Plans seem to be gathering pace for the new town centre development at Talbot Green. I will of course be holding off final judgement until I see the full plans when they come before RCT's Development Control committee but I have expressed my opinion on the over development of some areas in the past and it would appear that the developers have some way to go to convince many people that the idea of a new town centre is a good one.
The developers do have a record of plans in RCT that don't come to fruition however. Valad Development formerly Scarborough, formerly Teesland were granted permission in 2003 to build a Sainsbury's store and shopping centre on the site of the Taff Vale Precinct in Pontypridd. It did not go ahead with the proposal, apparently holding out for an injection of public money which never came.
In 2008 they were granted permission on appeal by the Labour First Minister to build on green belt land at Mwyndy. This proposal had caused much public outcry and was turned down twice by RCT's planning committee. The initial application was a joint one with the Welsh development Agency. The WDA has since been taken into the Assembly. Scarborough / Valad did not - thankfully - press ahead, at least not yet they haven't.
So now they have come up with yet another scheme. They want to build a new town centre for Talbot Green complete with cinemas, eateries, flats and houses, and civic facilities. This is all covered in the Local Development Plan which has already been adopted by RCT Council and so they would appear justified in their assumption that the administration will support this proposal. Whether or not it they will then actually build it remains to be seen.
New jobs and money being spent in the County Borough is usually something to be welcomed. However, there are questions which need to be asked. Can the area actually sustain this amount of extra development? Traffic congestion in the Talbot Green area is already a nightmare - and let's not forget that our only District General Hospital is situated near Talbot Green and access to it for anyone from the Pontypridd area is difficult enough now at peak times.
Also we should be looking at the effect such a development will have on our existing town centres. What will this do to Pontypridd? The Labour administration keep bragging about all they are investing in the town. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have expressed concerns that the so called regeneration is merely a cosmetic exercise and will not bring in extra business. If the Talbot Green proposal goes ahead then it may well be the final nail in the coffin for Pontypridd and certainly for smaller towns in RCT.
Cllr Mike Powell
Welsh Liberal Democrat Trallwn
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