Bargoed's Big Idea Becomes a Reality
Construction work on the retail element of the Bargoed Town Centre Regeneration project is set to begin next month, with Simons Group having recently exchanged the development agreement with Caerphilly Council on the £24 million scheme.
There will no doubt be stories this weekend that will grab more attention in South Wales, but once any short-term economic boost delivered by a victorious World Cup campaign fizzles out; the region would still be festering in dire economic circumstances.
The development has already delivered a new £25 million by-pass known as Angel Way to the East of the town centre, and a modern transport hub in northern Bargoed. The retail plateau is undoubtedly the crux of the project, and will provide a new Morrison's superstore measuring 56,000 sq ft and 7 supplementary retail units ranging from 1,700 sq ft to 5,250 sq ft. Perhaps the figure that will matter most to locals, however, is the provision of an estimated 300 new jobs in an area that suffered enormously following the recession, and is still lagging behind most areas of the U.K. in its recovery.
This video was produced in January 2011, highlighting the areas of the town to benefit from the scheme. Below are artists' impressions of how the new retail plateau will look:
I believe the key to the success of the scheme so far is it's viability. EGi reported today on a retail development site in Newcastle which has stalled, then re-started, and then stalled again - before being bought outright this year....and then stalling. The partnership of Simons and the Council, by contrast, have carefully tailored the project to the needs of Bargoed. It is a clear example of rejecting over-ambition in favour of realism - hopefully this will provide a template from which other developers can take inspiration.
For more info on the scheme, visit the official site here.
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