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The need for the regeneration of Porthcawl

This is an article for the Glamorgan Gazette

Two weeks ago I met representatives of Porthcawl First to discuss the latest developments regarding Bridgend Council's regeneration plans for Porthcawl.

Like many others I am concerned as to what is going to happen now that Morrisons Supermarket has pulled out. Without an anchor store it is questionable whether the Council will be able to raise the funds to pay for the infrastructure works necessary to develop this part of the town.

There is an understandable sense of grievance amongst Porthcawl residents. They pay the highest council tax of any part of the County Borough and yet, consistently, investment decisions pass them buy.

Large amounts of public money have been invested in regenerating other communities in the Bridgend council area, yet when it comes to Porthcawl, the local authority relies on securing capital receipts from commercial investment.

This is not necessarily a bad thing if it works, however in the current economic climate it has proved difficult to sustain. It is little wonder that regeneration in Porthcawl has been stop-start for the best part of a decade and longer.

What is important if we are to rescue this situation is that all parties engage with each other in a positive way. Certainly, members of Porthcawl First expressed a desire to do so and as a result of this discussion I will be seeking a meeting with senior officers in Bridgend Council to get a briefing on how they plan to take regeneration forward and to offer what assistance I can.

As a postscript I note that the Welsh Government has just allocated £5.978 million pounds to Bridgend Council as part of their Vibrant and Viable Places regeneration fund. They say that they will now enter into a detailed discussion with the Council on how this money is to be spent and how it can be used to lever in additional funds.

This money is to be used to assist in key areas in town centres across Wales. I do not yet know what the Bridgend bid spent in Porthcawl.

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