Revamped plans for a maritime centre in Porthcawl have been given the green light by councillors after an earlier version was scaled back.
The original £7m project went over the spending cap for European funding. The new £5.5m complex proposes a coastal science and discovery centre, cafe, wine bar and microbrewery for Porthcawl’s Cosy Corner site. A report approved by Bridgend councillors last week said it would transform the harbourside.
A memorial to the 47 victims of the Samtampa tragedy of 1947 – in which a ship ran aground at nearby Sker Point during a gale – is also proposed.
This development follows the regeneration of Porthcawl Harbour with the recently developed Jenning’s building, as well as the proposed new watersport hub and cafe at Rest Bay. Further recent developments includes the transformation of the Rest home into new seafront accommodation.
With worries about Porthcawl being unable to retain its younger population, this regeneration project is set to reverse that trend.
Council planning officers said permission would be a vital step in being able to secure the cash, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service. The main building will also include space for the Sea Cadets, the Welsh Surfing Federation, the harbourmaster’s offices and the armed forces charity, SSAFA.
The new proposal replaces the previously approved idea of a building with three towers and large amounts of curved glass which was closer to the Esplanade wall. The site will also include an outdoor performance space with seating.
A report to councillors on Bridgend’s development control committee said the aim was to establish the harbourside in Porthcawl as “a prime destination for all-weather and year-round maritime activities whilst providing business, educational, cultural and health and well-being benefits to the south coast of Wales”.
Bridgend council owns the site, which will be leased to Credu, the charity behind the development.
Officers said many residents supported the community benefits offered by the scheme, but some businesses claimed the complex would obstruct their views and increase traffic congestion.