Bridgend planning committee “approves” Island Farm scheme

(Pic: BBC Wales)

Following up from my last post on this issue, Bridgend Council planning committee voted by 11 votes to 7 yesterday to refer the proposed sports village at Island Farm to full council.

This doesn’t mean that it’s got the green light yet, but it is a big step forward.


I doubt the full council will vote against the wishes/recommendations of the planning committee. If the council approves it on July 4th, the plans will then go to the Welsh Assembly for a final rubber stamp. Only then will we know if this is actually going to happen.


I support the development and I support the developers. HD Limited are involved in several projects in Bridgend town centre at the moment – including Elder Yard – which border on civic philanthropy. I doubt many of these projects would’ve got off the ground if they hadn’t have stepped forward.


My support for this scheme though, is more based on “heart” than head.


Bridgend has had its guts ripped out over the last decade. The town centre has a depressingly limited retail choice that leaves it trailing against many other similar sized towns in Wales. We’ve had car-centric developments that are welcome economically, but are soulless and sterile. We’ve lost our professional sporting teams, we’ve lost a lot of jobs down the years as well. Added to this, we’ve had to endure some pretty disgusting stuff in the (UK) national press due to the cluster suicides.


If there’s one thing Bridgend can claim to be, it’s quite an active, relatively youthful, sporting town. We might not have turned out to support our local teams as much as we should have in recent years but the people of Bridgend certainly like to play sport. I can think of more than a dozen rugby teams in a 5 mile radius of Bridgend town and probably as many football teams, golf courses as well.


I don’t really care too much about the stadium itself – whether the town needs a 15,000-seater stadium or not is largely moot. The more important development is the legacy it could leave in terms of facilities for the next generation of athletes. Bridgend is Wales’ sporting conveyor belt and I doubt there are many places that have churned out as many top-class athletes – per head – as Bridgend has.


Not only is a world-class tennis centre on the cards, but a boxing gym, extra sport pitches, indoor training facilities in addition to the science park extension and more open space.


The viability of the proposal is for the developers to worry about. HD Ltd will need to answer some pertinent questions about how all this is going to be financed and sustained. Like it or not, Crusaders have made their bed in Wrexham and I don’t see them coming back. Likewise a 5th Pro12 Welsh region is unlikely unless it is completely privately financed and we know what happened the last time….


At the very least it’s good that for once Bridgend, instead of asking “why?” Is asking “why not?”

Owen

  • Anonymous

    I'm sure the Ospreys and Welsh football team could make use of the stadium!

  • Anonymous

    I'm sure the Ospreys and Welsh football team could make use of the stadium!

  • Anonymous

    Some relevant points, however, an intelligent look at the local and national economy shows that it will not be sport that helps the youth it will jobs in high technology, knowledge base, and high value businesses. To play any sport someone has to have a job and disposable income. The seduction of the sports village will remove a significant part of future prosperity by less employment land. Bridgend is already on 'the map' through Ford, Sony, Logica etc. The tide of cheap labour abroad will turn through high transport costs. Bridgend's future is dependent on quality, modern employers in modern industries not sport of any kind. The priority now and for the near future is to attract and secure employment. The sports village will also provide a disincentive to come to Bridgend with consequent traffic congestion and as a venue the latest fan wants to get to the venue and get home does anyone really believe they are going to go into Bridgend town and spend £20 – £30. Lots of 'sexy' talk little realism.

  • Anonymous

    Some relevant points, however, an intelligent look at the local and national economy shows that it will not be sport that helps the youth it will jobs in high technology, knowledge base, and high value businesses. To play any sport someone has to have a job and disposable income. The seduction of the sports village will remove a significant part of future prosperity by less employment land. Bridgend is already on 'the map' through Ford, Sony, Logica etc. The tide of cheap labour abroad will turn through high transport costs. Bridgend's future is dependent on quality, modern employers in modern industries not sport of any kind. The priority now and for the near future is to attract and secure employment. The sports village will also provide a disincentive to come to Bridgend with consequent traffic congestion and as a venue the latest fan wants to get to the venue and get home does anyone really believe they are going to go into Bridgend town and spend £20 – £30. Lots of 'sexy' talk little realism.

  • Sport certainly isn't a way out of an economic malaise, but it does improve quality of life and there is no better shopfront for Wales or Bridgend than sporting success. Ask people around the World what Wales is famous for, those who have heard of us will say Ryan Giggs or (in the Commonwealth), the rugby team.

    A significant part of Island Farm is still set aside for a science park extension. It could've easily been houses or another out of town retail park. The sports village might be the only commercially viable way to open up the land other than housing. There isn't exactly a queue of blue-chip companies to invest in Cardiff at the moment, let alone Bridgend. Any companies taking this space will probably be home-grown and will be starting off very small.

    However I completely agree that these high-tech, high-skill jobs are our future, combined with stronger IP protection, greater collaboration with universities and changes to the education system. That's way outside Bridgend Council's remit!

    There are other large sites in and around Bridgend that are earmarked for offices/employment, including Waterton Cross, Brocastle and the land at Brackla (which could easily become a bioscience park linked the hospital). I imagine all of these sites, benefiting from superior transport links, would be far better suited to larger-scale employment use than Island Farm alone.

    As for the traffic, the A48 is due to be duelled in the next 5 years or so and the planning conditions mean that the Ewenny and Broadlands roundabouts will need to be upgraded before the main stadium can be built. The traffic/construction/nuisance would be there, and just as bad, if there were only workers on the science park instead of spectators at the stadium. If the proposed park-and-ride scheme can work then that should further help matters and it's not exactly a massive trek from both Bridgend stations either.

    I wouldn't at all be surprised if, in the final application, the stadium element of the scheme is downgraded if the developers can't agree to a minimum of one major event a month there (i.e Ospreys, concerts and Welsh football team).

  • Sport certainly isn't a way out of an economic malaise, but it does improve quality of life and there is no better shopfront for Wales or Bridgend than sporting success. Ask people around the World what Wales is famous for, those who have heard of us will say Ryan Giggs or (in the Commonwealth), the rugby team.

    A significant part of Island Farm is still set aside for a science park extension. It could've easily been houses or another out of town retail park. The sports village might be the only commercially viable way to open up the land other than housing. There isn't exactly a queue of blue-chip companies to invest in Cardiff at the moment, let alone Bridgend. Any companies taking this space will probably be home-grown and will be starting off very small.

    However I completely agree that these high-tech, high-skill jobs are our future, combined with stronger IP protection, greater collaboration with universities and changes to the education system. That's way outside Bridgend Council's remit!

    There are other large sites in and around Bridgend that are earmarked for offices/employment, including Waterton Cross, Brocastle and the land at Brackla (which could easily become a bioscience park linked the hospital). I imagine all of these sites, benefiting from superior transport links, would be far better suited to larger-scale employment use than Island Farm alone.

    As for the traffic, the A48 is due to be duelled in the next 5 years or so and the planning conditions mean that the Ewenny and Broadlands roundabouts will need to be upgraded before the main stadium can be built. The traffic/construction/nuisance would be there, and just as bad, if there were only workers on the science park instead of spectators at the stadium. If the proposed park-and-ride scheme can work then that should further help matters and it's not exactly a massive trek from both Bridgend stations either.

    I wouldn't at all be surprised if, in the final application, the stadium element of the scheme is downgraded if the developers can't agree to a minimum of one major event a month there (i.e Ospreys, concerts and Welsh football team).

  • Anonymous

    Whаt's up to every one, the contents existing at this website are actually amazing for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.
    Feel free to surf my web site ; loans for bad credit

  • Anonymous

    Whаt's up to every one, the contents existing at this website are actually amazing for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.
    Feel free to surf my web site ; loans for bad credit