Unwelcome soaking for Port Talbot shoppers under new canopy
SHOPPERS sheltering under the new-look canopy in Port Talbot town centre are getting an unexpected and unwelcome extra — a cold shower.
Neath Port Talbot Council has spent around £1.4 million improving the street scene in both Forge Road and Station Road, including the latter's tired-looking canopy.
While the reaction has been positive, councillors were told there was a gap between the canopy and the walls of the shops, and shoppers were getting soaked as a consequence.
Neath Port Talbot Council has said the matter is now being addressed.
The council secured a £2.3 million grant towards a wider £4 million improvement scheme for Port Talbot town centre.
This included a Commercial Property Fund supporting owners and tenants to improve the external appearance of their business premises.
The improvements have had the thumbs-up from traders.
More recently, at a meeting of the economic and community regeneration scrutiny committee, Port Talbot councillor Ian James said: "Station Road looks fantastic."
However, Councillor Mark Jones said: "There is a problem. Overhead there is a gap between the canopy and the shops, meaning any downpour comes down on to any person trying to get into the shops.
"Even though the old canopy was in a terrible state, it kept you dry going in and out of the shops."
Port Talbot councillor Dennis Keogh said: "This is being addressed as we speak."
Chairman Alan Llewelyn added: "I'm sure that whatever the problem is, it's going to be resolved."
Council head of property and regeneration, Gareth Nutt, said the town centre work had been designed to help traders and shoppers and provide a good experience for people coming to Port Talbot.
"We liaised with all traders to keep disruption to a minimum," said Mr Nutt.
"A lot of the work was done out of hours and we suspended it over Christmas.
"We have also given some commercial property grants to traders to improve their shop fronts, which has helped the street scene in Forge Road.
"We are in negotiations with a number of other traders to carry out improvement work in Station Road to complement the work already carried out."