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An important step has been taken towards the regeneration of the Salt Lake site in Porthcawl.

The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council have this week decided to officially dispose of the land it owns at the site which is classed as 'public open space'.

It's one of many legal processes that has to be followed in order to bring the site forward for development and advertise the sale of the land on the open market.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: "Although the public can access the site, it isn't laid out as formal public open space so we are happy to agree to its disposal in order for this exciting regeneration scheme to progress.

"A large portion of the site has been utilised as a roughly surfaced car park for many years and it doesn't provide any recreational facilities.

"A significant amount of preparatory work relating to highways, planning, infrastructure and ground conditions will be undertaken over the coming months prior to marketing each part of the site for sale. The completion of each process brings us closer to transforming this land into something that benefits both residents and visitors.

"The legal wording for this latest process refers to the 'disposal' of the site, but I'd like to reassure everyone that this is simply an enabling measure and does not pre-determine how we proceed. Whether the council becomes leaseholder, landlord, vendor, or business partner for any part of the site will be decided in due course as appropriate for each aspect of this mixed development."

Last year, the council announced the 'regeneration jigsaw' that will be pieced together over several phases to deliver a new food store, leisure attractions, housing and an improved Eastern Promenade.

While a previous regeneration masterplan centred on a large superstore being developed, the new plans will involve a smaller food store at the northern end of the Salt Lake site (towards the Awel Y Mor community centre).

Cllr Smith added: "In the short term, we will be proceeding with the marketing of a section of the Salt Lake land for a food store. A master planning exercise will also be carried out for the remainder of the site and there will be numerous stages of engagement with the public and interested parties before these proposals are taken forward."

Like a domino effect, the capital receipts from the sale of land for a food store will enable the council to progress the next phases, beginning with major work on the Hillsboro Place car park.

As well as resurfacing, the car park's layout will be made more efficient and accessible and the potential for a hotel being developed at the southern end of the car park will also be explored.

The next piece of the jigsaw will be to market land immediately adjacent to the new food store (at the north eastern end of the site) for housing.

A series of coastal protection improvements must then be carried out to mitigate the flood risk posed to the remainder of the Salt Lake site. This will include work, with funding from the Welsh Government, on the Western Breakwater and the Eastern Promenade overlooking Sandy Bay.

Once the coastal defence works have been completed, two more phases of housing development will be taken forward in the centre of the Salt Lake site, with some of the land being used as a temporary car park in the short term.

It is hoped that the remaining quarter of the Salt Lake site near to the marina will feature an exciting new leisure attraction.

"This regeneration scheme is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will secure the future of Porthcawl as a premier seaside town," Cllr Smith concluded. "It will create jobs, homes and investment in the local economy for years to come."

"I often think of projects like this as being a huge jigsaw that relies on certain pieces being in place to join everything together. The first phase will be a new food store and once that's in place it will release the money needed to make everything else possible."

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