Friday, 28 September 2012

Ponty regeneration stopped in its tracks.

Last July I posted on the regeneration of Pontypridd and the building of a New Shoping Centre

At the time local labour 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.”

Yesterday the BBC reported that Owen Smith had announced that  the plans for a new shopping centre in Pontypridd are in tatters after the developer went into receivership, says the local MP.

Pontypridd MP Owen Smith said developer Taff Vale Limited emailed him to say receivers were being appointed.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council's  Labour leader leader Anthony Christopher said
 the authority was disappointed to learn of Taff Vale's collapse after the "considerable amount of effort and support we have given to facilitating this scheme".
Mr Christopher added:
 "The council will continue to work with those involved in the precinct site, including the Welsh government, to facilitate its redevelopment as part of our wider strategy for Pontypridd."
It is expected the land will be sold off by the receivers.
The private sector shopping precinct scheme is part of a wider regeneration of Pontypridd, including a rolling programme of refurbishing paving, street furniture and other infrastructure which has been taking place for around two years.

If Plaid or another Party had been controlling the council you could back your bottom Dollar that Owen Smith and his Assembly colleague  Mick Antoniw  would be condemning RCT from the roof tops.

For Own Smith its a huge embarrassment, he had tied himself to the redevelopment and he would have been jostling with the Council Leader to reselect in the glory when it was built.

Now all he can do is call for a rethink...
"Although a private site, I'm sure any developer would be interested to hear what local people would like to see on the site and all ideas should be considered," he said.
"We need to ask, do we want or need another shopping centre or is there something more imaginative that could be done for a site that's so important for the local community?
"Wales needs a contemporary Welsh art museum, so what about creating Tate on the Taff?
He added that Wales also needed a people's history and sport museum, and Pontypridd would be a first class location

He's right in that Ponty probably doesn't need a shopping centre of this type especially that rival towns had already many of these outlets.  But who is going to visit Pontypridd just to go to contemporary art gallery or Sports museum if there's nothing else there?

My suggestion would to build an open space plaza surrounded by small shops specialising in local products  perhaps even a twice weekly farmers market to complement and boost the existing declining  Market  in the Town..which use to be famous throughout not just Wales but the rest of the UK.

Ponty needs to be different A new centre dedicated to producers of local goods and crafts may be just what it needs.

But the Labour controlled council and Labour controlled assembly need to get their act together and its part of the MP (Own Smith) and AM (Mick Antoniw ) job to criticise them for failing to do so even if its their party ruining them.

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