Cabinet has approved a major strategy to regenerate Porth Town Centre following a public consultation – and a number of transformational projects will now be further developed, including a Transport Hub and Station Quarter.
At its meeting on January 24, Cabinet approved an exciting new vision for Porth which will be achieved through several key strategic projects. The Strategy includes a modern Transport Hub and Station Quarter to improve connectivity, as well as creating a modern Community Hub at Porth Plaza, developing the former Porth Junior School site and increasing Park and Ride provision. A full list of projects is detailed below.
Cabinet Members have now approved the Porth Town Centre Strategy and, subject to planning consent, the development and delivery of its projects.
Having carefully considered the feedback about the modern Community Hub, it was decided that all activities at Alec Jones Day Centre would transfer to the new hub – but that alternative arrangements for the provision of meals would be sought following further engagement with service users.
Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Housing, said: “During the consultation, the Council asked individuals, groups, businesses and organisations to have their say on the ambitious Porth Town Centre Regeneration Strategy, which set out a vision for a more prosperous Town Centre through a number of significant projects.
“At the heart of this vision is the new Transport Hub and Station Quarter that would vastly improve connectivity in the town – which currently has poor integration between bus and rail services. This element of the Strategy would utilise opportunities from the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and the huge upcoming investment in the South Wales Metro, taking advantage of Porth’s location as the gateway to Rhondda Fach and Rhondda Fawr.
“It was encouraging to see very positive feedback to the plans, which were seen as deliverable projects through targeted investment. Cabinet has now agreed to further develop the proposals, having approved the Porth Town Centre Strategy.
“The separate focused consultation in relation to Alec Jones Day Centre was helpful to gauge users’ aspirations for the service. Again, this was well-received on the basis that all current services are transferred to Porth Plaza.
“One of the key issues raised was over the provision of hot meals, and the concerns that the new café could negatively impact on some local traders. It is right to further reflect on this part of the proposal, including exploring a potential arrangement for the café to be run by an existing food operator.”
The projects outlined as part of the Porth Regeneration Strategy include:
A modern Transport Hub and Station Quarter: This development would present a transformational change for Porth and vastly improve connectivity in the Town Centre. The strategy identifies the current Alec Jones Day Centre site for a new Transport Hub – including bus interchange, taxi rank, cycle stores and train station links. The 1,700 sq/m site would allow the delivery of a new fit-for-purpose bus station, while a new ticketing system would link all journeys across bus and rail.
Porth Plaza as a Community Hub: The opportunity exists for the building in the heart of Porth to support a range of Council services under one roof – to provide direct access to many services residents need on a daily basis. It is proposed to relocate the services currently provided by the Alec Jones Day Centre to the Community Hub, with residents and groups continuing to have access to the meeting rooms and activities currently delivered at the Day Centre.
Additional Parking for Porth Town Centre: This would include new long and short-term parking opportunities in the town, to improve the quality of infrastructure needed to support the proposed regeneration.
Extending the Park and Ride provision: The development of Phase 2 of the Porth Park and Ride scheme is expected to be delivered in 2019. It will provide an extra 72 parking spaces (150 overall) at the train station.
Public Realm improvements: The strategy outlines the enhancement of Town Centre streets and spaces as part of the Station Quarter and Transport Hub plans. This will produce a more vibrant and attractive street scene, encouraging more visitors to the Town Centre.
Town Centre Maintenance Grant: This scheme has proven a success since it was piloted in Mountain Ash and Tonypandy in October 2017. The new grant gives Town Centre businesses the opportunity to apply for funding to improve property fronts. In July 2018, it was extended due to its success, and introduced in Treorchy. The strategy for Porth Town Centre includes a plan to roll out the scheme locally in the future.
Redevelopment of former Porth Junior School site: The development of new residential units in Porth will help diversify the existing housing stock, promote housing in sustainable locations and increase footfall.
Posted on Friday 25th January 2019