Judgement day looms for town’s new railway station plans
Nicholas Thomas Local Democracy Reporter
Plans for a complete overhaul of public transport in a busy town centre could get the green light in a matter of days.
Caerphilly County Council is leading a proposal to demolish the town’s current bus and railway stations and replace them with a modern “interchange”.
It has drawn both support and opposition from councillors and members of the public, and Caerphilly Council’s planning committee is expected to approve the project on Wednesday February 7.
The interchange features a main two-storey building which “spans the station and bus waiting area”, and includes a ticket office, accessible bridge, toilets, bike storage, waiting rooms and a shop, according to a new report by council planners.
Finished in stone and metal, the interchange will also feature a “substantial level of glazing”, described as the “dominant feature of the building”.
Outside, the road layout will be changed to add a new pedestrian area in front of the station, and the existing short-stay parking area will move to the pay-and-display car park.
A cycle lane will be added to Station Terrace, and the bus station will be extended to provide more stops for vehicles.
The bridge over the railway line, on Cardiff Road, is “deteriorating” and will be replaced, leading to the demolition of the former ticket office building, currently occupied by businesses.
That planned demolition has proved the focus of community opposition to the project, and a petition to save the old ticket office has collected more than 1,300 signatures.
Council planners noted the old ticket office had “local historic importance”, but said the building was not listed and girders beneath it were in “very poor condition”.
The building also “suffers from damp, leaks and is not insulated to an appropriate standard”.
While it would be “regrettable” to lose the old ticket office, planners said it was “not considered that its loss outweighs the provision of the improved interchange facility”.
The report shows general support for the interchange project among statutory consultees, although Natural Resources Wales, the Coal Authority and the council’s own engineering department have all sought guarantees around various groundworks.
When the planning application was open for consultation, the council received 42 responses from the public, of which 38 were objections to the project.
These included concerns about the loss of the “unique” ticket office, described as “part of Caerphilly’s history, heritage and cultural identity”.
There are also worries the new interchange is “large and modern”, “not in keeping with the surrounding area”, and “too industrial looking”.
Objectors also noted possible construction issues, saying they had concerns regarding “noise, parking, dust, waste and traffic disruption”.
Meanwhile, the three people who commented positively said the new interchange would “boost Caerphilly’s economy” and have “substantial positive implications for sustainability and modernisation within the town”.
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