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Bridgend town centre looking up following completion of landmark Rhiw Development

12 January 2018

A multi-million-pound project aimed at kick-starting the regeneration of Bridgend town centre has been officially opened by Rebecca Evans AM, the Minister for Housing and Regeneration.

The landmark Rhiw Gateway development features a modern multi-storey car park, 28 apartments with dedicated parking, and will soon include a health club on the ground floor.

The £10m project has been funded with around £5.7m from the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places programme, along with contributions from Coastal Housing Group, Bridgend County Borough Council and a Social Housing Grant.

Bridgend was one of 18 communities across Wales to receive a share of the Vibrant and Viable Places funding pot, which aims to generate economic growth by encouraging people to live within town centres, increase shopper numbers and inspire businesses to be more innovative.

Hailing the landmark Rhiw development as “an excellent example of what can be achieved through collaboration”, the Minister added: “I’m delighted to officially open the Rhiw Gateway development. The Welsh Government is committed to supporting our town centres and increasing the provision of affordable housing, and this investment provides a fantastic mix of apartments and facilities that will attract people to spend their time and money in the centre of Bridgend.”

The Rhiw development has been completed in three stages. The modern 242 space car park opened in November 2016, with residents then moving into the adjoining ‘Cwrt Yr Afon’ apartments in November 2017.

The finishing touches have since been put to the ground floor commercial unit, where fitness franchise ‘Snap Fitness’ will open its doors later this month.

Welcoming the completion of the project, Councillor Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education said: “The Vibrant and Viable Places programme funding offered us a chance to not only replace the old run-down car park, but also work with Coastal Housing to fulfil our vision of creating a vibrant community of professionals living in affordable housing within the heart of the town centre who use local shops and help support the night-time economy.

“As the council does not own any shops or commercial premises within Bridgend town centre, instead we focus our efforts on developing the shopping and business environment, and this development will provide a significant boost for the town.”

Gareth Davies, Director of Development for Coastal Housing said: “The opening of the Rhiw marks an important milestone for Bridgend, setting the precedent for further investments and improvements to come to the town centre. The development’s opening marks the beginning of an ambitious and promising future for Bridgend and we’re proud to be involved in reviving the fortunes of the town.”

Council Leader Huw David said: “The Rhiw Gateway project stands as a striking example of partnership working and joint investment, and I would like to thank all of our partners who have worked together on the scheme, including the Welsh Government, Coastal Housing Group, Pick Everard and Kier.

“This complex project has taken some time to complete, so I would also like to thank local traders and residents for their patience and co-operation during periods of unavoidable disruption.

“Many town centres across the country have faced tough times in recent years due to the economic climate and changing shopping habits, but we are determined to continue to do everything in our power to regenerate Bridgend town centre so that it meets the current and future needs of the local community and visitors.

Councillor David added: “In addition to the Rhiw development, elsewhere in the town centre the Townscape Heritage Initiative has enabled us to work extensively with building owners to bring empty, run-down buildings back into use as homes and shops.

“The redevelopment of the former Victoria Inn into what is now The Corvo Lounge on Adare Street is an outstanding example of that particular scheme in action. We also welcome the work of Coastal Housing on their project which is taking shape on the site of the old McDonald’s building.

“The combination of all these developments will make a major contribution to improving the town centre, both economically and socially.”

Shoppers are reminded that the first two hours of parking at the Rhiw multi-storey car park are free until the end of March. 

Last Updated: 15/01/2018
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