Home » What’s the latest with major Pontypridd town centre redevelopments?
Politics Rhondda Cynon Taf South Wales

What’s the latest with major Pontypridd town centre redevelopments?

The former Pontypridd Bingo Hall site could now be developed into an open space and bus bays after the idea of a hotel became “unviable.”

At a cabinet meeting on Monday, May 15, councillors will hear about the progress made on the Southern Gateway projects that are part of the Pontypridd Placemaking Plan.

These include the former M&S, Dorothy Perkins and Burtons buildings and the former bingo hall and Angharad’s nightclub site.

On the former bingo hall and Angharad’s nightclub site, the council report said that due to the recent and considerable downturn of the economy, the high inflation rate and general cost of living rises, the proposed hotel development for the site has become “unviable.”

While the hotel proposal was supported in a consultation on the Pontypridd Placemaking Plan last year, the idea of the site being developed as an open space that expands the high street and potentially improves air quality was also raised, the council said.

Other options are now being considered for the potential to create a high-quality public realm on the site, the council added.

The council is proposing to use a small section of the site to create a two-bay bus lay-by opposite the railway station to improve access at the southern end of the town.

The council said there is also an opportunity to better integrate bus and rail journeys – particularly with the number of train journeys arriving in Pontypridd due to significantly increase with the South Wales Metro.

The council said that the bus bays would potentially require large structural changes to the former bingo hall site.

The council bid for Cardiff Capital Region Transport Authority funding available in 2022/23 to develop the proposals and the council has also submitted a regional bid for £930,000 funding to Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund, to continue design work and start project delivery in 2023/2024.

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The council said it has previously announced its riverside plaza vision for the site of the vacant buildings at 97-99a and 100-102 Taff Street which were home to M&S, Dorothy Perkins and Burtons

The council said that the development provides an opportunity to improve the public realm and open the town towards the river – with the potential for leisure, commercial and retail use.

Welsh Government has approved £1.283m funding to demolish the buildings,
with the grant being 70% of the cost.

A demolition contractor has been appointed and preparatory work started on site at the end of March 2023 with the main demolition phase planned to start in June with the aim of completion by the winter.

The council said that the development will create better connections between the high street and riverside, open up views of the park, and include suitable infrastructure for pop-up markets and street food outlets.

It said that there will be a much-improved approach to the park, while the development will also add protection from future flood events where possible.

Councillor Mark Norris, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s cabinet member for development and prosperity, said: “Cabinet will receive an important progress update on the major regeneration projects earmarked for Pontypridd Town Centre, to revitalise strategic sites at Taff Street and further boost trade for businesses.

“The Southern Gateway vision is outlined in the Pontypridd Placemaking Plan, which received positive feedback from the public last year.

“We are now entering very exciting times for the project at the M&S, Dorothy Perkins and Burtons buildings. The demolition phase will start this summer following funding approval by Welsh Government, and the buildings’ removal will open up the town towards the river for the first time.

“We’ll then be able to really visualise the proposed development, and the positive effect it will have on the town. A design proposal for the final development is being progressed.

“For the former Bingo Hall site, the Council’s revised plan contains two main elements. Firstly, it is proposed that the majority of the site is used to create a high-quality, open public space to expand and enhance the southern area of the town.

“This suggestion received a lot of support in last year’s consultation, and officers are now developing options to deliver a project of this nature.

“The second element is a proposed new bus layby opposite the train station. This would vastly increase access to this end of the town centre, and positive discussions were held with Transport for Wales over improving integration between local bus and train services – particularly in anticipation of 24 train journeys passing through Pontypridd every hour via the South Wales Metro.

“It is also important to add that the need for hotel space in Pontypridd is still recognised, despite the Council now not pursuing the hotel-led development. Officers will continue to work with the private sector and partners over an alternative provision, which will focus on existing town centre buildings.”