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Valleys town shopping centre plan

2 June 09 05:52 GMT

A multi-million pound shopping centre on the site of an old precinct could be opened in late 2010, say developers.

The redevelopment of the run-down Taff Vale shopping precinct in Pontypridd will feature five large retail units and a restaurant-bar.

The original Riverside scheme, which included apartments and offices, was scrapped due to the economic climate.

The scaled-down plans are due to be submitted to Rhondda Cynon Taf council within the next week or so.

Andy Crompton, of Riddelltps Limited, agents for developers Taff Vale Limited, said if everything went to plan, the new centre could be open in late 2010.

Retailer Wilkinson is due to anchor the development, while supermarket chain Lidl is also expected to open a store.

Talks are taking place with two other companies which would leave one remaining retail unit to let.

The planning application is also expected to seek permission to develop a hotel above the shopping centre when the economy has picked up some time in the future.

If planning permission is secured this summer, work could start on the shopping centre towards the end of this year and building work is expected to take around 12 to 13 months.

Mr Crompton said he would have liked to have been able to continue with the original, larger scheme but the economy had dictated otherwise.

"We have had to go back to the drawing board and put together something viable in the current market," he said.

"We've put together something that the town will want with retailers coming to the town and it's something we can deliver."

Taff Vale shopping precinct has long been considered an eyesore by many residents and its redevelopment is considered an important part of rejuvenating the town.

Mr Crompton said the scheme, excluding the building work, would be expected to create a couple of hundred part-time and full-time jobs.

"If you forget about the 12-month building programme - which we will be relying on south Wales-based contractors, tradesmen etc - you are looking at 200-plus jobs in the finished scheme," he said.

Pontypridd Chamber of Trade chairman Gianni Orsi said: "I think what we have got is a do-able scheme which is realistic for the town. I think most people in the town look forward to it happening."

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said the planning application was expected to be submitted this week and was due to be based upon the proposals that were showcased at a recent public exhibition.

"While in the very early stages, the authority is hopeful this new development control process indicates the start of the next round of regeneration for the county town of Pontypridd," a spokesman said.

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