A DERELICT Pontypool hotel reopened its doors to the public after being restored to its former glory thanks to a grant of just under £266,000.

  The White Hart Hotel in George Street held a special opening evening on December 17 ahead of Christmas, having stood empty for several years.

  The iconic Pontypool building benefited from a Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) grant of £265,950, which was awarded to the owner of the property, Sean O’Connor.

Mr O’Connor, from New Inn, is also putting £250,000 into the White Hart Hotel, which he is now operating as a bar.

  He is behind the successful refurbishment of the Market Tavern in Blaenavon.

  In January Mr O’Connor also plans to open an Italian restaurant and a four-bedroom bed and breakfast at the White Hart. As well as injecting new life into the old building, the project will also create four full-time and two part-time jobs.

  Mr O’Connor said: “It has been a big project but I am very pleased with the final result.”

  When work began on the building back in July Mr O’Connor said he had been looking at old pictures of the White Hart as he wanted to keep all the architectural features.

  Cllr Lewis Jones, deputy leader of Torfaen council, said: “It is fantastic to see another building re-opening in Pontypool town centre.”

  The £2.5 million THI Project is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, Welsh Government’s Targeted Match Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Pontypool Regeneration Partnership and Torfaen County Borough Council.