housings, control building and compound, and a battery/energy storage facility.
Approaching the height of London’s Shard skyscraper, which is 310 metres tall, the plans have been designed by Coriolis Energy and the Electricity Supply Board (ESB). Coriolis has said the turbines would be of benefit and have no significant effect on the environment or wildlife.
Police training facility in Pencoed
Plans for a new tactical training facility near Pencoed have been approved by Bridgend Council’s planning committee, after being submitted by South Wales Police.
The site, based on land at the border of Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taf, would be made up of a two and three-storey building with offices, classrooms and warehouses, as well as an indoor firing range and tactical training area.
The facility will replace an existing one at Waterton Industrial Estate, Bridgend, which is no longer fit for purpose, and will be used for the training of officers of police constabularies in Wales and throughout the UK.