£8.2m kick-start for Torfaen revamp

South Wales Argus: Plans includes a  £13.63million project to extend the canal from Pontymoile Basin to Cwmbran town centre and to build a new visitor hub Plans includes a £13.63million project to extend the canal from Pontymoile Basin to Cwmbran town centre and to build a new visitor hub

MILLIONS of pounds destined for Torfaen to help regenerate the area will “make a real difference” to people living there, a meeting heard.

Torfaen council will work with the Welsh Government to “re-scope” ambitious regeneration plans for the borough – including a £52.8million canal project.

The decision was agreed by the council’s cabinet after on a report informing informed them of an £8.2million grant in funding from the government’s Vibrant and Viable Places Programme.

The grant funding is intended to deliver a package of regeneration projects in Pontypool and Cwmbran, housing minister Carl Sargeant said last week, and the grant was hailed as a success during the meeting. But it was also said to have fallen nearly £5million short of the £13million the local authority bid for.

Neighbourhood services officer Christina Harrhy said in response to concerns from cabinet members over the shortfall: “The funding offers us an opportunity to put in place a programme of regeneration projects which will make a real difference to the citizens of Torfaen.

“We do need to re-scope the project, but we will look to do everything in our power to avoid reducing the project. We believe this is the right plan for Torfaen.”

The original plan submitted to the Welsh Government included £52.8million to create a Canalside Quarter on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal – to create housing, commercial and cultural facilities.

A further £13.63 m project to extend the canal from Pontymoile Basin to Cwmbran town centre was also included, as was a £2.8m refurbishment of Hypervalue in Pontypool to create living and commercial space., to create living space on the upper floors and commercial space on the ground floor, possibly for people practicing creative industries.

A £1.5m transformation of St James’s Church in Pontypool to create a multi-functional community space to be run by a social enterprise was also prioritised, along with £255,000 £255k to provide broadband access within Pontypool town centre to support visitors and community hubs.

The cabinet were informed that officers had already identified alternative delivery of projects should funding not be secured.

Officers will meet with the Welsh Government within the next week. Further cabinet approval will then be required.

Comments (2)

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10:23am Sat 15 Feb 14

CwmbranMark says...

Turning the street lights back on might be a better "kick-start".

Torfaen is back in the dark ages, while our council tax is higher than ever.
Turning the street lights back on might be a better "kick-start". Torfaen is back in the dark ages, while our council tax is higher than ever. CwmbranMark

11:26am Sun 16 Feb 14

PAClark says...

2.8 million to refurbish Hyper Value? You could rebuild the building twice over for that and still have change. How much of that is going to land up in Councillor's pockets I wonder?
And who is really going to benefit from the £255k spent of Wi-Fi in Pontypool town? I say call for an investigation to where the money is really going to land up. Why not publish a full summary of quotations for all this work so we can see for ourselves where the money is really going?
2.8 million to refurbish Hyper Value? You could rebuild the building twice over for that and still have change. How much of that is going to land up in Councillor's pockets I wonder? And who is really going to benefit from the £255k spent of Wi-Fi in Pontypool town? I say call for an investigation to where the money is really going to land up. Why not publish a full summary of quotations for all this work so we can see for ourselves where the money is really going? PAClark

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