Neath Port Talbot councillors have given the go ahead for the next stage of the ambitious redevelopment of Neath’s town centre, which will be built on the site of the now demolished old multi-storey car park.
The initial phase of the new look Neath saw the construction of a modern 600 space multi-storey car park to replace the old one together with a large Wilko store.
The aim is to provide suitable space for high street retail names to complement those already in the town, like Marks and Spencer, New Look, Clarks and Next.
The Council can now start work on commissioning a contractor to deliver the retail scheme and work on site is expected to start next year.
Neath Port Talbot Council Leader Councillor Rob Jones said:
“This council is very aware of the pressures that traditional town centres are coming under from online shopping and out-of-town retail parks. We are determined to ensure that Neath continues to be an attractive destination for businesses, shoppers, residents and visitors alike.
“I was chairing the planning committee when the plans for Neath’s town centre were first published and I am pleased to see the redevelopment now moving on to the next step and taking shape.”
Another development due to start on site next Spring will involve the building of five to six smaller retail units with 12 apartments on the first and second floors all sited at the rear of the service yard of Neath’s Boots store.
It will be delivered by Coastal Housing and will also include Water Street and Orchard Street being widened to improve pedestrian links to Neath’s Gwyn Hall, Victoria Gardens and the Bus Station.
And a decision has been made to retain a much loved building on Water Street, one of Neath town centre’s oldest buildings - The Greyhound pub.
Water Street, which got its name because Gnoll Brook ran through the town centre thoroughfare, once contained a number of public houses but only the Greyhound – affectionately nicknamed “The Dog” - now remains.
Neath is establishing a growing reputation as a place to eat and drink and has seen significant investment from private companies and individuals in premises like Moruzzi & Co and Charlie’s Wine Bar & Grill.
Further investment has also been made in the town’s former Constitutional Club and its landmark Castle Hotel, where Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton once stayed, which has now undergone an expensive refurbishment under new owners.
The town’s reputation has been further enhanced by a number of highly successful annual events which add to the historic Neath September Fair - these include one of the most prestigious Food & Drink Festivals in Wales, a Real Ale & Cider Festival and the Great Guitar Gig.