Exciting Times Ahead for Pontypridd in 2024: National Eisteddfod and Town Developments on the Horizon
As 2023 draws to a close it’s a time when many people want to reflect on the year that’s gone but there’s also the opportunity to look forward.
In that spirit, it’s worth looking at what we could be talking about locally in 2024.
In this piece, as Local Democracy Reporter for Rhondda Cynon Taf, I’ll take a look at some of the things that could be making the headlines in Pontypridd in the new year.
Whether it be major international cultural events or new developments to change the face of the town centre, 2024 could be an exciting year for Pontypridd and see it change significantly.
Next year is the year that the National Eisteddfod comes to Pontypridd.
Ever since the announcement was made earlier this year, excitement has been building about the event coming to Ynysangharad War Memorial Park in the heart of the town in 2024.
It is set to be an amazing celebration of Welsh culture in the town that gave us our national anthem and The Maes is set to stretch into the town too.
The Eisteddfod is one of the largest festivals in Europe and is filled with wonderful poetry and music in the Welsh language.
It’ll be the first to be held in RCT for nearly 70 years and it is set to be a fantasic occasion for Pontypridd, RCT and the whole of Wales.
Another boost to the town next year could be the re-opening of the Muni Arts Centre with work getting started on the redevelopment in September and the aim being for it to re-open next year.
In June this year, the council’s planning committee members voted to approve it and now work is under way to redevelop the much loved arts venue.
In partnership with Awen Cultural Trust, the council plans for the Grade II-listed municipal building in Gelliwastad Road involve the conservation and repair of the building, including the refurbishment of the auditorium, remodelling of the entrance foyer, bar, and mezzanine, installation of new passenger lifts, toilets, dressing rooms, and Changing Places facilities.
It was a tough few years for the venue due to financial constraints and a lack of investment leading to its decline and closure in 2018 but it looks like things are looking up and hopefully people will be able to enjoy the arts in this important and much loved venue again soon and for years to come.
And when it comes to changing the look of the town, there’s one development that really stands out.
The proposal for a new public open space with greenery and a small food and drink outlet on the site of the former Pontypridd Bingo Hall and Angharad’s Nightclub really has the potential to open up the bottom end of town.
The plan is also for a number of bus stops in the area too and the hope is that this will improve the links between rail and bus services making it that much easier to hop off one and hop on to the other.
This will become increasingly important as the South Wales Metro continues to develop.
There has already been a visual change with the demolition of the old bingo hall and night club allowing you to see further into the town centre as you step off the train.
Initial works have begun on site but it’s in the new year when we’ll see this new development take shape as the main development is due to get going then.
This year we have also seen work on the demolition of the old M&S and Dorothy Perkins buildings on Taff Street with the site being redeveloped as part of the Southern Gateway plans.
It has the potential to really open up the town centre with views of the river and the park and it will be interesting to see how things progress with the possibility of leisure, commercial and retail developments coming to the area.
Combine these major plans with the now up and running Llys Cadwyn development which will soon be home to the council’s new HQ and you can see that the look of the town has certainly changed rapidly over the last few years and is set to continue to do so in 2024.
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