Council continues to tackle empty properties in Bridgend town centre
Posted on: Tuesday 09 May 2023
With much resource invested into programmes to renovate and revive vacant and underutilised properties in the town, Bridgend County Borough Council continues to address the issue of empty commercial properties with a multi strategy approach.
A range of buildings in town centres across the county borough, are shining examples of successful town centre projects.
The Townscape Heritage Initiative scheme, operating from 2002 to 2020, awarded over £5m to 66 properties to support and finance necessary major remediation.
The scheme supported the regeneration of the Elder Yard Scheme, 2 Caroline Street, as well as the former Victoria Public House, all located in Bridgend town centre.
In Porthcawl, the same initiative offered a new lease of life to the Harlequin building, the Jennings buildings, as well as 37 The Esplanade, formerly known as Apollo, which is nearing completion.
We are proud to say that we have thriving businesses operating from all of these completed schemes, with capital investment coming from the council, the National Lottery Heritage fund and Cadw.Councillor Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Regeneration
Another council programme, Transforming Towns, is responsible for financing schemes that include 11 Nolton Street, the former McDonald’s building in Bridgend, the Family Value building in Maesteg, and, more recently, Marble Steak House in the Rhiw Centre, Bridgend.
The programme awarded £2.275m in grant in the last three years and will continue to work with property and business owners, to offer significant support and finance to other properties across Bridgend, Porthcawl and Maesteg.
We have a Vacant Property Action Plan which covers the more challenging properties that are found largely within our towns, but not exclusively – it considers both commercial and residential properties.Councillor Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Regeneration
Developed in collaboration with Welsh Government, the plan adopts a detailed approach at finding solutions to progressing work on specific properties.
An Empty Properties Working group also examines and supports these most problematic buildings – those which require a one council approach, as well as financial commitment.
In addition to the aforementioned work, the council is also updating its survey of vacant churches and chapels at risk or in danger, and has plans to review all vacant properties across Bridgend town centre to consider offering bespoke engagement and assistance.
We aim to work with business and building owners, offering them as many options and as much support as we possibly can. A number of long-term empty properties have now been sold to new owners or are to be marketed for sale. Formal action against a proprietor is always a last resort.
It is important to remember that there is no quick solution to addressing the empty property situation within our towns.
The regeneration and revival of buildings is a long process which involves many intricacies. We see the result of the renovated building, but what is not so visible is the many months of work that has delivered it to that point.Councillor Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Regeneration