A Welsh Government minister has paid a visit to three of Port Talbot’s latest building projects under the multi-million pound Vibrant and Viable Places (VVP) urban regeneration initiative.
Hannah Blythyn AM (Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government) took a first hand look at Ty’r Orsaf (formerly Port Talbot Police Station) and Oriel (formerly Aberafan House) delivered by the Pobl Group plus the Glan Afan School redevelopment delivered by Coastal Housing.
The visit took place with Neath Port Talbot Council’s Leader and Deputy Leader, Cllr Rob Jones and Cllr Anthony Taylor, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development Cllr Annette Wingrave and Council officials including Chief Executive Steven Phillips in attendance.
The Welsh Government launched its VVP scheme in March 2013 dedicated to regeneration programmes across a number of towns in Wales and so far, more than £123m has been given to local authorities and their partners to help them revitalise town centres like Port Talbot.
Work has just been completed on the £4m Ty’r Orsaf (Station House) development on the site of the old Police Station in Station Road, Port Talbot. The building was handed over to Pobl on January 25th this year and residents have been gradually moving in since then.
The scheme, one of a number of buildings shortlisted in the 2019 RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Awards (Wales), has provided 30 new apartments over three upper floors with three commercial units on the ground floor.
The former police station was demolished in August 2017 to create new affordable homes and commercial floorspace in the Lower Station Road area of Port Talbot’s town centre and to establish a new “integrated living” community there.
Building work was carried out by Morganstone Ltd and involved redeveloping a site which now occupies a key gateway location to the town, overlooking the Port Talbot Parkway Railway Station and the adjacent Integrated Transport Hub and being close to a main road leading to the Harbourside development in the town’s old docks quarter.
The £4.7m transformation of the riverside Aberafan House into new apartments has been delivered by the Pobl Group with Hacer Developments doing the construction work. The striking town centre development, now called Oriel (Gallery), has provided 41 new affordable homes (one and two-bedroom units) in the town centre.
Hannah Blythyn said:
“It was a pleasure to visit the three developments and to see how Welsh Government funding has helped to redevelop three disused sites into new homes and commercial space. It’s an excellent example of how the VVP programme is improving communities across Wales.”
Councillor Wingrave said:
“The Oriel scheme has transformed the appearance of this prominent vacant building, bringing a beneficial use to the town centre and helping to meet an identified local housing need.
“Together with the Glan Afan School and Ty’r Orsaf projects, it will add to the vitality and future viability of Port Talbot’s town centre.”
The Jehu Group is currently working in partnership with the Coastal Housing Group on the £7m redevelopment of the former Glan Afan Comprehensive School in Station Road in the heart of Port Talbot’s town centre.
The Glan Afan development – due to be completed in March this year – will provide 47 new homes for rent and will include one and two bedroom apartments plus two and three bedroom houses.
As well as the new homes there will be two new retail units fronting onto Station Road.
The façade of the original school still stands as a reminder of the institution whose ex-pupils include Hollywood actor Michael Sheen, rugby stars James Hook and Richard Hibbard and (when it was known as the County Boys’ Grammar), artist David Carpanini and union leader Clive Jenkins.