The outline details of what BCBC would like to do next with regard Porthcawl regeneration are due to be discussed by the Cabinet next week (pdf).
The revised proposals focus solely on the Salt Lake site, the purchase of which by BCBC was approved at the end of 2017.
Officers say that some of the developments at Salt Lake are reliant on renewed coastal flood defences (which will form part of the plans, as explained later). A business case has been submitted to the Welsh Government though it will require an upfront contribution from BCBC.
The Vision, Phases & Timescales
The scheme is divided into seven phases (above). Here’s a summary:
Phase 1 (completed by 2021) – A supermarket, to be built at the northern end of Salt Lake. Interest is reportedly “strong” and Aldi have made it clear they want to build a store in Porthcawl as part of expansion plans in south Wales.
Phase 2 (marketing in 2019) – Housing, located next to the proposed supermarket. This parcel isn’t dependent on flood defence works and a development brief will be prepared by mid-2019.
Phase 3 (2020-21) – Hillsboro Place car park improvements and speculative small scale leisure-based developments. The car park will be retained and revamped to a more efficient layout, with “small parcels of land” offered for commercial leisure developments. Funding for this would come from land sales for Phase 1.
Phase 4 (2020-21) – A new Eastern Promenade. This will form part of the aforementioned coastal flood defences.
Phases 5 & 6 (2022-23) – Housing. These sites can only be developed once the flood defences are complete. It could include additional parking and it’ll be used as a temporary car park until it can be developed, with the car park possibly opening as early as Easter 2019.
Phase 7 (Post-2023) – Leisure-led development. It’s unclear what precisely will go there as the commercial leisure market is described as “weak”. It’s likely all of the other phases will have to be developed or under construction before this comes forward in order to boost confidence amongst developers.
How much will it cost and how will it be paid for?
The report says any money raised from land sales will be re-invested in the infrastructure needed to market and sell the sites – so, in effect, it’ll be mainly self-financing.
BCBC estimate they’ll be able to raise between £7-8million from Salt Lake but this figure doesn’t include sales relating to Phase 7 or smaller leisure-based developments at Hillsboro Place.
At least £2.6million of the estimated sale receipts (and a small amount of borrowing) have already been earmarked towards some of the works (such as the Hillsboro car park improvements), and it’s expected that BCBC will have to pay at least £1million towards future flood defence works.
What are the risks?
The report says:
“Given that the project is at its initial stages of development, capital projects such as this will have significant uncertainties. For example, these may relate to the planning, ground conditions, and uncertainties around market demand.
“For this reason, the Council has undertaken soft market testing in order to understand market demand of the food store and has received positive feedback….Further soft market testing will be undertaken on the future housing phases as the scheme progresses.”