In December 2016, Chris Jones Regeneration partnering Roberts Limbrick Architects, TC Consult and Stuart Hogg Property was appointed by Torfaen County Borough Council to undertake a review of its 15-year strategy providing a refresh of its 2009 Vision and Action Plan.
The initial review looked at the investment to date from the previous strategy which was funded by Welsh Government through its Vibrant and Viable Places programme. It undertook an assessment of vitality and viability, current economic conditions and the relationship of the town centres to other competing centres. Through discussions with responsible officers and stakeholder organisations and local partnerships views on progress to date and priorities were obtained before developing the focus and set of proposals for the next period of the strategy.
A key requirement of the client brief was to find ways of connecting the neighbouring Park with the town centre, to maximise recent investments in its Indoor Market and key streets, and to find ways of diversifying the town centre that wasn’t solely about retail.
A two-day consultation event provided opportunities for the local community to engage and shape proposals through a series of hands on display panels and an accessible online survey. An evening stakeholder session was held to understand where partners saw their roles in supporting the co-delivery of the strategy with the local authority.
Following on from the consultation event, robust testing of proposals was undertaken with strategic outline case documents prepared for a diverse range of projects.
Proposals included a well-being community hub for a prominent under-used town centre building, a boardwalk link structure between the town and park as well as meanwhile use projects through street based kiosks, enterprise support, events and cultural activities and marketing and promotion.
The final outputs included a baseline report, report of consultation and a 5-year Vision and Action Plan for the town centre. The five no. strategic outline case documents will provide business case support for funding applications.