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 History of Porthcawl (February 2020):
The Society has produced 3 reports under the general heading 'Porthcawl: Much More Than Meets the Eye' and and a fourth report will be completed as time permits. All reports are over 100 pages long. The 3 reports are now available for veiwing and downloading.
The following is a very brief synopsis of each report.
Stage 1 covers the early residential area of the town ie The Square, Dock Street, Hillsboro Place etc together with the history of the inner and outer docks, the Eastern Prom. the Jennings Warehouse and Cosy Corner.
b) Stage 11 Part A, covers Newton, Nottage and the western part of the Porthcawl It looks at the history of the Rest Home, Rest Bay, Locks Common and the Prom and some of the main buidings in that area. The deveopment of golf and sea sports is also examined
c) Stage 11, Part B, covers 'old Porthcawl', as well as South Road, John Street, Wells Street, Lias Road, Station Hill and New Road. It also includes the areas around Griffin Park, the fairground and Trecco Bay Holiday Park.
d) The final report will concentrate on those areas of the town that haven't previously been covered.
In order to download the reports, please go to the Home page
3. 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.
4 Porthcawl Regeneration (July 2018)
Copied below is a letter sent to the Porthcawl Town Council on 23rd July.2018
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.
5. Porthcawl Regeneration (October 2019)
Let’s start off on a positive note.
The sea defences for the Harbour area, the Eastern Prom and Sandy Bay seem well on the way and this will enable further development in Porthcawl. The plans for the Eastern Prom look very encouraging. If they come to fruition, they will considerably improve the sea front area for both residents and holiday makers. The proposal for tidying up Hillsboro car park and improving access to the town is also welcome. But, as an old Disney caption says, ’That’s all folks’
The real bone of contention remains the plan for developing Salt Lake car park. Briefly, the intention is to develop Salt Lake, Hillsboro car park and the Eastern Prom in phases, namely:
There are three main areas of concern.
It is the Society’s view, the side of Salt Lake running alongside the Portway should remain available for car parking. The side running alongside the Eastern Prom should be landscaped and left as an open community area. In the fullness of time, and after public consultation, the area could then be developed for leisure purposes. It is understood that there is a need for more housing, including social housing, and this should be concentrated on Sandy Bay which BCBC has already been earmarked for residential use.
On several occasions, the Society has called for a public meeting in order to discuss regeneration but BCBC have repeatedly declined such a request – presumably because they anticipate an unfavourable outcome.
6. Reegeneration (April 2020)
There has been a deathly silence from BCBC over the past 6 months or so with the result that there is little new to report. However, there are one or two matters to comment on.
First some positive news – the old Harlequin Building on Hillsboro car park has been saved. Unfortunately, due to its very poor state, the building has virtually had to be rebuilt but, as far as we can tell, the finished product will closely resemble the size and design of the original building. We have no information regarding the building’s future use.
Towards the end of last year the Society was informed that BCBC had set up a Regeneration Consultative Group although this had not been confirmed. However, in November 2019, the Wales Audit Office wrote to BCBC to say that an examination of the Porthcawl Resort Investment Focus Programme Delivery showed that ‘There is limited formal involvement and input to ensure that the full diversity of stakeholders is represented’. By ‘stakeholders’ we assume this should include local residents and their representatives. Given this, we consider it is reasonable that the Town Council and other local organisations such as the Civic Trust, should be included. In December, Suzy Davies, AM, wrote to Cllr Huw David, Leader of BCBC, to ask how BCBC intended to collaborate with stakeholders and community groups regarding the Masterplan for Porthcawl. In his reply, Cllr David states that ‘in July last year and earlier this month, sessions were held with a representative group of young people from Porthcawl Comprehensive School on planning for future development and land use allocations, within the Porthcawl regeneration area’ and we fully endorse this involvement of the youth of the town. However, it seems that the discussions concentrated almost entirely on the new Local Development Plan (LDP) and the main issue involved in the town’s regeneration ie the future of Salt Lake and Hillsboro car parks, was not included. Neither can it be said that these sessions can be regarded as a form of collaboration with stakeholders and community groups. In the second paragraph of Cllr David’s letter he states that ‘The Authority is always seeking to identify different ways of directly consulting with groups and organisations which don’t always engage in more traditional consultative events.’ Can this be interpreted as meaning that there will be no face to face meetings with the Town Council and other organisations such as the Civic Trust?
Despite the clear concerns expressed regarding the location of a new convenience store at the northern end of Salt Lake car park, there has been no indication that BCBC is prepared to reconsider the matter. As said in the past, the Society is well aware that there are mixed feelings about the need of another store and, as a result, the Executive Committee has to take a neutral stance. However, there is widespread agreement that any new store should be located as near to the town centre as possible. An item included in a planning brief put to councillors in July 2019, said that the new supermarket should improve the commercial vitality and viability of the town centre but, as yet, BCBC has been unable or unwilling to explain how the proposed location of the new store will achieve this aim. The fear is that shoppers will simply go to the new store, do their shopping and then return home. The proposed location of the store will do nothing to encourage shoppers to visit John Street once they have completed their main shop.
Another serious concern remains the considerable reduction in car parking spaces if, as intended, Salt Lake car park in urbanised. It is accepted that the car park is not always fully utilised but on warm sunny weekends (and with climate change the number is likely to increase) it is not unusual to see 200 or so cars making use of the space. And at certain times of the year e.g the Elvis Festival and the firework displays, the car park can be crowded. The loss of Salt Lake as a car park will put more pressure on the town car park and Hillsboro car park which, in turn, is likely to disadvantage local residents who drive into town to do their shopping. It is also likely to discourage visitors to the town who will find it increasingly difficult to find parking spaces. There are a number of supermarkets within a short drive from the town, each with ample car parking facilities, that are willing and able to take on additional trade. This will do nothing to support the commercial viability of local businesses. As a further point, we are concerned that the plans for Salt Lake could have a serious impact on the recreational ambience of Griffin Park. Although not in the pristine condition it has enjoyed in the past, Griffin Park is still a very important part of the town’s amenities, used by both younger children and as a ‘hang out’ place for teenagers who have few places of their own to meet.
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.