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Torfaen council to prioritise town centres in bid for levelling-up cash

Shops in Cwmbran town centreShops in Cwmbran town centre

TORFAEN council will submit a bid for government levelling-up cash to support town centre projects next year, it has been confirmed.

The local authority did not enter a bid to the UK Government fund in the first round of applications earlier this year. At a full council meeting on Tuesday, Independent councillor Alan Slade asked for confirmation the council will be submitting a bid and which projects are being considered.

Cllr Joanne Gauden, executive member for economy, skills and regeneration, said an application for levelling-up funding will be submitted in 2022.

Projects being considered by the council include connecting Pontypool town to the park and working with landlords to bring empty properties back into use in Pontypool and Blaenavon.

Cllr Gauden said the council is also in discussions over priorities for investment and improvements in Cwmbran town centre.

“We have prioritised town centres given the need for recovery and revitalisation,” she said.

“Town centres were struggling before Covid and now the pandemic has only made those challenges even harder.”

Cllr Gauden said that a seminar for councillors will be held next month about preparing the bid. The Levelling Up Fund is a £4.8 billion UK Government fund towards town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects and cultural and heritage assets.

Ten schemes in Wales were successful in the first round of bids announced in October, which saw a total of £1.7 billion allocated, though none of the projects were in Gwent.

Monmouthshire council submitted bids for projects in Caldicot and Monmouth which were unsuccessful.

A second round of winners is expected to be announced in the spring.

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Torfaen council to prioritise town centres in bid for levelling-up cash