Consultation feedback on future Pontypridd regeneration plans
Written by Gavin on 17th June 2022
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet will consider the feedback received in a recent consultation into the draft Pontypridd Placemaking Plan – and it could be adopted by the Council following residents’ positive response to its future projects and aims.
In February 2022, Cabinet agreed to seek residents’ views on the initial draft Plan, which outlines a vision for further regeneration in Pontypridd, following on from the existing Pontypridd Regeneration Framework (2017-2022). It aims to build upon the £115m investment since 2017, which has delivered Llys Cadwyn and Cwrt yr Orsaf, and progressed important schemes relating to the Pontypridd YMCA, Muni Arts Centre and Ynysangharad War Memorial Park.
The Plan identifies several core ambitions for Pontypridd – as a business destination, a great place to live, that it is connected and accessible, a green waterside town, a unique townscape, a cultural and social destination, and an inclusive and resilient town. It also includes five spatial areas to be the focus of targeted future investment – Southern Gateway, Town Centre Core, Market Quarter, Northern Gateway and Ynysangharad War Memorial Park.
Within the Southern Gateway, there are exciting plans to redevelop the former Bingo Hall and Angharad’s Nightclub site, as well as the Marks & Spencer (M&S), Dorothy Perkins and Burtons buildings (97-99a, 100-102 Taff Street).
Responses received in the consultation (March 1 to March 29)
A report to the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, June 22, summarises the consultation feedback, which was hosted on the Let’s Talk website. Two local public ‘drop-in’ events took place, while officers engaged with local businesses and organisations, held an exhibition at Pontypridd Library, and sent notifications to key stakeholders.
In total, 164 surveys, 135 ‘quick polls’ and 70 ‘ideas’ section contributions were received. Eight letters were also received, including from businesses, staff, Local Councillors, Pontypridd Town Council and the Pontypridd BID.
In relation to the spatial areas highlighted for future investment, the report states that 84.1% agreed with the vision for the Southern Gateway, along with 91.1% relating to the Town Centre Core, 78.3% for the Market Quarter, 73.3% for the Northern Gateway and 78.2% for Ynysangharad War Memorial Park.
A high majority of respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the Southern Gateway proposals – with 88.4% in favour of a hotel-led development and ground floor retail use at the former Bingo Hall/Angharad’s Nightclub site. Also, 90.9% and 89.7% of respondents were in favour of respective plans for the M&S and Dorothy Perkins/Burtons sites – which would be used to open the town towards the river using leisure, commercial and retail opportunities.
Finally, more than 70% of respondents thought the Plan would attract more people to visit, work and live in Pontypridd, and that the town and surrounding areas would benefit economically from it. The report concludes that the overall consultation response was very positive, clearly supporting implementation of the Plan. The Council will continue to engage with residents, businesses and wider stakeholders as the plan evolves and project ideas are further developed. A full breakdown of the consultation feedback has been included in Wednesday’s Cabinet report, which is available to view on the Council’s website.
Project update (Bingo Hall and M&S/Dorothy Perkins/Burtons sites)
The report also provides a progress update on the Southern Gateway area’s key projects. Cabinet agreed in February 2022 that a formal procurement exercise to secure a development partner for the Bingo Hall site should be progressed. Significant work has since been started to prepare the tender documentation – and the procurement exercise is likely to start in July.
Properties at 13-17 Sardis Road and 103-110 Taff Street were also acquired in March, via Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Programme. This provides an opportunity for more space to undertake the construction work, and officers are currently engaging with businesses in these properties.
In relation to the M&S and Dorothy Perkins/Burtons sites, Cabinet agreed in February 2022 that an application should be submitted to demolish the buildings. The Council is awaiting guidance on Welsh Government’s three-year funding programme and associated requirements before proceeding.
Preparatory work has continued, and a multi-disciplinary team led by Rhomco Consulting Ltd is appointed to progress survey and demolition design works. A detailed programme will be produced and reviewed over the coming weeks.
Councillor Mark Norris, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Prosperity, said:
“The Pontypridd Placemaking Plan outlines the Council’s future proposals to further invest in the town centre, on top of what has already been achieved since 2017 – which includes delivery of Llys Cadwyn, Cwrt yr Orsaf, and important progress on projects at the Pontypridd YMCA, Muni Arts Centre and Ynysangharad War Memorial Park.
“The Plan, considered by Cabinet earlier this year, sets goals for Pontypridd as a location, as well as identifying five areas for regeneration over the coming years. It includes major redevelopment projects for the southern end
of the town, with a proposed hotel-led development with ground floor retail at the former Bingo Hall site – and an opportunity to open the town towards the river using leisure, commercial and retail opportunities, using the former M&S and Burtons/Dorothy Perkins sites. These are very exciting times for Pontypridd!
“I’m pleased that so many residents, businesses and stakeholders got involved in the consultation held during March, with 370 responses received across the range of methods to take part. The officer report to Thursday’s Cabinet meeting highlights the very positive response to what is proposed by the Plan – from its aspirations for the town to the projects it is putting forward.
“Cabinet will take the opportunity to consider the next steps on Wednesday, to determine whether any amendments are required following the consultation – and Members could choose to formally approve the Plan. Officers will also provide an update on the procurement exercise for a development partner in relation to the Bingo Hall site, as well as the ongoing work relating to the demolition of the M&S buildings, and design of the future development.”