1. Data Protection: The only information held electonically by the Porthcawl Civic Trust Society is the email addresses of those
members who have expressed a willingness to receive information by email. Members' email addresses are not made available to third parties.
2.Developments in Newton (July 2018)
Copied below are two leaflets recenty delivered to all residents living in the Dan-y-Graig area of the town. The second leaflet caused some concern to a few people but, overall, the leaflets were well recieved and the Society attracted a number of new members as a result.
PORTHCAWL CIVIC TRUST SOCIETY
Registered Charity 51575 Founded 1970
Residents living in the Danygraig estate will be aware that Savills have made known their intention to seek planning consent for Barratts to build 190 houses at the east end of Danygraig Avenue on agricultural land . The Porthcawl Civic Trust Society has registered its objection to this proposal with Bridgend County Borough Council because it is in conflict with the Council’s policies regarding the protection of the countryside. Paragraph 4.1.8 of BCBC’s Local Development Plan 2006-21 defines the countryside as “ land outside of the town’s boundaries”and Paragraph 4.1.10 “The Council recognises the value which people place on the the countryside of the County Borough. Because of increasing pressures for rural development a robust planning policy is essential to reconcile such development will need to protect the countryside.”
In spite of this in May 2017 an Officer in BCBC’s Planning Department informed Savills that “The site, whilst Greenfield in nature and undeveloped is within an established residential area of Porthcawl. Given the modest number of dwellings proposed and the site’s location on the edge of an established residential area, a development of this size is not considered to have a significantly urbanising effect as this area is relatively urban in character”. Savills must have rejoiced at this statement.
The Society wrote to BCBC’s Planning Officer, pointing out that the proposed development would conflict with the Council’s own environmental policies and that the field that Savills wish to build on (13.2 acres) is outside the Porthcawl ward , the hedge which runs south to north at the east end of Danygraig Avenue being the boundary between Porthcawl and Merthyr Mawr.
The Society has now discovered a well camouflaged plan by BCBC to change the east boundary of Porthcawl which will bring Wig Fach and Tythegston into the Porthcawl Ward and, significantly, will bring the field at the end of Danygraig Avenue inside the Porthcawl town boundary. This proposal is in plans accompanying a Modification Order dealing with the “upgrading” of Public footpaths to Bridleways, mainly in the Merthyr Mawr and Candleston area.. The Society sees no reason for realigning the boundary to include the field on which Savills are proposing to build their 190 houses. Wig Fach & Tythegston could be included within the Porthcawl Ward by extending the boundary along the north side of the field. The Society is seriously concerned that the Council is preparing the ground to enable the residential settlement area of Danygraig to be extended to the east boundary of the field and to accommodate the proposed Savills development.
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE ABOVE PROPOSAL WRITE IMMEDIATELY TO :
Mr P.A Jolley, Operational & Partnership Service, Bridgend County Borough Council, Bridgend, CF31 4WB. The last day BCBC will accept objections is 16 May.
PORTHCAWL CIVIC TRUST SOCIETY
Registered Charity 51575 Founded 1970
web site: http://www.porthcawlcivictrustsociety.co.uk
BCBC’S PLANS FOR HORSES ON PUDDLE LANE
Porthcawl Civic Trust has unearthed plans by Bridgend County Borough Council to convert the Public Footpaths between Newton and Candleston/Merthyr Mawr to bridleways, open to horses and, potentially, motor bikes.
The proposals are contained within a “Legal Notice” which appeared in the “Glamorgan Gazette” on 22 March 2018. This was headed “Notice of making a Definitive Map Modification Order “. The notice refers to the “upgrading” of Public Footpath 24 Porthcawl to Bridleway 8 Merthyr Mawr and “upgrading” to a Bridleway Footpath 24 Porthcawl from Beach Road [Porthcawl].
The Legal Notice makes no mention of Public Footpaths 17 and 19. Footpath 19 (Puddle Lane”) is between Bryneglwys Avenue and The Burrows. Footpath 17 is the rough track behind the back gardens of Lime Grove.The Society has discovered that the Legal Notice covers the conversion of these footpaths into bridleways, which will be open to horses and allow unimpeded access to motor cycles by Modification Orders that have had little if any publicity. The intention is revealed in Modification Order No.2 2018.
BCBC tried to classify “Puddle Lane” as a bridleway in 1999 but changed its designation to Public Footpath following an objection by this Society and three local residents who considered the proposal to be extremely dangerous to pedestrians sharing the same limited space with horses. No reason has been given to justify this new attempt but we are aware of a claim that the footpath follows an ancient road between Newton and Candleston, used by horse and cart in times long past. We have not seen any evidence that supports this but even if there is the population in the area has grown significantly with the development of the Danygraig estate and this must be the main consideration. Public Footpath 19 (“Puddle Lane”) between Bryneglwys Avenue and The Burrows is used daily by pedestrians, including mothers with prams and young children. The paved Footpath is narrow, (4.9ft), no wider
than street pavements and that between Birch Walk and The Burrows is narrow and fenced on both sides so that there is no refuge to avoid close proximity with horses using the same space. There have been instances when horses have unseated their riders and bolted: there is no guarantee that this would never happen if they are allowed access to the two paved footpaths. Footpath 17 is a rough, narrow footpath between wild vegetation which limits the space available to avoid close proximity to oncoming horses. There are alternative routes that could be chosen that would provide the horse-riders access from the dunes to Newton without causing a significant risk of injury to pedestrians.
The Society believes that BCBC’s proposed changes of Footpath 19 & 17 to a bridleway is reckless and fraught with danger and that it should be opposed. The Society will object to it but it needs the support of local residents who use the footpaths and who object to their conversion to bridleway. If you share our concern please write to Mr. P.A..Jolley, Corporate Director, Operational & Partnership Services, Bridgend County Borough Council, Civic Offices, Bridgend CF31 4WB by 16 May 2018.
3, PORTHCAWL REGENERATION (JULY 2018)
Copied below is a letter sent to the Porthcawl Town Council on 23rd July.
Dear Councillor Clarke
I think you will agree that the strong public attendance at the town council meeting held on 14th June demonstrates the real interest that Porthcawl residents have in the future of their town. Few, if any, will have gone home singing the praises of Councillor Charles Smith and Andrew Parry Jones.
We fully understand the problems that BCBC face but, nevertheless, when considering any regeneration of the town, the priority must be that such regeneration will benefit both residents and visitors The plans put forward on 14th June ignore this important aim. So let’s look at the proposals in a little more detail.
There was some good news in that the Eastern Prom will be given a new lease of life, improvements will be made to Hillsboro Car Park and, seemingly, the Harlequin building will be saved (more about this later). Just about everything else was a disappointment. To quote some of the comments made by members of the Society, the plans are ‘horrific’, ‘a disaster’, ‘lacking in imagination, and will ’sink any idea of Porthcawl being a premier seaside resort’.
There are bound to be mixed opinions about the planned supermarket. Responses from our members on this issue have been limited, but those who have commented have all been against the idea of a second supermarket, mainly because of the perceived adverse effect on other businesses in the town. At the meeting on 14th June, councillors discussed the problem of the reduced footfall in John Street and there is concern that a second supermarket on Salt Lake will do nothing to reverse this trend, especially as it will be placed away from the town centre. As it is, a number of shops in John Street have recently closed or are due for closure. However, this is not a simple matter and it is recognised that many of our members would welcome the additional choice and competition that a second supermarket will bring to the town.
It is shameful that BCBC councillors are so lacking in vision that they regard Porthcawl as a town which will only attract a ‘budget’ hotel which, we understand, is to be sited on the present car parking area at the end of Dock Street. This indicates a real lack of confidence in the town. Surely, if there is to be a hotel, it needs to be more upmarket, most preferably with conference facilities. The future of the Harlequin building seems to be dependent on the building of this hotel. What will happen to the Harlequin building if the hotel doesn’t materialize?
Councillor Charles Smith also mentioned the possibility of building a second, boutique hotel. According to the report on in the Gazette, there is a proposal to build this hotel on the former Dunraven Flats and Glamorgan Holiday Home sites which would certainly make good use of that unsightly area and, presumably, would not take up any precious car parking spaces. At the meeting on 14th June, Councillor Smith seemed to suggest that the building of this second hotel will be dependent on some form of assurance that the Royal Porthcawl Golf Club will attract regular important competitions. How such an assurance can be obtained is unclear.
The proposal to build 4 or 5 storey blocks of flats on Salt Lake is beyond words, especially as the Society has been advised by a local estate agent that these would not be easy to sell The Society had hoped that, with the Evans families out of the equation, BCBC would come up with improved plans for Salt Lake car park but our hopes have been dashed. Again, according to the report in the Gazette, Councillor Smith has stated that housing to be built behind the supermarket is likely to be ‘quite dense’. It would be useful if we could see a map showing exactly where the housing is to be built.
This leaves the vague idea of some form of leisure facility which may be built in 5 years, 10 years time? The report in the Gazette suggests that, initially, the land set aside for this purpose could be leased out and possibly be used as a skating rink in the winter and for housing a big wheel in the summer. We need to have far more details about this development before we are convinced that it will ever come into fruition.
And car parking!! One thing that isn’t included in the Gazette’s report is the admission by Councillor Charles Smith that there will be a reduction in car parking facilities available in the town. Salt Lake will no longer be available as a car park and some of the spaces at the Hillsboro Place car park will need to be set aside for the budget hotel. We cannot see how adding car parking spaces to the Portway will ease the problem. I’m sure that it is unnecessary to set out the difficulties that will be caused by any reduction in car parking - this is clear to everyone except, it seems, BCBC planners.
So, this is the message we will be sending out:
Come to Porthcawl. Come and see our new blocks of flats, our dense housing, our new supermarket and our budget hotel But don’t come by car because there’s nowhere to park.
Another important aspect not mentioned by BCBC is the need to have an integrated transport system, in the form of a light railway or Metro linking Porthcawl with Bridgend and beyond. This would, at least, go some way to overcoming the car parking problem the town already faces at certain times of the year.
So what would the Society like to see?
While it is relatively easy to say what the town doesn’t want, it is more difficult to express what residents would like to see. Ask 100 people to express their views and there would probably be 100 different replies.
The Society’s view, which has broad support from its members, is that, as far as possible, Salt Lake should be split into two, with the area alongside the Portway being used for car parking and the area alongside the Eastern Prom being landscaped and left as an amenity area. This would leave sufficient open space to allow for some form of leisure facility to be built at a later date
We suggest that BCBC produce both a map and a costing for the improvements to Hillsboro car park and the Eastern Prom as well as for the plans that we have suggested for Salt Lake, bearing in mind the revenue that BCBC would attract from the car parking elements. Add to this the £3m which BCBC wish to recover from buying out the Evans families. Once this costing has been produced, BCBC should then put fresh proposals and/or alternatives to the town. These should be set out at a town meeting which BCBC have, so far, refused to consider.
The Society would welcome the opportunity to discuss these proposals with the Town Council and would be happy to arrange a meeting at your convenience. If BCBC is adamant that there is no alternative but to press ahead with the ideas already put forward or continues with its decision not to call a town meeting, the Society suggests that our two organisations call such a meeting which we are confident would be well attended.
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make Porthcawl into the best it can be.
Don’t let’s waste it.
4. John Street toilets (October 2018)
The following letter has been sent to Darren Mepham, CEO, BCBC
PORTHCAWL CIVIC TRUST SOCIETY
Registered Charity No.51575 Founded 1970
Mr Darren Mepham
Chief Executive Officer
Bridgend County Borough Council
Dear Mr Mepham
JOHN STREET, PORTHCAWL, PUBLIC CONVENIENCES
IMPACT OF PROPOSED CLOSURE
For many years leading Bridgend County Borough Councillors have proclaimed their determination that Porthcawl will become the “Premier Seaside Resort of South Wales”. As far back as the days of Ogwr Borough Council this ambition was declared by the then Mayor. More recently Bridgend County Borough Council Cabinet members have made similar assertions.
BCBC’s announcement on September 20th that the John Street and Griffin Park toilets will close in January unless the Town Council takes over their maintenance has blown a gigantic hole in that promise. The fact that Porthcawl is principally a residential town significantly supported by visitors not only from other parts of the U.K but also from abroad, does not appear to have been given any consideration in the decision to close a basic requirement in any visitor provision.
The tax receipts that Bridgend County Borough Council extracts from the residents, shopkeepers and other businesses in Porthcawl form a significant proportion of the cash that it spends on its Councillors & staff wages, projects in other towns in the Borough and the mysterious decision to pay £11.3 million to the City Deal from which it appears that not one penny will be spent on improving transport links to Porthcawl.
Those officers and councillors in BCBC who are proposing the closure of the John Street public conveniences do not appear to have considered the consequences. The most basic provision of “A Premier Seaside Resort” is the availability of conveniently situated toilets and in Porthcawl this can only be in John Street, the town’s main shopping street where most visitors and residents congregate. These residents and visitors, many of whom are older shoppers or children, who we hope will keep the shops and cafes in Porthcawl in business and possibly in the future a “Premier Seaside Resort”, are in more frequent need of these facilities and need that basic provision. Those who come from afar will certainly expect it –or will not come again. The John Street public toilets are an essential requirement for the town’s (and Bridgend’s) income and the suggestion by BCBC that Griffin Park or the Pavilion will serve this function is an indication of the lack of awareness or indifference of those in the Bridgend Civic Offices.
BCBC is trying to transfer the expense of providing public conveniences to the Town Council. This is a failure of its own responsibilities. BCBC already extracts the proceeds of the car parks and taxes from the residents: what it now seeks will force the Town Council to raise the local precept rates still further which will, of course be an additional burden on the town’s residents who are now contributing significantly to BCBC ’s income.
The John Street toilets do not earn an income but they do contribute by the service they provide to the presence and return of large numbers of visitors and to the viability of John Street as a shopping area. For that reason they must remain the sole responsibility of the County Borough Council which benefits financially from those visitors. It does appear that those who have made the decision to remove this basic requirement for a successful visitor location have not joined the two considerations together. This Society, therefore, urges Bridgend County Borough Council to withdraw its proposed closure.
Mrs Caroline Vaughan
Copyright: Porthcawl Civic Trust Society 2017
If anyone has any comments on the Trust’s work or any matter that they would like to bring to the attention of the Trust, please do not hesitate to email or contact one of the members of the committee.