The Corporate Director Communities presented a report informing Cabinet of the development of the Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan and the outcome of the public consultation process which concluded on 1st March 2021. The Corporate Director Communities also requested that Cabinet agree the proposed next steps in approving the final plan.
The Corporate Director Communities gave the background to the Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan. The Masterplan would be a dynamic long-term planning document that offered a theoretical layout, building on the Town’s many strengths, to guide future regeneration and growth.
The Corporate Director Communities outlined what was included in the Masterplan and she explained that it was deliberately ambitious and set out a series of deliverable and aspirational projects over the short, medium and long term. The consultation took place over a 12 week period from 7th December 2020 to 1st March 2021. There were 1402 interactions received from a combination of survey completions, social media engagements, emails and letters and engagement sessions. In total, there were 51 questions and comments and opinions were also welcomed via social media. The webpage received 1,549 total link clicks, with the explainer video being viewed 10,673 times. Appendix C to the report was the full Consultation Report, detailing all responses to all questions and all comments and themes of engagement from social media and the engagement sessions.
The Corporate Director Communities provided some headline responses and reported that the vast majority of responses were positive and saw the opportunities presented as constructive for the Town Centre. She added that there would be a meeting in July with partners regarding the entrance to the railway station.
The Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration reported that he had been involved in discussions with a number of different groups about the masterplan and the general public had been included in the consultation. The findings were consistent and all very positive and supportive of the concept.
The Cabinet Member for Communities reported that this was an ambitious report and plan for the town centre and he looked forward to seeing some of the outcomes as it progressed over the years.
The Leader explained that as demonstrated by the next agenda item, this was an example of ambition turning into reality. He was happy with the level of engagement and happy to support the Masterplan and that it would be aligned with the LDP. They were working closely with WG as one of the key partners and one of the key funding organisations and would continue to do so.
The Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help said that as one of the local members, she was aware of this on different levels. They would be working with local residents and were aware there would be issues and concerns raised which they would look at and consider. A number of residents lived directly surrounding the town centre area. Bridgend was a very vibrant town centre with a diverse, healthy mix of residents, traders and community facilities and they wanted to keep it that way.
The Leader added that it was heartening to see that even though they had lost some businesses from the town, other businesses were opening all the time.
The Corporate Director Communities assured residents that nothing would go ahead without planning permission and that as part of that process, they would consult widely again. There would be plenty of opportunity for residents to get involved and for the Council to understand their views.
The Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration replied that it was not about bulldozers and that the term, Masterplan referred to a vision and taking the community forward to modernise what’s there, use the heritage and take forward. He believed this was appreciated by local residents
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
· Endorsed the consultation results and confirmed these results could be fed into the Consultation Note within the Masterplan document.
· Approved a review of the policy section within the Masterplan to ensure alignment with the new LDP.
Welcomed a future report to sign off the final document and receive an update of progress made on key projects.