Monday, 2 July 2012

Poor Old Ponty.

Some of you may remember Pontypridd when it was the most vibrant shopping centre in Wales. With the Saturday andWednesday Market teeming with Stalls and People .

There would be coach Parties of shoppers, coming  to join those horded travelling down from Valley Towns for a day shopping and bargains.

Arguably the rot set in when they build the Taff Vale precinct. in the 70's .

A ugly concrete building .high rents meant that companies did not take up places and I can't remember it ever being fully occupied.

Since then Pontypridd as declined and its high street has gone the way of other towns with shops closing due to high rent and rates to be replaced with charity shops who do not pay rates.

For the last two decades RCT council has dithered over what to do about Ponty. With Plans to demolish the Precinct and replacing it with a Modern Shopping centre.

Both Labour and Plaid have been in control of the council and under them the plans have been cut and cut as people objected to the proposal that part of Ynysangharad Park ,should be used with part of the complex crossing the Taff.

I understood the public reaction against this as it is a memorial park to the fallen of the 1914-18 war . But felt that the part that was to be used was a spot that the public hardly ever touched and most was taken up by a health centre.

Since then although companies have closed and left with only the Tax Office as a lonely redoubt standing the plans have been whittled a pale imitation of the original Plans

However since November demolition began.. Howevert he project failed to obtain as much money as was expected from the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales.

Subsequently, developers have had to search for alternative investment avenues, which it is claimed has caused the hold-up in construction.

In March, the project’s developers insisted the shopping centre would be finished within 12 months.
However, construction work on the new building is yet to start and doubts about the future of the development have continued to circulate.
Iceland, Wilkinson and Poundland have all been named as chains which have booked their place in the new shopping centre.
There are still several shop spaces left to fill, but developers are currently in talks with a view to filling those.
Since Iceland have been operating from next door for decades this is not a new store for Ponty and whilst  I love Poundland . Its hardly a prestige company and It could be that like it predecessor the new centre willhave many empty units  when.if it opens.
Pontypridd MP Owen Smith said:
“Rumours that the development plans for the precinct have collapsed are untrue and misleading.“The reality is that the developers, to whom I have spoken again this week, are still in the process of securing the last elements of the funding they need to commence construction, but are hopeful that those will be in place later this week and that construction will start, as planned, before the end of the summer.“It isn’t 100% certain, of course, as this is a private company and we all know that the economic conditions for the construction industry are difficult at present.“But they remain committed to the development and are being supported by the council, the Welsh Government, AM Mick Antoniw and by myself.“In addition to this, I am meeting next week with Huw Lewis AM, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Regeneration to press the case for more funding for Pontypridd.
“The Welsh Government is presently reviewing plans for town centre regeneration across Wales and I am determined that the case for increased investment in Ponty is made forcefully and heard loud and clear in Cardiff Bay.”

One wonders what Owen Smiths's and AN Mick Antoniw reaction  would be if another party was running RCT or the Assembly.
It does show the problem of one Party holding the reins of power at all Levels and means that criticism of one tier of Government is muted because they are run by the same Party. . 
I have always been critical of opportunist Politics but we need an alternative view and our regional AMs should be investigating this farrago.
With nearby Talbot Green already attracting shoppers away from Ponty and planning to expand its retail outlet it looks that Ponty will face the future as little more than a ordinary valley town a shadow of its glorious retail past.



Anonymous said...

Rents and rates have sky rocketed for shops and people have had to move from shops to the market. Charity shops have moved in as they dont pay the same rates. Thats the main reason.Two friends have had to do this and wanted to have shops not stalls. Now Sainsburys is opening this week out of town plus a few other shops A previous council had said no to a large superstore on the previous industrial site where Brown Lennox were .Now the Council said yes - why its upmarket and will attract people to the centre. Poppycock

glynbeddau said...

Mam : Sainsburys are of course opening on the Brown Lennox site about half a mile from the Town centre. People are unlikely to go there and then visit the centre of Ponty.

The original Plan was to have a supermarket as part of the new complex.

As far as the Rates go . Maybe the Assembly if it ever gets the poer should look at encouraging small retailers in Town centres throughout Wales by cutting rates and creating a bureau to assist them with their set up.