Ahead of Small Business Saturday, the Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government has announced a £10 million funding boost for town centres, under the £90 million Transforming Towns programme, to support businesses and increase vibrancy and footfall in towns across Wales.
The loan scheme will support local authorities to reduce the number of vacant, under-utilised and redundant sites and premises in town centres by providing interest free loans to redevelop or refurbish sites.
The properties will be redeveloped as shops, homes and leisure facilities, with loans being recycled up to three times over a 15 year period. Once repaid they can be used again to fund new loans and be re-invested in similar projects.
As part of the Welsh Government’s overall investment of £41.6 million previous successful projects include Tramshed in Cardiff, Tŷ Castell in Caernarfon and the Magistrates court in Newtown.
The Tramshed in Grangetown Cardiff, which acts as a hub for other local businesses and has fully repaid it’s loan of £500,000, used the funding to create hundreds of jobs, accommodated 25 enterprises, created 7,500 sq ft of business space, supported over 40 community events annually, and increased footfall by 25,000 people per year.
Local authorities funded through this year’s round of applications include:
- £555,000 for Blaenau Gwent
- £1,205,000 for Cardiff
- £1,000,000 for Conwy
- £840,000 for Flintshire
- £500,000 for Gwynedd
- £400,000 for Anglesey
- £5,000,000 for Swansea and
- £500,000 for Wrexham
The Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said:
This Transforming Towns loan scheme highlights the Welsh Government’s commitment to revitalising our town centres and putting their health and vibrancy at the centre of everything we do. These loans supports activities that generate footfall, tackle empty sites and premises and support businesses to grow and prosper.
The way we use our town centres has changed and many towns are struggling in the wake of declining retail sales. Whilst businesses across our towns and on our high streets have faced challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, we have also seen a positive shift towards shopping local. I hope that this funding will enable this shift to continue and become embedded in how we shop and use our towns in the years to come.
This funding is part of the Welsh Government’s total investment of £900 million for regeneration projects alongside key partners.