Scrutiny committee receive assurances over waterfront development land
Posted on: Tuesday 08 November 2022
Members of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee have voted to support a decision to appropriate land in Sandy Bay and Griffin Park necessary for delivering the next phases of regeneration within Porthcawl, and to provide Cabinet with a report outlining their recommendations and suggestions.
The committee reached its decision after receiving further information and clarification on concerns such as whether sufficient consideration had been given to the project, whether the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 had been taken into account, and why the land appropriation was held as a separate process to the compulsory purchase order and the development of a Placemaking Strategy.
Addressing the concerns, Councillor Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, confirmed that the appropriation will enable almost 20 hectares of land to be used for planning purposes as part of the regeneration of the town’s waterfront area, and will be in accordance with both the Local Development Plan and the recently approved Placemaking Strategy.
Under the council’s plans the site, which includes the amusement park, will become available for mixed-use development featuring all-new retail, commercial, recreational, educational, housing and leisure opportunities.
While they include a new Welsh medium primary school, an extension to Newton Primary and 900 much-needed new homes at Sandy Bay, the plans also feature a major focus on creating and maximising the amount of public open space.
As well as doubling the size of Griffin Park from four to eight hectares, a long, green corridor will be established offering enhanced access to Coney Beach where a new beach revetment will be introduced, and the relic dunes will have their legal designation changed so that all six acres can be protected and maintained for the future.
The committee heard that a disused bowling green and the old tennis courts at Griffin Park will be needed to provide vehicular access into the regeneration area, but that the council has already promised to bring the bowling green back into use elsewhere in the park and to provide new, modern tennis facilities which, unlike the current courts, can be used all year long and in all weathers.
In addition, people will be asked for their views on what sort of new facilities they now want to see introduced as part of the public open space, with early suggestions including a pump track, new pocket parks for children and more.
Janine Nightingale, Director of Communities, and Jacob Lawrence, Principal Regeneration officer, also addressed the committee and answered questions. They stressed that the land appropriation was being undertaken as a mechanism to ensure the regeneration could move on to the next stage of the process, which will involve asking people about the type of facilities that they want to see introduced.
They also clarified that the separate processes for the appropriation of land and the compulsory purchase order were necessary as they were governed by different parts of the law and to avoid any confusion between the two. The Placemaking Strategy was produced separately in order to establish and highlight which areas of land would be needed.
Janine commented: “Our Placemaking Strategy provides us with a masterplan which focuses upon issues such as open space, active travel, bringing the town centre and the seafront together, new homes, new schools, new leisure and retail opportunities, and more besides.
“We have a very clear vision of where we want to take Porthcawl, and the next stage will involve adding on the details in partnership with local people.
“This development will increase the amount of public open space, not decrease it, and while it forms a separate part of our regeneration strategy, we have also agreed to cut the number of houses planned for Salt Lake and to install a new coastal park which will be almost the same length as two football pitches.
“Porthcawl is evolving as a seaside town, and we want to ensure that the community can grow and develop in a sustainable way. What we are doing now is intended to unlock the next stages of the regeneration, and we are wholeheartedly committed towards working with the local community on this.”
As a resident of Porthcawl, I am delighted that regeneration is finally moving forward after several years of frustration. Having walked through the entire site with officers on hand to describe what new facilities and development could potentially be introduced, I am convinced that this plan offers a lot of opportunities for working alongside stakeholders within the community and beyond.
In line with our Placemaking Strategy, we want local people, organisations and businesses to work with us in close partnership and help to deliver sustainable regeneration and development, and we will soon be asking residents for their views on how the open space should be used.Councillor Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Regeneration