In 2010 Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council was awarded a £24.2 million investment to transform Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre. Funded through the Heads of the Valley Programme, Targeted Match Funding and ERDF, the Town Centre Regeneration Programme aims to maximise access to the Town Centre whilst developing a welcoming environment for residents and visitors.
In 2011, residents and businesses were asked to shape the regeneration programme. Over the course of two weeks, local people discussed the changes they felt were needed and identified the following schemes as priorities for transforming Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre.
- Building Enhancement Scheme
- River Taff Central Link and Bridge
- Railway Station Access
- Gilar Street
- Multi Storey Car Park
- Penderyn Square
- Improving the Town Centre Approaches
Over the next two years work will be carried out implementing these schemes and developing the Town Centre so that it meets the needs of residents, visitors and businesses.
Building Enhancement Scheme
The Building Enhancement Scheme (BES) is available to businesses located within Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre. The scheme offers up to 50% grant funding for building renovations and improvements to external street frontages which are in keeping with the age and style of the property. As a result, the schemes achievements contribute to the general environment and enhancement of the area; creating a Town Centre that is vibrant and attractive to both visitors and investors.
Priority areas for the scheme are:
- High Street
- Glebeland Street
- Castle Street
- Wheatsheaf Lane
River Taff Central Link and Bridge
The River Taff Central Link is a new road system that will connect Merthyr Learning Quarter at the existing Penry Street Bridge, through Avenue De Clichy, across a new road bridge located south of Swan Street, and then through a new road in front of the College. Many of the current traffic lights will be removed with the road being designated one way, similar to a roundabout, and limited to a speed of 20mph. This will ensure a constant flow of traffic around the road system, priority lanes for buses and better access into the Town Centre.
Work will begin in Summer 2013 and will last approximately 18 months. As part of this development there will be disruptions particularly in the College/Shoppers car park. The development of a Multi Storey Car Park in Castle Street will be completed prior to the start of the River Taff Central Link, to minimise parking disruptions. Throughout the development there will be lane closures although it is not expected that roads will be closed.
Railway Station Access
Access from the Railway Station through Masonic Street will be opened up to make a safer and cleaner environment that is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The Railway Club building will be demolished as part of the development, opening up access to Broad Street Car Park and the Cafe Quarter, making it easier to move around the southern end of town.
This project is not expected to start until Autumn 2013; more information on this development and potential disruptions will be available next year.
Over recent years the area around the Robert and Lucy Thomas Memorial Fountain on Lower High Street has been developed to create a community space where events have been held, including Christmas and the Olympic Torch Relay. This will be developed further, extending the event space into the small car park on the left of Gilar Street. The larger events area will enable the town to attract a wider range of markets.
Work will begin on the 19th November 2012, and will be finished by February 2013. The work will temporarily take some of the car parking area in the Broad Street car park to house the site compound. Access to and from Broad Street car park will not be effected.
Multi Storey Car Park
A new three level multi storey car park will be developed in the lower half of the existing Castle Street Car Park, behind Oldway House. Accommodating over 250 parking spaces, including 12 disabled bays, the car park will have CCTV, card payment options and an open stairwell; making it easier and safer to park in Merthyr Tydfil.
Work will begin in January 2013, with completion due in June 2013. The majority of the building will be made off site and fitted as a modular structure; it is expected that the lower half of Castle Street Car Park will be closed for the duration of the works. Access to the top half of Castle Street Cark Park will be through Castle Yard. It is advised that visitors and residents use the College/Shoppers Car Park for the duration of the works.
As part of the Heritage Quarter development, a new civic square outside the renovated Old Town Hall will be a key focal point for the cultural identity of Merthyr Tydfil. The square will be a vibrant environment that will host events across the year celebrating the heritage of the town. Traffic will still be able to move from Pontmorlais through to Church Street; however there will no longer be vehicular access to Castle Street.
Work will begin in Summer 2013; more information on this development and potential disruptions will be available next year.
Improving the Town Centre Approaches
Work has been completed on three projects to improve the Town Centre approaches.
The Iron Town Link is a new footbridge and path connecting the Welsh Government offices to the Town Centre. Completed in July 2012, the new route already has 200 people using it a day.
The Penydarren Viewing Platform, on the A4102 directly above the Trevithick Trading Estate, overlooks the original Penydarren Ironworks. Completed in November 2012, the viewing platform shows how the Ironworks would have looked liked and how they would have worked.
The Joseph Parry Gateway along Bethesda Street was completed in May 2012 and incorporates soft landscaping and lighting to offer a bright and colourful entry point to the Town Centre.
New Welcome to Merthyr Tydfil signage have been installed at key points on the A465 and A470.