Precinct Plans

Right on cue – just before the Welsh Assembly elections – Labour-run RCT council have unveiled plans for the derelict 1960s Taff Vale Precinct in Pontypridd town centre, which the council has owned for a year and so far done nothing with.

This month though the council has released two designs of buildings which could be built on the site.

precinct_plan_16

And although the proposed developments look pretty awful I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

After asking the public for their views it appears that the council have ignored them and gone for a fairly boring, unadventurous design as opposed to the old Victorian facades that many residents asked for. The new design may well fit in with the new YMCA design but will be very different to the old buildings opposite, so I guess compromises have to be made. Can’t see any obvious solar panels on the buildings either?

In the recent past, many attempts to revitalise the precinct have failed. Mainly due to the lack of vision of past council leaders and the threat of car parking in the War Memorial Park, although as we write this it seems there are more cars parked in the ‘people’s park’ than ever before.

Councillor Morgan said that the council is looking to see if a second bridge connecting Ynyangharad Park to the town centre can be built. Not sure if he’s been to Ponty lately but we already have two bridges from town into the park so this would actually be a third bridge!  Maybe someone has shares in a bridge-making company?

He is right to say that the river is an asset to the town though and that is why housing on top of the shop units must face the river and park. We have been saying this since before 1998 of course.

“The council has been working with London firm Knight Frank, Gaunt Francis Architects, and Atkins to produce options for what is possible upon the site.”

Why there is any ‘significant commercial sensitivity’ to this project though remains a mystery unless this is some sort of development deal that hasn’t gone out to tender yet.

Ponty MP Owen Smith voted for Knight Frank to work on the HS2 link from London to Birmingham incidentally.

The council does say that updates will be provided ‘when appropriate’, whatever this means, so we wait with bated breath!

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