Developers propose a new look for Porthcawl seafront

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

– Planning

by Philip IrwinGEM Reporter

A new look is being planned for Porthcawl seafront with plans unveiled to redevelop the Pier Hotel, and also put up a second building – in the same style – on the site next door.

At a special meeting of Porthcawl Town Council, held in the Pier Hotel, owner Steve Rock said he was keen to show the plans at an early stage to get feedback on the project.

Councillors agreed that it would transform the look of the present end of the promenade, where next to the Pier Hotel is a great hole in the ground – a legacy of Dunraven Court flats, which were demolished some years ago.

Councillors were given a presentation on the plans by Kieren Morgan of Boyes Rees Architects, who was at pains to emphasise that the project was in its early stages.

He said that the next stage would be to move onto more detailed studies of any construction issues and the cost of materials, etc.

He said that the team behind the project were aware of mixed feelings in Porthcawl about the Esplanade house building (known by many locals as the ‘bottle bank’) and they were keen to produce a modern building that would still be in keeping with the sea front.

He described Porthcawl as having a “modest Victorian facade” so, although the proposed buildings would be modern, it was intended for them to blend in by using similar colours.

In a discussion that followed, Cllr Steve Maitland Thomas asked if the buildings would complement the soon-to-be-started Maritime Centre, which would be across the road, and Mr Morgan said that was the intention.

The plan envisages converting the Pier Hotel into apartments, with the ground floor available for bars and restaurants that would encourage people to sit outside on sunny days – extending the promenade as a result.

The existing space between the hotel and the ‘hole in the ground’ would be re-modelled to be a sheltered space where people could relax and take in the view over a drink. There would be a walkway created so that people could walk through into the Square behind the Pier hotel.

On the old Dunraven Court site, apartments and a ground floor bar/restaurant would be created at the same level as the Pier Hotel building, with a basement car park underneath.

Mr Morgan said that they were still looking at different designs, but one was aimed at creating flats that each had different views, using plenty of glass to maximise that view.

Mr Rock told the councillors that he had already been approached by a prominent south Wales restaurant that was looking for a suitable site in Porthcawl, and that a good sea view was part of their brief.

Councillors’ reactions ranged from some expressions that it was ’too modern’ and concerns over whether people would buy the apartments to live in all year round – or as second homes.

There is, of course, one aspect of the plan that is subject to negotiation. Mr Rock owns the Pier Hotel site, but the old Dunraven Court site was bought by the now-defunct Welsh Development Agency (WDA) and has now passed into the hands of the Welsh Government.

Mr Rock said that no talks had been held yet with the Welsh Government.

At the end of the meeting, Cllr Mike Clarke thanked Mr Rock for taking the trouble to brief the town council, saying that he had no obligation to do so, and that councillors had appreciated the chance to comment on the direction of the project.

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