In the last few days, the Welsh Government submitted a pre-application (known as an application for scoping opinion) for a new business park to the south of Bridgend at Brocastle.
The 111 acre site lies just within Bridgend county, on a finger of land next to the A48 at Crack Hill which jutts into the Vale of Glamorgan. The land is included in the Local Development Plan for industrial/business use and will form the bulk of new employment land in the county until 2021.
Brocastle is described in the report as “one of the most important and prestigious greenfield inward investment sites….within the M4 corridor”. At the moment it’s currently low and mid-grade farmland.A roundabout on the A48 to provide access to the land has already been built, while the nearby Brocastle Manor has been redeveloped as a care home.
The outline proposals are to develop ~55,000sqm (182,000sqft) of industrial space and ~16,000sqm (52,000 sqft) of office space. The site would also be served by a small campus centre. As the site is right next to the railway sidings which serve the Ford engine plant, there’s the possibility that a rail freight facility could be built there.
As plans for an international business park on the outskirts of Cardiff appear to be dead, Brocastle is probably the biggest industrial park development in south Wales currently in the pipeline. It’s unclear how many jobs would be created, but you’re looking at a four figure number if all of the units were fully occupied.
Although the plans are coming perhaps later than the Welsh Government would’ve liked, if the final plans are submitted and approved in a timely manner then this is a big vote of confidence in Bridgend and a potentially significant boost to the local economy….as long as tenants are found.
I’m sure tenants would be found for the industrial units as there are several local companies looking to expand into higher-quality work spaces. Meanwhile, the possible provision of a rail head would open this up to logistics companies (perhaps a major supermarket warehouse – Lidl’s regional distribution centre is located next door) and help take lorries off the road.
What I would be most concerned about is the impact on the roads in the surrounding area. Realistically, this is the only space into which Bridgend can “expand” for the foreseeable future, and it already is expanding in this direction with the planned Parc Afon Ewenni development and the long-standing proposals at Island Farm – how the Brocastle development would impact proposals to expand the science park is hard to tell at the moment.
What it also means is that if this business park is built (there’s no guarantee yet, of course), the Waterton Cross and Coychurch roundabouts are going to become a nightmare if traffic increases significantly. Although it would come at great cost, it would probably make sense to grade separate the Coychurch roundabout and build a link road through to Brocastle from the east (presuming that most of the traffic will want easy access to and from the M4). The problem there is the close proximity to the well-to-do village of Treoes and cross-boundary issues with the Vale.