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Plans for The Big Shed development in Tonypandy approved

Exciting proposals to transform the old Co-op site in Tonypandy are now approved by Welsh Government – as RHA Housing aims to revitalise the site through a £13m mixed-use development, supported by the Council.

The Big Shed scheme will bring the site at Dunraven Street back into use, after it has remained empty for around a decade since the closure of the Co-op store in 2012. RHA Wales acquired the derelict property in 2019 and has since been putting plans in place for its regeneration – to improve the area and provide the community with a vibrant town centre location that they can be proud of.

RHA Wales received full planning permission for the development in February 2022 from the Planning and Development Committee. The permission covers two main elements of the project – the first is a partial demolition of the Co-op store to build three new retail units. These will accommodate a convenience store, a Bistro and office space, and will be accessed from Dunraven Street.

The second is the construction of a five-storey block containing 51 apartments of which eight are dedicated for adults with learning disabilities, along with staff accommodation. The residential areas will be accessed via Bridge Street. All homes will achieve EPC A and will comply with all Welsh Government funding requirements.

The planning permission also covers associated works including drainage and landscaping improvements, while the development will include 52 off-street parking spaces for the use of residents living within the new housing block.

RHA Wales has appointed Bridgend-based contractor Jehu Group to complete the construction, with work set to start on site this summer. With the total scheme costs being circa £13m, it has benefitted from £5.3m funding via Welsh Government’s Social Housing Grant for the residential areas and £550,000 from Integrated Care Funding. The remaining costs will be paid by RHA Wales Group Ltd.

Councillor Mark Norris, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Prosperity, said: “I’m very pleased that the Council is supporting this RHA Housing scheme, to revitalise a prominent site that is in great need of investment. The development is sustainable and includes a mix of retail use and high-quality affordable housing, benefitting from multi-million pound contributions from both RHA Housing and Welsh Government.

“The development received full consent from the Council’s Planning and Development Committee earlier this year, with officers recommending the application for approval as it will improve the vitality and public realm within Tonypandy Town Centre, provide affordable accommodation, and have a positive social and economic impact locally. It has subsequently been fully-approved by Welsh Government, and is ready for delivery by RHA Wales.

“A similar redevelopment scheme is ongoing to Abertonllwyd House in Treherbert, which is also benefitting from important Social Housing Grant funding. The Council recently provided an update on that scheme, which is nearing conclusion. The Abertonllwyd House and The Big Shed projects in the Rhondda show the continued positive partnership between the Council, RHA Wales and Welsh Government – to provide social housing and regeneration investment in our communities through key, targeted projects.

“With work due to start on site at Dunraven Street in Tonypandy shortly, the Council will provide a further progress update to residents in due course.”

Rhianydd Jenkins, Director of Development and Regeneration at RHA Wales Group Ltd added: “Our proposals for the site are deliberate. Our aspiration is to complement the town, rather than to compete with existing businesses and offerings within the locality, because of this our proposed commercial areas will provide spaces that are presently not available within Tonypandy.

“The Big Shed is just one of our regeneration projects within the town, and we are absolutely committed to supporting and sustaining regeneration in the long term. As an anchor organisation we are in this for the long haul, and it’s important to us that the work we do now provides the platform for our future generations to build from and create a thriving town once again.”