Porthcawl road train is on the right track

A new road train is on its way to Porthcawl after Bridgend County Borough Council agreed plans for establishing the new attraction, which will run between Sandy Bay and Rest Bay to connect the town centre with the seafront.

The seasonal service will operate from the end of March or the beginning of Easter until the end of September with a new traffic order in place to enable the vehicle to stop and pick up passengers along the route.

Speaking at a meeting of Cabinet held today, 17 November, Cllr Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities, said he had fond memories of an old miniature railway which ran when he was a child as well as the Promenade Princess road train ‘known affectionately as the Noddy train’ which ran for a number of years until 2008.

He said: “We are hoping to get this attraction up and running for next season so it can start delivering benefits for Porthcawl.”

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, commented that it would be an excellent way for people to see the town: “Hopefully, this will be sustainable in commercial and environmental terms, and when happy times come back, it will add to the sum of happiness in Porthcawl.”

The road train will be funded using £11,453 that has already been secured as part of Visit Wales’ Tourist Attractor Destinations (TAD) programme. The council will now seek an external operator to run the service.

Since Visit Wales confirmed Porthcawl as a priority area for it support in 2014, Bridgend County Borough Council has used the TAD scheme to deliver the £1.5m Watersports Centre at Rest Bay, refurbish the kiosk building at Porthcawl Marina, and launch a Visit Bridgend website to showcase the county borough to residents and visitors.


Funding still available from empty property grant scheme

There’s still time for Bridgend county borough residents to apply for funding from a grant scheme aimed at helping property owners and first time buyers to get empty properties back into use.

Through the Valleys Taskforce Empty Homes Grant, you can apply for grants of up to £20,000 for renovations and up to £5,000 towards energy measures. The deadline for final applications to the scheme is February 2021.

Applicants must be owners or prospective owners who intend to occupy the empty home as their main residence for a minimum five-year period from the date of the certification of grant-aided work. The property must be in the Valleys Task Force area of Bridgend and have remained unoccupied for a period of six months prior to purchase and at the time of the grant application.

Applicants are required to make a mandatory 15 per cent contribution of the total cost of eligible works but this will be waived for applicants in financial hardship.

Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, Cllr Dhanisha Patel, said: “Residents who are considering moving into an empty property still have time to apply for this grant funding. Empty private sector homes can be a missed opportunity to provide much-needed affordable housing for residents as well as being a financial expense to the owners and the council.

“The Valleys Taskforce Empty Homes Grant supports the delivery of the council’s and Welsh Government’s priority of returning empty properties into use in the Valleys areas of Bridgend county borough to help regenerate communities, provide more choice and suitable accommodation for residents.”

Earlier this year, the Welsh Government awarded funding of £4.5m for the second phase to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council which delivers and manages the scheme for the area.

In Bridgend county borough, there were eight successful applications to the scheme during its first phase between October 2019 and March 2020.

For more information, visit the Welsh Government website about the empty homes grant.