Town Study, Bargoed
One approach to the regeneration for the Welsh Valleys has been to locate new Retail Centres, typically with supermarkets as anchor tenants, on allocated sites out of town or on the edge of town. A proposal for this type of development was made for Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley.
Our master plan study challenges the premise of this approach. Instead demonstrating that dislocated Retail Centres serve only to draw life out of the already fragile economies of the town centres, rather than bringing new trade in. Such schemes fail to attract inward investment to the town itself. The cycle of decline continues.
Results from the Town Study identified the following key aspects: the existing High Street dominated by road traffic; retail was in decline; local buildings were in a poor condition; there was no space for people/pedestrians.
Our analysis identified that what was needed was connectivity.
Architecturally the design strategy demonstrates how with imagination large insertions can be successfully embedded and visually articulated to respond to the scale and character of the existing town. The inclusion of a public square is not a common element within the Valleys, not because it is undesirable, but because of traditional topographic constraints – flat land is scarce and is considered a luxury. Use of the valley-side section, the sloping site, creates an opportunity to provide such a valuable addition, utilising the roof of the supermarket to create the new town square, level with the high street. A new market hall is also proposed as an extension to the existing streetscape to truly embed and link the scheme into the town.
Client: Bargoed County Council Size: - Stage: Town study completed 2005