Council receives update on Bridgend town centre regeneration

Members of Bridgend County Borough Council have received an update on how the 2021 Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan is progressing.


Responding to a question at Council by Cllr Steve Bletsoe on which projects are likely to be delivered within the plan’s 10 year lifespan, Cllr Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Regeneration, outlined how the various short and long-term projects featured within the masterplan are focused firmly upon delivering regeneration and fresh investment into the town centre, and are being carefully managed to ensure they remain on target.


Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Goode said: “The masterplan sets out opportunities of varying scale, complexity and cost, all of which contribute to regeneration in different ways. Some significant projects are already being delivered, and will be completed well withing the current 10 year plan.


“In May this year, two major developments identified within the masterplan will commence in the town. Bridgend College will start work on a new £70m town centre campus at Cheapside, and Link Cymru will kickstart their construction of the all-new Sunnyside Wellness Centre and 59 affordable homes on the site of the former Magistrates Court.


“These projects are major catalysts for town centre regeneration, increasing footfall, supporting local businesses, generating fresh investment and supporting a mixed economy. They also demonstrate the hard work and length of time that it takes to bring such multi-million pound developments to fruition.”


Members heard that since the masterplan was launched, more than £770,000 from the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Programme has been invested into enhancing and upgrading commercial properties within the town centre, and bringing them back into business use.


This investment has supported the development of a thriving night-time economy, which in turn has helped Bridgend town centre to develop a growing reputation as a hub for high-quality restaurants, bistros and cafés.


As regards other projects within the masterplan, feasibility and design work are underway on creating a vibrant new cafe and cultural quarter, establishing all-new easier access to Bridgend railway station, and providing new active travel links throughout the town and surrounding area, a new town heritage trail and more.


A vacant property action plan has been developed to deal with empty buildings that are having a detrimental effect on the local area, and renovation work is currently taking place on four of the most challenging vacant properties within the town centre.


Cllr Goode added: “It is important to note that the council is driving the town centre masterplan forward against a backdrop of hugely significant financial and economic challenges.


“The ambitious nature of the plan is largely reliant upon the availability of public and private sector funding as well as active participation with our partners in regeneration, who in this case include private landowners, landlords and local businesses as well as Bridgend College, Network Rail, BT and Bridgend Town Council.


“As the council cannot deliver any of the aims of the masterplan in isolation, an important part of the plan remains focused upon how working in partnership remains vital to its success.


“Like all other parts of the UK, we are seeing rapid changes occurring across the high street, and Bridgend town centre is not immune from this.


“However, we have also ensured that the town centre masterplan remains flexible as well as being robust, and that the numerous projects featured within the plan are capable of undergoing reassessment to reflect the realities of a changing environment.


“This is why we remain confident that the masterplan is more than capable of delivering upon its aims.”