TWO long-term development projects in Bridgend will be submitted to the UK Government’s Levelling Up programme this month for funding that would enable a number of improvements to be made.
The submissions chosen for the programme are the re-development of the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, as well as the rebuilding of the Penprysg railway bridge in Pencoed.
In both cases, councillors say the work would have an overwhelmingly positive impact that could “offer many benefits to residents all over the county borough”.
The Levelling Up programme was announced by the UK Government in 2019, and aims to spread opportunity more equally across the UK. It also looks to support cultural investment, such as helping to maintain and regenerate museums, galleries, visitor attractions and other heritage assets.
In Porthcawl, the project to re-develop the Grand Pavilion has been in development since 2016, when Awen Cultural Trust began a study into enhancing the Grade II-listed building.
The main aims of the renewal are to address the condition of the building’s concrete structure, while also improving heritage and library services for residents.
The proposed new facilities in the pavillion are function spaces on the Esplanade level, along with new rooftop function and cafe spaces.
There would also be a new studio theatre, and improved facilities, including a new changing places facility.
A spokesperson for Bridgend Council said: “The re-development of the Grand Pavilion clearly represents an opportunity for a flagship and legacy capital scheme. It is also a key component of the wider Porthcawl Regeneration
In Pencoed, the Penprysg railway bridge proposal has also been a long-standing project for Bridgend Council and is included in the current Local Development Plan.
The Pencoed level crossing is on the South Wales mainline railway route, though when it is in operation, locals say it causes a build up of road traffic, leading to significant congestion in the town centre.
Because of this, the project would look to put in a new bridge on Penprysg road, widening it so it can accommodate two-way traffic, and leading to the eventual closure of the railway level crossing. There will also be a new active travel bridge for pedestrians and cyclists to use.
Pencoed Town Council member Jim Hancock said he was happy there was now consideration for the issues at both the crossing and bridge.
He said: “We have been campaigning for something to be done about this for almost 14 years so we are happy that it is being considered. Everybody agrees that it needs doing as there have been concerns expressed from residents about the pollution from cars building up when the crossing is in use.”
Cllr Neelo Farr, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said both projects would offer positives for people across Bridgend.
She said: “These projects can offer many benefits to residents all over the county borough. The Grand Pavilion is part of the fabric of Porthcawl and the Levelling Up programme presents a fantastic opportunity to preserve its status for generations to come, whilst improving facilities even further.
“The Penprysg railway bridge also has many positives and would help to improve traffic in the area as well as creating better routes for pedestrians and cyclists. The community will also benefit by fresh investment on the land unlocked by the work.
“We are also working on an additional bid for the Ogmore constituency, which we will look to submit in the next round of bidding.”