How Porthcawl’s ‘regeneration jigsaw’ will be pieced together over the next five years
Posted on: Wednesday 21 November 2018
The key developments that will trigger Porthcawl’s stunning transformation over the next five years have been unveiled by Bridgend County Borough Council.
Cabinet Members from the local authority have today agreed the ‘regeneration jigsaw’ that will be pieced together over several phases to deliver a new food store, leisure attractions, housing and an improved Eastern Promenade.
Last Christmas, the council broke the deadlock which had held back the town’s regeneration by securing a £3.33m deal to take total control over the Salt Lake car park site.
While a previous regeneration masterplan centred on a large superstore being developed, the new plans will involve a smaller food store at the northern end of the Salt Lake site (towards the Awel Y Mor community centre).
The opportunity will be marketed from early 2019, and a store could open as soon as summer 2021.
Like a domino effect, the capital receipts from the sale of that land will enable the council to progress the next phases, beginning with major work on the Hillsboro Place car park.
As well as resurfacing, the car park’s layout will be made more efficient and accessible and the potential for a hotel being developed at the southern end of the car park will also be explored.
The next piece of the jigsaw will be to market land immediately adjacent to the new food store (at the north eastern end of the site) for housing in late 2019.
A series of coastal protection improvements must then be carried out to mitigate the flood risk posed to the remainder of the Salt Lake site. This will include work on the Western Breakwater and the Eastern Promenade overlooking Sandy Bay.
Welsh Government has already approved the council’s outline business case for the coastal defence works and detailed designs are now being progressed ahead of a final bid for match funding being submitted in autumn 2019. If that bid is accepted, the work will be carried out between 2020 and 2021.
Once the coastal defence works have been completed, two more phases of housing development will be taken forward in 2022/2023 in the centre of the Salt Lake site, with some of the land being used as a temporary car park in the short term.
It is hoped that the remaining quarter of the Salt Lake site near to the marina will feature an exciting new leisure attraction. While the leisure investor market is weak at the moment, the council is in discussions with Visit Wales to attract national investors.
The land will also be available for temporary leisure uses in the intervening period prior to the permanent leisure attraction being secured.
The Portway will be kept open as an access road, but re-engineered to become more pedestrian friendly, with clear sight lines for pedestrians to have access to the town centre. Diagonal parking along the Portway may also be considered.
Salt Lake is currently the largest waterfront development site in the country. It has huge potential. We have a once in a lifetime chance to transform this land into something that benefits both residents and visitors, and I believe that our plans will do just that.
I often think of projects like this as being a huge jigsaw that relies on certain pieces being place to join everything together. The first phase will be a new food store and once that’s in place it will release the money needed to make everything else possible.
Previous regeneration attempts which focused on a large superstore were largely thwarted by fundamental changes in the food store market. We shared residents’ frustrations over those stalled schemes, but we’ve since redesigned the plans and there is strong interest from a number of retailers for a smaller store.Councillor Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration
Councillor Smith added: “Many local people have also requested that the Harlequin building should be preserved as it is the only remaining part of the Porthcawl Railway Station. I’m hopeful that it will form part of a heritage project on a section of the Hillsboro Place site.”
Councillor Huw David, the Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “We’ve seen how much the marina and Jennings Building developments have completely revamped that part of the waterfront. Over the next five years, millions more will be invested in the Salt Lake site on new leisure facilities, housing, car parking, retail, sea defences, and infrastructure improvements.
“This regeneration scheme will secure the future of Porthcawl as a premier seaside town and will create jobs, homes and investment in the local economy for years to come.”
The council has also confirmed that it will be installing new pay machines and making several other improvements to the current Salt Lake car park by Easter 2019.
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