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Plans to ‘reorientate’ Pontypridd town centre towards river

11 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Pontypridd town.

Anthony LewisLocal Democracy Reporter

There are plans to “reorientate” part of Pontypridd town centre towards the river and surrounding natural landscape for the first time in over a century.

The proposed redevelopment of the former Marks and Spencer and Dorothy Perkins stores at 97-102 Taff Street include a new public open space which reorientates the High Street to the riverside, according to a council report.

The proposals would see a new riverside plaza with small-scale kiosk units that supply local food and drink.

It’s hopes the plans will maximise the site’s potential as a key “transitional space” as part of a new visitor route linking it with the train station via the bingo hall site and retaining newly revealed views of the Rhondda and Taff rivers and surrounding landscape.

Flexible

During the demolition of the former Marks and Spencer/Dorothy Perkins properties, a team was appointed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to support the development proposals for the future use of the site.

A cabinet report said that the redevelopment plans had been informed by considerable investigatory and feasibility work, including structural assessments, comprehensive flood modelling, disability access audits, topographical surveys, utility surveys and mechanical and electrical requirement assessments.

It said that feedback from early engagement with relevant departments and key stakeholders had also informed the proposals.

The council said that the current proposals responded to several site-specific challenges, including the considerable level difference between the Taff Street entrance to the site (at the higher level) and the entrance to Ynyangharad War Memorial Park (at the lower level).

Flood zone

Because of this, the design includes a series of plateaus at various levels, stepping down from Taff Street to the entrance to Ynysangharad War Memorial Park.

A steel-frame structure will support these plateaus and has been designed to transfer all loads through existing columns.

The height of these plateaus has been set by the level identified from the flood modelling, above which the site would not flood so the majority of the site will be raised out of the flood zone.

Fixtures, fittings, and finishes proposed for the redevelopment of the former Marks and Spencer site are the same, wherever possible, as those specified for the Bingo Hall site.

Other improvement works include resurfacing and enhanced street lighting to the adjacent lane leading to Ynysangharad War Memorial Park as part of a disability access audit review.

The council said that early engagement with the Welsh Government had confirmed that they would welcome an application to their Transforming Towns programme in July/August, 2024, to support the redevelopment of the site.

In February 2022, the cabinet approved the submission of a funding application to
the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme to support the
demolition of the M&S and Dorothy Perkins/Burtons buildings, which had been
vacant for some time.

In March, 2023, the Welsh Government approved a grant of £1,283,745 (70% of the total project budget) towards the demolition of the buildings.

Walters, a specialist demolition contractor, started an early phase of site preparation works in March, 2023, followed by the complete demolition of the properties in June, 2023.

The cabinet report said that due to the complex nature of the site, which spans the River Rhondda, specialist equipment and expertise were required to reduce any potential impact on supporting structures and adjacent buildings.

It said that, overall, the execution of the demolition of the properties located at 97-102 Taff Street was successful, with all works recently completed in April, 2024.

After the demolition works were done, it was revealed that the existing basement slab was in better physical condition than first anticipated and could, therefore, be reused as part of the redevelopment scheme.

The site has been secured with timber hoarding along its perimeter and is under comprehensive CCTV observation.

Temporary propping of the river wall and gable end walls has also been installed. The long-term propping of these structures has been integrated into the redevelopment proposals for the site.

The report said: “Redevelopment of the now cleared site at 97-102 Taff Street will contribute significantly to the establishment of a new, vibrant and attractive Southern Gateway to the town centre.”

It added that the proposals “seek to create a new high-quality public realm that provides a clear and legible route from the top of the town through to a much more inviting access to Ynysangharad War Memorial Park and National Lido.

“Integration of soft landscaping will serve to ‘green’ the high street whilst the creation of a new riverside plaza will reorientate the high street, for the first time in over 100 years, to the river and surrounding natural landscape.”


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karl
karl
2 days ago

As much as I like the idea of living with the river and have many times commented we should. The old M and S site is not the solution. It is a concrete hell as the river goes under shops nearby and to high from the river itself, so doesn’t blend or add green space. Much better to convert part of car park up further ()gas works) or the part of the park they seem obsessed with making a car park under the new foot bridge. But RCT don’t think, they are useless. Never seen so much inability across every… Read more »

Stevie B
Stevie B
2 days ago

The problem families RCT council are importing from all over the UK will love it there.

Howard Humphries
Howard Humphries
1 day ago

It’s easy to make plans on a computer screen but what it looks like on the ground are two different things Like putting three traffic lanes on a road only wide enough for two (Aberdare) , a high kirb to direct water from a mountain drain away from the road but forget to put it in front of the drain., (Ferndale) widen the pavement to act as traffic management but no thought given to the drainage, (Ferndale), don’t repair a retaining wall, pile sand bags to hold it up and leave them there obstructing the pavement for 3 years ,(Porth)… Read more »

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