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Caerphilly’s new container-style market sets to be permanent fixture

Ffos Caerphilly Market (credit: Stride Architectural Design)

CAERPHILLY’S new container-style market will be a permanent fixture in the town centre.

The £4.6 million market already had temporary planning permission for up to five years, but following a  planning committee meeting on Wednesday June 14, it now has permanent permission.

Construction on the market – which will have a mix of shops, restaurants, bars and offices – began last month, and it is expected to open in the autumn.

Six people had contacted the council with concerns about the market, which included a lack of community engagement, a focus on food and drink, and a loss of “public realm”.

At the meeting on Wednesday June 14, Plaid Cymru councillor James Fussell criticised the application and described it as “premature”.

Cllr Fussell, who represents the St Martins ward, questioned why a permanent planning application had been submitted so soon after a temporary application had been approved.

Deputy leader of the council, Cllr Jamie Pritchard, said Plaid Cymru were “bang out of tune with public opinion”.

Resident Chris Brimble also spoke against the application and criticised the design of the market.

Mr Brimble, who is an architect, said the development was “dated and carbon intensive” and goes against the council’s placemaking and climate change policies.

Another objector wrote to the council and criticised the boundary of the market. They described it as “an unwelcoming 12 foot fortress fence” and said it will be “antisocial and visually unappealing”.

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Ffos Caerphilly Market (credit: Stride Architectural Design)

Douglas McGlynn, the council’s placemaking officer, defended the development and said the fact the container market is different means it will have its own identity within Caerphilly.

He added that the market is open to everyone and this is demonstrated by it being accessed from the high street and Dafydd Williams park.

Cllr Pritchard spoke in support of the application at the meeting. He said the new market would “boost employment, create regeneration, drive footfall and add a significant shot in the arm to the local economy”.

The market is part of the council’s Caerphilly 2035 masterplan, which aims to regenerate and transform the town centre.

The application was approved with 71% of planning committee members in favour, 14% against, and 14% abstaining.

Funding for the development is split between the council (£1.25 million), the Welsh Government (£2.69m) and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (£700,000).

What will the market look like?

According to the design and access statement, Caerphilly County Borough Council is aiming for a set-up similar to Goodsheds in Barry.

As customers enter the market from Cardiff Road they will be faced with shops on their left, a bar area in the middle and seating to their right.

The application states: “The ‘street’ of retail units to the left will have suspended ‘bus-stop’ style signage, creating an exciting and engaging scene, advertising the range and variety of retails on offer.”

Food and drink stations will be located on the upper floor, with covered seating. Additionally, four of the containers will be used as office spaces aimed at start-up businesses.

The roof of the market is proposed to have a range of finishes including a green roof blanket, which will catch rain water, a canopy, and container roof.

Ffos Caerphilly Market (credit: Stride Architectural Design)

External space for pop-up stalls is also included in the plans, which would be used during events such as the Big Cheese or the annual Christmas market.

According to the plans the most important part of the development is “maximising its presence” on Cardiff Road – this will be done by a visually enticing entrance.

Linc Cymru and the council have informal plans to demolish the existing Caerphilly Indoor Market building on Pentrebane Street and replace it with flats.