Talbot Green plans submitted and two major Bridgend developments

Talbot Green New Town Centre

The formal outline planning application for this new development near Y Pant Comprehensive, promising up to 2,000 jobs, has been submitted to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.

The first phase will involve the construction of a new supermarket in 2014 with phase 2 continuing in 2016.

The second phase will include : a cinema, multi-story car parks, at least 50 smaller high-street stores, a new department store, hotel, a new Leekes store, a “civic building”, landscaped public space and new homes.

If it can be pulled off to its maximum extent (and I do have my doubts), then it’ll pose serious competition to Rhondda, Pontypridd, Bridgend and Cowbridge town centres – even large out of town developments like Bridgend Designer Outlet, Merthyr Retail Park and Culverhouse Cross, not to mention the existing centres in and around Talbot Green.

This is a major development, perhaps more significant than anyone has given it credit for.

This should serve as a massive wake up call to Bridgend Council and the owners of the Rhiw Centre and the newly-refurbished Brackla Street Centre. Work on a proper development brief for retail and leisure development in Bridgend town centre should begin as soon as possible.

Bridgend town centre can’t afford to be left behind this time.

Parc Afon Ewenni

A masterplan was shown to Bridgend Council cabinet last week and it also made the front page of the Glamorgan Gazette. More details will inevitably be revealed in the next few months.

It involves development of a “village” of around 650 homes between the A473 and River Ewenny on what is currently the South Wales Police Club, Bridgend Council depot and several light industrial sites.

The development’s aim is becoming a “major gateway” to Bridgend from the south, with landmark office development near the Waterton roundabout and a new “community hub” of shops and services alongside an existing gym and play centre. Access would be via new roundabout on the A473 as well as improved foot/cycle links to Bridgend town centre.

The land was included in the draft Local Development Plan as a key site, but I’m surprised a proposal has come through so quickly. The area, as it is, is fairly run down so anything will be an improvement on what’s currently there.

I do have concerns. Firstly, the impact on the busy A473 and A48 by building a new roundabout.

Secondly, pedestrian access to and from the “village” – especially for any schoolchildren living there, whom it’s claimed would be in the catchment area of Llangrallo Primary in Coychurch and Pencoed Comprehensive. It wouldn’t be a particularly pleasant walk to school, no doubt leading to more car journeys. This “village” looks as though it’s going to be “cut off” from the rest of Bridgend by the industrial estates and the A473. These problems can be overcome though.

I hope however that this doesn’t become another generic “ribbon/sprawl” development, in part a result of Cardiff Council’s stubborn refusal to open up greenfield land for residential development.

Pencoed Technology Business Park

This is to be build on the large car park to the east of the Sony plant in Pencoed.

It’s a generic office development, but in a “green” setting including a lake and “breakout” areas. It would be aimed at light manufacturing and “knowledge economy” companies but on a smaller, more intimate scale. It aims to take advantage of views over the River Ewenny and retain as much of the greenery as possible.

The total new floor space will only be around 17,000sq metres, equivalent to a quarter of the existing Sony plant.

Once again this was a strategic site in the draft LDP, so this proposal isn’t much of a surprise.

My concern is that this could lead to an oversupply of office space in south east Wales, especially if other “big schemes” come off, and would divert attention from other key regeneration sites in the county like Brackla Industrial Estate or Bridgend Science Park.

It’s undoubtedly a boost to have such a development in Pencoed though, which always seems to be a poor relation in the southern half of the county.