Event space proposal for Pontypridd Park to be considered
Written by Gavin on 10th May 2023
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet will consider a proposal to create a dedicated green space to provide more options to host larger events at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park – having identified a suitable location that currently has no formal use, and that can be better used to improve the park’s visitor offer.
The new event space could be created at the large grass area next to the Llys Cadwyn bridge access to the Pontypridd park. The area was previously used as a pitch-and-putt golf course and later a footgolf course – and its current condition has little value for alternative use due to the undulating surface.
The Council can categorically deny the rumours being circulated that a car park is being planned for the park.
The proposal is for the upper plateau of the old golf course to be flattened with soft landscaping to make it a more useable green space and provide an additional option for the park to host major events. Small footways would be created to improve accessibility, along with seating areas. Every effort would be made to maximise green space and additional tree planting would be considered where appropriate.
On Monday, May 15, Cabinet will discuss a report that outlines the proposal, presenting concept designs and identifying a potential external funding opportunity that the Council could bid for. Members could agree to the proposal being further developed, and for a formal funding bid to be submitted to Welsh Government’s Visit Wales Brilliant Basics Programme.
The proposal has recently been considered by the Ynysangharad War Memorial Park Cabinet Sub-Committee (at its meeting in March 2023) as well as the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (in March 2023).
Councillor Mark Norris, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Prosperity, said:
“Ynysangharad War Memorial Park is a wonderful landmark much-loved by residents in Pontypridd and visitors from further afield, and regularly hosts a range of events held by the Council and other organisations. Our annual events include the Big Welsh Bite, Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and Remembrance Parade and Service – and establishing an event space would provide a dedicated area within the park for such events, allowing more people to enjoy what’s on offer.
“The proposals would also provide local communities with a useable green space and would help reduce disruption to regular users of the park when an event is taking place. There is an identified opportunity via Visit Wales to receive grant funding to establish the event space. Cabinet will consider all of these factors on May 15, and will decide whether to progress the proposals.
“At the centre of what is being proposed is understanding the importance of maintaining the area as a green space, and to protect the ecology of the area, with our Climate Change responsibilities firmly in mind. The detailed design phase would thoroughly consider preserving the environment where possible, and identify suitable mitigation measures such as additional tree planting where it is not possible.
“The Cabinet report that will be considered on Monday notes that the space could potentially be completed by the summer season of 2024, if the design and tendering process gets underway this summer. These timescales would also align with the appropriate planting seasons, as the area of the new event space would need to be re-seeded following initial landscaping work.”
Visit Wales has invited the Council to submit a formal bid to its Brilliant Basics Fund. It is considered that the event space proposals for Ynysangharad War Memorial Park would meet the fund’s objectives – including investment in infrastructure, supporting tourism and encouraging clean, green destinations.
The Fund offers grants of up to £300,000 with a maximum intervention rate of 80%. The event space is estimated to cost £249,000, and the Council could use existing Regeneration investment budgets to match any grant funding.
If agreed, the improved space would complement the significant improvements that have recently been delivered at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park. This has included a £1.199m investment by the Valleys Regional Park that upgraded footpaths and lighting, and introduced a changing place facility at Lido Ponty.
Work is also progressing on a separate £1.9m project to refurbish the park’s bandstand and sunken garden, create a new training and activity centre, install interpretation panels, and host events to promote local heritage. This is being delivered via the National Lottery Heritage Fund with contributions from the Council and the Transforming Towns initiative by Welsh Government.