The Welsh Government is encouraging local authorities to apply for its latest round of Transforming Towns loan funding.
The funding, worth £5 million, can be used to revitalise town centres by bringing vacant building back to life.
The scheme, which has already allocated more than £67 million since 2014, allows councils to support projects that help generate footfall into town centres and help support local businesses.
Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said:
“Our transforming towns programme continues to deliver great results in our commitment and ambition to revitalise town centres across Wales, putting them at the heart of everything we do.
“I look forward to seeing how this money is put to good use in town centres up and down the country in due course.”
Two schemes based in Blaenau Gwent have benefitted from a previous round of Transforming Towns Loans Funding including the Railway Hotel in Abertillery and the Tredegar Arms Hotel and Restaurant in Tredegar.
The Railway Hotel is a prominent building located at the northern gateway to the town centre. The property was subject to extensive fire damage in March 2017 and was subsequently sold at auction in July 2017.
A £200,000 Transforming Towns loan along with grant funding allowed the owner to carry out extensive refurbishment including a new roof, and internal works to create a modern bar and restaurant along with a large function room that can hold up to 200 people.
The property is now operating under the name Vamos by the River and is a popular choice with local residents.
The Tredegar Arms Hotel and Restaurant is located in the heart of Tredegar Town Centre within a conservation area.
The property was previously derelict for many years. Now, thanks to a £284,000 Transforming Towns loan, the property has been renovated to a high standard in 2019 and is focal point of the Town Centre.
The refurbishment has created nine luxury ensuite bedrooms and one executive suite, along with a function room which holds events, conference facilities and weddings.
The business has gone from strength to strength and employs 10 full-time staff and housekeepers.
It provides accommodation that attracts local tourism to the area and supports other Town Centre businesses.
Councillor John Morgan, Blaenau Gwent Council’s Executive Member for Place and Regeneration said:
“We are committed to working to tackle the economic challenges currently facing both our communities and our businesses and are keen to build on the recent successes we’ve had in supporting our town centres to regenerate and revive.
“It’s been great to work in partnership with the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme and especially the town centre Loans scheme, which has seen us work with several local business owners to bring a significant number of properties back into use and revive them for the economic benefit of the local area; the people living in our communities and to create employment opportunities.
“We continue to have exciting plans under the Transforming Towns programme to make sure our town centres are fit for purpose and appealing to consumers, as we work to tackle economic deprivation and create further economic opportunities for our communities.”
The scheme is now open for applications and closes on 2 November.
More information on the Transforming Towns Loans scheme is available: Transforming Towns: support to improve town centres