Plans for new police training facility in Bridgend
Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter
Plans for a new tactical training facility near Pencoed have gone before Bridgend council’s planning committee this week, after being submitted by South Wales Police.
The plans, which are based on land at the border of Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taf, would be made up of a two and three-storey building with offices, classrooms and warehouses, as well as an indoor firing range and tactical training area.
Car parking areas, outdoor recreation space, landscaping and tactical training facilities, such as a tower and a block work street scene, are also included within the plans.
The report outlined that if the proposals were given the go-ahead by council bosses, the facility would replace an existing one at Waterton Industrial Estate, Bridgend, which is no longer fit for purpose, highlighting how its development was of “critical importance to national security”.
The report read: “The application seeks full planning permission for the development of a tactical training facility to be used for the training of officers of police constabularies in Wales and throughout the UK.
“The facility will be used primarily by South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys Police and Gwent Police, but will be available for use by other constabularies from across the UK as necessary.
“There are only six facilities of this nature across the UK, and they are used to train all UK police officers in tactics and firearms for incidents that may arise.”
The earmarked land near Pencoed is based in open countryside, where several scattered residential and commercial properties are said to be located.
The Ewenni Fach river also runs through the centre of the site, and forms the administrative boundary between Bridgend county borough and Rhondda Cynon Taf, close to the Pencoed Technology Park.
Some points of concern were raised over the development of the facility, such as the potential noise impact for nearby residents with the use of firearms at the site, as well as ecological impacts that could be had on nesting birds.
In response, officers informed members that the site layout had already been amended to include additional acoustic bunds and fencing which would improve noise suppression, adding that the ecological impact of the development has been deemed acceptable by ecology officers at both county borough councils and Natural Resources Wales.
While plans for the site were approved unanimously by Bridgend councillors, they will now have to go before Rhondda Cynon Taf’s planning committee as well, as they must gain approval from both of the local authorities before any work can begin, with officers clarifying that both of the applications relied on each other.
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