Next big step agreed on ‘complex’ move to build new college in Bridgend
Lewis Smith – Local Democracy Reporter
Plans for a new multi-million pound college campus that aims to regenerate Bridgend have taken another step forward this week.
Following discussions, members at the monthly cabinet meeting on July 18 agreed to sign over land in the town centre that once held the former Bridgend police station and Cheapside multi-story car park to Bridgend College.
It means the college will now take charge of the property on a long-term lease as they look to go forward with the next stage of development, by demolishing the Brackla One multi-storey car park.
The demolition of the car park which, was closed due to structural issues in January 2021, will follow work to demolish the former police station in the town centre which was completed in recent weeks.
However due to a number of factors this task has been described as “extremely complex.”
The report read: “The demolition of the multi-storey car park is extremely complex given its structural composition and further challenges posed by its proximity to the mainline rail network and bounded by both Asda and Aldi.
“The demolition of the car park can only be brought forward on receipt of Network Rail permissions and suitable indemnity insurance being in place.”
Council officers have said they will now go out to tender for the demolition work in August 2023, with work expected to be completed on the site by April of 2024.
Once cleared developers will look to begin further work to relocate the college’s current facilities at their Cowbridge Road campus into two new buildings at Cheapside, worth more than £50 million.
While planning for the site has still not been granted, if given the go-ahead it would include a modern campus with amenities such as standard classrooms, IT suites, multi-purpose studios, catering kitchens, hair and beauty salons, dance studios, and performance areas.
There would also be 250-seat theatre alongside a café, and cycle storage.
Plans say that creating the new campus will not only produce a modern environment for students to study in, but will also contribute to the local economy, with daily student and staff footfall bringing increased spend for local businesses.
Speaking at the meeting council leader Huw David said: “It is indeed a very very exciting project and will secure the biggest ever single investment in Bridgend town centre, and the biggest ever investment in an educational project in the county borough as well. That is the scale and extent and potential impact of this project.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.