Cabinet approves plans to acquire vital regeneration land

The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council has agreed to use compulsory purchase orders to acquire several pockets of land needed as part of Porthcawl’s ongoing regeneration.

The sites, which are located in and around the Sandy Bay and Coney Beach area, include the former model village and ‘monster park’, parts of Sandy Lane and Rhych Avenue, the stepped revetment wall at Sandy Bay, a former electricity substation and several pockets of unregistered land.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “The compulsory purchase of these sites is the next step in our ongoing commitment towards delivering long-term, sustainable regeneration within Porthcawl.

“As part of our future regeneration plans, we want to create new retail, residential, recreational and open space opportunities within the Coney Beach and Sandy Bay areas.

“While those plans are still a long way off, completing this process now will ensure that there are no stumbling blocks in our way when the time comes to make them a reality.

“As there were a flurry of unsubstantiated rumours the last time CPOs were mentioned, I would like to clarify several issues surrounding this process.

“First of all, we are not about to flatten the old Monster Park to make way for a new bypass, nor is anyone about to get-rich-quick from its sudden development.

“We have been working closely with the owners of the local fun fair as they hold a leasehold interest in the site, but the freehold interest for the Monster Park is held separately by a family trust.

“Once the site has been independently assessed by a Welsh Government-appointed evaluator, any compulsory purchase will require the freeholder to be compensated not by the council, but by the leaseholder.

“In other words, this is the main area where a compensatory payment will need to be made as part of the CPO process, and it is not being paid by the council.

“That process will also mean that the local authority will acquire the freehold interest in the site.

“Secondly, before any development takes place, the site will be subject to ecological surveys, transport assessments, the application of relevant planning policies and all of the usual planning processes. The CPO does not override the planning process, and nor should it be allowed to.

“Thirdly, I’m aware that people have rightly wondered what the impact of new regeneration might be on car parking within the town. As part of a future placemaking proposal, a car parking strategy is in development which is destined for further public consultation.

“I should also point out that under the terms of the Local Development Plan, we would not allow any developments to move forward unless they could demonstrate that they had fit-for-purpose car parking plans in place.

“Finally, I want to confirm that existing businesses such as the Hi Tide or the Trecco Bay Holiday Park are not affected by the CPOs, and that they will be able to continue to operate as normal.

“When we talk about the regeneration of the waterfront area, we are really discussing everything from Rest Bay down to Newton Beach. This includes Salt Lake and the Sandy Bay / Coney Beach areas, and we want the proposals to form part of an overall masterplan for connectivity and placemaking within Porthcawl.

“Launching the CPOs to ensure that this land is available is the first stage of what will inevitably be a long process, but I am confident that it is absolutely the right thing to do, and will come to be regarded as an important step in unlocking the future regeneration potential of Porthcawl.”

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