Wales

Pontypridd's Riverside Shopping Centre stores named

How Pontypridd could look
Image caption Retailer Poundland is also signed up to the scheme, which is expected to be ready by summer next year

Two national stores have been confirmed as part of a £15m redevelopment of an "eyesore" south Wales valleys' shopping precinct.

High street chain Wilkinson, which has more than 300 stores, will anchor the new Riverside Shopping Centre in Pontypridd.

Poundland is also signed up for a scheme due to be ready by summer 2012.

The centre will replace the Taff Vale precinct and is seen as an important part of rejuvenating the town.

Demolition work is currently taking place, with construction expected to start in September.

Andy Crompton, of joint letting agents Riddelltps, said: "Riverside will create a new retail destination for the town and will play a pivotal role in the forecasted increase of over 22% in the town's shopping population over the next five years.

New retail

"Our ability to offer modern, regular-sized units to suit retailer requirements has meant that we have attracted interest from a number of other potential occupiers with whom we are currently in detailed discussions and expect to announce a further pre-let in a few weeks."

Image caption The 1960s-built Taff Vale shopping precinct has long been the subject of development plans

Mr Crompton said Pontypridd was benefiting from other investment including £10m from Rhondda Cynon Taf council to regenerate the town centre, and improvements to the railway station.

"Riverside, which is currently one of the only in-town retail schemes that is actually being developed in Wales, will create a new retail pitch in the town," he added.

Both stores have agreed 15-year leases.

Four units of the 70,000sq ft (6,500sq m) centre remain available, including planning consent for food retail and a restaurant/bar.

The new shopping development is considered an important part of the town's regeneration after previous plans for the site, considered an eyesore by many residents, over many years came to nothing.

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