Welcome news recently that at last developers have started to tear down the Taff Vale Precinct as a prelude to developing a brand new retail centre in Pontypridd. But people have every right to be sceptical after waiting for over 30 years for promised redevelopment.
What exactly are we going to end up with here? The history of the site is long and has promised all sorts – major chain stores, hotels, restaurants, offices. At one stage even the relocation of the Council HQ to make Pontypridd the county town.
In 2007 planning consent was granted for a scheme that would have provided over 400,000 sq ft of new retail space, residential apartments and leisure accommodation including a hotel. The Pontypridd Observer reported that ‘PONTYPRIDD’S “ugly duckling” Taff Vale shopping centre could be transformed into an elegant hotel, apartments and offices and modern shopping complex .’
As stated on the developers’ website “shortly thereafter a downturn in the property market began.” So new plans were cobbled together which provided for a far less attractive development with a much smaller retail area and a ‘budget’ hotel provided for in phase 2.
Six new shops are planned of various sizes – not a lot to regenerate what is supposedly the County Town. Worryingly developers Riddell state they have let only two of the units. There is no mention at all of ‘phase 2’ or the planned hotel anywhere on either their website or the RCT press release.Meanwhile we have also seen this past week an announcement of a planning application to build a new town in Talbot Green
At this rate Ponty will be lucky to end up with a couple of new market stalls and a hot dog stand,