This article was written for the Rhymney Valley Express.
The other day I was delighted to attend the opening of Morrisons in Bargoed. After years of decline, this was an important event for Bargoed.
I remember when I first visited Bargoed about 30 years ago. It was to attend a political meeting in the Emporium and even then it was clear that Bargoed had seen better times.
From the mid ‘70s things went from bad to worse. After the closure of Bargoed colliery in 1977, the life-blood of the town seemed to drain away. In recent years, Blackwood, in contrast, seemed to be having new life breathed into it.
But with the opening of Angel Way and now with the completion of Morrisons store, Bargoed has turned the corner and can look to a much brighter future.
Thanks to the local authority, led by Gilfach Councillor Harry Andrews, strong direction was given to the regeneration of Bargoed. This is now coming to fruition.
Now, thousands of shoppers will flock to the new store from a wide catchment area. And importantly, there’s a good chance they won’t just come to Morrisons but will stay in the town and visit other shops. The challenge for local shop keepers will be to make sure that this is indeed what will happen.
I am however confident that the opening of Morrisons will mark the re-birth of Bargoed. For the first time in decades, Bargoed can look to the future will real optimism.