Neath Port Talbot Council’s transformation of the centre of Port Talbot with a string of projects including housing, commercial, transport and public realm schemes has won the authority a national award from APSE (The Association of Public Excellence).
The Council picked up the award in the Best Housing, Regeneration or New Build Initiative category at the 2019 APSE Annual Awards Ceremony in Newcastle.
The authority beat off strong competition in the category from the City of Wolverhampton Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Hull City Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Southampton City Council and Sunderland City Council.
Among the Neath Port Talbot Council projects which caught the judges’ eyes were the striking transformation of Port Talbot’s old Police Station into an eye-catching new complex with apartments and commercial units (Ty’r Orsaf) and the refurbishment of the former Aberafan House building, creating the riverside Oriel housing development.
Dedicated to improving excellence in public life, the APSE judges were full of praise for the series of multi-million pound schemes in the centre of Port Talbot which have included the creation of a housing development with commercial units from the old Glan Afan Comprehensive School site, while preserving the iconic façade fronting Station Road.
Other town centre schemes which have also received millions of pounds worth of funding from the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places (VVP) scheme include the Green Park development and Riverside Walk beside the River Afan and the Integrated Transport Hub opposite Port Talbot’s renewed Railway Station.
Future Regeneration projects will soon include the re-building of the famous former Plaza Cinema as a community hub, gymnasium, conference and offices centre with the building’s famous art-deco façade being kept intact.
In addition, the Council will be bringing forward further commercial regeneration projects on the Harbourside area of the town to complement the recently refurbished former Magistrates Court building, now home to a prestigious ICT company which has relocated to the area.
The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Rob Jones, said:
“The Port Talbot Integrated Living Programme is an ambitious, high impact and transformational urban regeneration programme which we can be proud of.
“It’s good to know this programme has been recognised nationally by APSE which seeks to encourage excellence in local authority work. This has been a collaborative approach led by Neath Port Talbot Council in partnership with a number of organisations including the Welsh Government involving innovative governance and management arrangements.”
APSE Chief Executive Paul O'Brien added:
“Not only do these awards recognise and promote individual achievement, they also provide an opportunity for best practice to be shared with other local authorities and organisations. In this way, councils’ hard work and dedication is used to deliver vital services to communities across the UK.”
The APSE awards are specific to frontline services provided by UK local authorities. The awards are agreed by a panel of expert judges. This year, the awards included 22 categories, covering the vast majority of local services.
The winners were announced at the APSE Annual Charity Awards Dinner, in aid of Parkinson’s UK, in Newcastle.
Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.