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Former M&S store in Pontypridd set to be demolished

Ongoing work at the former M&S and Dorothy Perkins sites in Pontypridd Town Centre is now transitioning to the main demolition phase – and will retain largely the same site arrangements as in recent months.

The Council’s Pontypridd Placemaking Plan has identified core ambitions for the town, including a ‘Southern Gateway’ that brings key sites back into use through exciting projects. Redevelopment of the M&S, Dorothy Perkins and Burtons sites (97-99a and 100-102 Taff Street) provides an opportunity to improve the public realm and open the townscape towards the river.

Welsh Government has provided £1.283m funding to demolish the buildings, equating to 70% of the cost – and contractor Walters Ltd started initial work on site in March 2023 to disconnect services, remove fixtures and fittings and segregate waste streams. This preparatory phase of work is now complete.

All relevant consents for demolishing the buildings have been obtained, and the site activity is now progressing to the main demolition phase.

Town centre visitors will shortly notice increased work to remove the buildings’ roofs. However, the day-to-day disruption to the public is anticipated to remain the same, as the work stays contained within the hoardings around the site. Heavy specialist demolition equipment will need to be delivered to the site – this will take place at around 6am on Wednesday, June 21, and is anticipated to cause minimal disruption.

The nearby access to Ynysangharad War Memorial Park remains open, while site security will continue to be present outside of working hours. All waste material being removed from the site will continue to be recycled responsibly. A more aesthetically-pleasing hoarding will also be erected around the works area, which will be similar to the bingo hall site and include viewing windows.

The demolition phase will be completed by the end of autumn 2023, and Walters Ltd continues to work hard to minimise disruption to the town centre. The contractor’s latest project newsletter will be sent to businesses shortly.

Councillor Mark Norris, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Prosperity, said: “Work to prepare the old M&S and Dorothy Perkins sites for the main demolition phase has progressed well since March, and I’m pleased the main phase of work is getting underway. While town centre visitors will notice increased activity from this point, the site arrangements and general disruption is likely to remain much the same.

“This is a very exciting stage of the project, as the demolition of the buildings will demonstrate the potential of moving the townscape towards the river. It will show the size of the site, and also expose the tremendous views over Ynysangharad War Memorial Park. Last year’s consultation showed overwhelming support for the Council’s vision of a riverside development with commercial and retail opportunities. It will include infrastructure for pop-up markets and street food outlets, and will greatly improve upon the current approach to the park access.

“This project is part of the Pontypridd Placemaking Plan, which was agreed by Cabinet last year to continue to invest in the town centre through several core ambitions. This includes the ‘Southern Gateway’ vision, which includes the M&S site and the former bingo hall development. An update to Cabinet in May 2023 outlined an updated plan to create a high-quality public realm on the bingo hall site. A small section of the site will be used for additional bus bays to better integrate bus and rail journeys following the South Wales Metro introduction.

“Around £115m has been previously invested in the town via the Pontypridd Regeneration Framework (2017-2022). This investment included delivery of the Llys Cadwyn buildings and the Cwrt yr Orsaf extra care facility, and making progress towards the ongoing Pontypridd YMCA, Muni Arts Centre and Ynysangharad War Memorial Park improvements.

“While progress continues on site towards demolishing the former M&S and Dorothy Perkins sites, important activity is taking place behind the scenes for the development’s next stages. The Council is working with a specialist multi-disciplinary group over the redevelopment proposals, to design a project that is viable and deliverable, while maximising the site’s unique potential.

“I’d like to thank residents, local businesses, and town centre visitors for their continued cooperation as these works take place. The Council will continue to work closely with its contractor to minimise disruption to the local community.”