Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.As regular readers will know, one of the things that has lead me to supporting Plaid Cymru is the arrogant incompetence of the way they have managed Bridgend Town which has I would argue been the main cause of the many shop closures and general sense of the decline that it gives.
Though I no longer live in the area I still work there and yesterday I had a couple of hours being able to wander round the town.
What I’m going to say next is in no way could be considered scientific. It’s just what I saw.
Overall then there appears to be no change since I came here last. Improvements in some areas mitigated by decline in others. This is not a good situation for the town as 2019 approaches. It has the potential to be hit by three separate issues and is venerable to them.
Just on the outskirts of the town centre there was this:
|It was an employment office|
I wish I could say that Bridgend did not need a place to advertise jobs but we all know that’s not the case.
There are as I’ve explained before four points of reference I start with regard to the town nowadays. Let’s begin with the Nolton street arcade. A small group of shops where apart from the two that go directly onward to the street every shop in the arcade has closed down. Let’s see what’s been done.
|Pretend It Doesn’t Exist Apparently|
I’m assuming (though I don’t know) that this was the council’s doing but really? Out of sight out of mind is that it? As if people will forget the toyshop that was once here. Or the woollen shop. Or the café.
This is really shameful whoever is responsible.
Then there is the McDonald’s. Closed in 2000 left to rot for seventeen years before being demolished last year. Nothing seems to have happened to it for a year….
Thing is of course that you need to remember that the result is apparently social flats on top of shops. It’s the shops bit that amazes. Not only does Bridgend Town have many shops that have been closed down and left to rot. It also has a number of these…
|Closed Down – Left To Rot – Spruced Up – Unable To Rent|
So in view of this why create another place for empty shops to thrive? It makes no sense whatsoever.
The McDonalds was left to rot for seventeen years. The Phones4U store has been closed since 2014. Let’s see if it’s still there….
|Yes It Is|
The really good news story was in the Bridgend Indoor Market. As explained previously it’s had a makeover and whilst there are still a number of empty stalls there were new ones as well. Of course it’s early days but I think it’s fair to say that there is an air of cautious optimism.
|The Lights Are On|
Those lights which don’t forget the council kept up for a year without bothering to take down. At least they’re appropriate for now.
I saw one new shop. A hairdresser’s but two shops were closed. They were…
|Bridgend’s in the club no more|
This was a clothing store. It took a fair amount of space in the small shopping centre the town has so it’s closure is damaging in more ways than one.
Even the bookies have given up.
The decline shows itself not just in the empty shops but in other ways too…
|Have a look at the bunting|
I’m sure this bunting has been around since at least May when the council did something to celebrate VE day. No one it appears has bothered to take it down. It’s all around the town centre.
And as it’s Christmas let’s have a look at the town centre tree.
Dull Isn’t It?
Actually there are lights (with the look that they’ve been purchased from Poundland) and put on as if throwing it and seeing where it landed was the new fashion in Christmas decorations.
It was busy. But the town was not last Saturday before Christmas busy. The out of town stores (actually about a ten/fifteen minute walk away) were heaving with customers.
Bridgend Town is in a venerable state. And potentially 2019 will be the year which will decide it’s foreseeable future. A combination of Brexit, the (possibly interlinked) future of the Ford Engine plant and the consequences of the local council cuts means that it will be crossing it’s fingers for a while.
Until the next time.