The revamp of a shopping centre in Cardiff will now be funded partly by the taxpayer.
Plans to turn the Maelfa Shopping Centre in Llanedeyrn had hit a roadblock until council bosses agreed to put in from the council coffers.
Deputy council leader and Pentwyn councillor Judith Woodman said the redevelopment had been a “long time coming.”
She said: “For people of a certain age these shops are a lifeline. I’ve been going to the opticians there and it’s good to see the same person regularly and build up a rapport with them.”
Coun Woodman said discussions over the changes to the centre had been ongoing for more than 10 years.
“I’m not prepared to wait any longer. The centre was built for a different age and is not fit for purpose,” she said.
The new centre will include 11 new shop units, a police station and 100 residential units including some affordable housing.
A council masterplan also promises “high-quality urban design” and “new streets, public spaces and parking.”
Social justice chief, Coun Woodman, said she hoped developers would not price out existing businesses.
She said: “I hope they see sense and how important these shops are to the local community. There’s a lot of elderly residents nearby and they don’t want to go on the bus to Asda.”
Mark Hopkins, who has owned Hopwoods Pharmacy in the centre since 1991, said the changes were needed.
He said: “We’re very supportive of the plans. For the traders who are still left here it has been difficult.
“It’s [the centre] had its time and we urgently need these changes. We accept we still have higher rates as a result, but if we’ve got a full and better centre it’s worth it.”
The redevelopment plan, approved by the council’s executive this afternoon, will now go out to tender.
A Cardiff council spokesman said: “Cardiff council can confirm that it is likely to be required to invest funds from future budgets to ensure the revised Maelfa Centre scheme is delivered due to the current financial climate.
“Authority is being sought from the council’s executive to undertake a procurement exercise to identify a development partner.
“Until that exercise has been completed the council will not be able to confirm how much council funding will be required. This scheme will remain largely private sector funded and the council remains fully committed to delivering such an important development for the people of Llanedeyrn.”
Do you live in the area? What do you think of the proposal? Should the council be part-funding it? Let us know in the comments below