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Discussions held on 20 minute towns in Bridgend

07 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Bridgend Town Centre – Lewis Smith LDR

Lewis SmithLocal Democracy Reporter

Further discussions have been held by Bridgend County Borough Council this month on the concept known as the 20-minute neighbourhood, at a Town and Community Council forum.

At the meeting, members heard more about the council endorsed idea, which is an international planning concept designed to ensure people have all their local amenities such as retail, leisure, education, primary healthcare and employment, within a 20-minute walk or bike ride of their home.

It also includes people having access to greenspaces close to their homes, as well as promoting a local environment that encourages active travel, health and wellbeing, and the need for affordable housing.

In a report given to members it was shown that the concept has previously been implemented in a number of areas all over the world in places such as Melbourne, Portland and Paris, which are regularly reference as a 15- minute cities, with residents having all their amenities within a 20 minute walking distance.

The report read: “The 20-minute neighbourhood is all about ‘living locally’—giving people the ability to meet most of their daily needs within a 20-minute walk or cycle ride from home, with safe cycling and local transport options.

“In the context of Bridgend, a 20-minute neighbourhood is one that enables access services within a 20-minute period either by walking or cycling, with public transport provision also available as a fallback option to ensure there is a range of sustainable travel options available within each neighbourhood.”

However, while the concept, first thought up by Urbanist Carlos Moreno is said to have a number of benefits, it has not been as well received everywhere, with residents in Oxford protesting after their City Council announced plans to become a fully functioning 15-minute city by 2040 .


Among the reasons for this were fears that it could lead to restrictions on how much they could travel, along with limits to other freedoms, though officers stressed that the premise, now aligned with the council’s LDP, was designed to enhance the area and not to stop people from moving around.

While the report was noted by councillors after a lengthy debate, there were a number of questions raised by those in attendance based on how realistic the implementation of such a plan could be, and what it could mean for the area in the future.

Councillor Philip Jenkins of Maesteg said while he agreed with the sentiments of the plan in principal he also had some concerns, and feared they could be unachievable or “pie in the sky” unless a number of issues with local infrastructure were first addressed.

Cllr Jonathan Pratt asked if anything could be done to counter false information circulating on the issue, while others raised questions over the amount of affordable housing in the area, as well as issues with a lack of public transport and local employment opportunities that could make the idea non-viable.

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7 days ago

“…..officers stressed that the premise, now aligned with the council’s LDP, was designed to enhance the area and not to stop people from moving around.” Maybe that was how it was seen at the time in Oxford but here in Wales it looks suspiciously like corralling. Creating the super duper public transport network is the cornerstone especially as it won’t be delivered, so we will be stuck in our own square mile with mobility only for those authorised to travel freely ( or relatively so). Concept may work in Cardiff which gets funding for fads and approved initiatives. Seriously doubt… Read more »

Sean Thompson
Sean Thompson
6 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

The suggestion that the idea of 15/20 minute neighbourhoods will lead to anyone being stuck in their “own square mile with mobility only for those authorised to travel freely” is complete nonsense promoted largely by a tiny assortment of tinfoil hatted conspiracy theorists and assorted nutters who think that a secret international cabal is planning to establish to enslave us (for reasons yet to be explained). Where is the evidence? Where has anyone’s freedom to travel beyond their neighbourhood been forbidden or restricted? Many people in Wales, like me, are fortunate enough to live in 15 minute neighbourhoods (although we… Read more »

5 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

It only looks “suspiciously like corralling” in the crazed minds of far-right conspiracy theorists.

4 days ago

Everywhere in Bridgend has ALWAYS. Been accessible within a twenty minute walk or bike ride. It’s not a big place. Just apply the branding and the transformation is complete.
It’s just something else for right wing conspiracists to froth over

4 days ago

Ahhh the old right wing, tin foil hat, conspiracy theory argument. It seems to me that some people should take a better look at what’s going on in the rest of the world, and of course at home. I agree 15 minute towns are nothing new, in the days before our high streets were destroyed by greedy, short sighted councils and out of town shopping developments went up most people had access locally to everything they needed. But now for me it’s a 10 mile round trip to get to the shops. Public transport is expensive, unreliable and services seem… Read more »

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