Friday, August 17, 2007

Port Talbot redevelopment - what will it mean?

The County Borough Council has invited proposals for the redevelopment of an area including Port Talbot railway station and the Plaza cinema.

The extent of the area involved seems somewhat fluid at this stage, but it may well extend to commercial properties with past local Liberal Democrat involvement ;-)

One hopes that the level crossing, a nuisance to both commercial traffic and pedestrians alike, will disappear under the preferred plans.

However, a place should be found for at least the fa├žade of the Plaza. It is sad that neither Neath nor Port Talbot town centres can support a first-run cinema, in the face of competition from Swansea and Aberavon, but one must bow to the inevitable. However, there can be few remaining examples of the Plaza's style of architecture. Surely a place can be found for that imposing frontage in any new development? (By the way, if anyone has a copyright-free photo of the Plaza in its hey-day, we should be glad to replace the distressing present-day view - above - with it.)

Also, the opportunity must be taken to bring trains and buses under one roof in a proper transport interchange. Ideally, this would be where the present bus station is, convenient for both the Aberavon Centre and civic buildings. An additional halt could be provided to serve Taibach and Margam on Swanline trains.

Clearly, that would be an expensive proposition, but bringing the buses alongside at the present rail station site would be the next best thing.

- Frank Little
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