A new £100 million programme of targeted regeneration investment has been launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant.
Local authorities, along with partner organisations, will be able to apply for the capital investment for projects that promote economic regeneration and serve the aims of wider sustainable development with activities focussed on the individuals and areas most in need.
The £100 million will be made available over an initial 3-year phase for the period for 2018-21.
Making the funding announcement today, Carl Sargeant said the programme has a crucial part to play in driving prosperity and building resilient communities in all parts of Wales, rather than just in those areas that offer the best commercial returns.
The Welsh Government’s previous targeted regeneration program ‘Vibrant and Viable Places’ which came to end earlier this year, saw £124m pumped into 18 Welsh communities most in need.
In 2013 Wrexham was awarded £10.5 million as part of the Vibrant and Viable Places scheme. An FOI (Freedom of Information Request) submitted in 2014 revealed the breakdown of where the funding will be allocated:
– £40,000 will be spent on a project to ‘redefine the town centre’, with details saying: “A master plan to provide a clear vision for the future development of the town centre in terms of its retail, residential and housing offer.”
– £772,400 will be spent to: “relocate and redevelop the existing Oriel Gallery to an alternative location within Wrexham Town Centre and to extend the overall arts and culture offer in Wrexham through the development of a cultural centre.” Wrexham.com understands the People’s Market is one possible venue for this, with North Wales Police taking an area in the existing Oriel.
– £1,930,000 of spending on “conversion of empty residential and commercial properties within the Town Centre and immediate surrounding area to bring into use to provide new residential accommodation.”
– £4,900,00 to be spent on “development of 2 sites to create the provision of older persons accommodation within the town centre.” One of these is the development on Grosvenor Road.
– £715,000 to cover creation of “a social lettings agency, support private sector landlords to improve the quality of their properties through the provision of property improvement loans, and support property owners to become more professional landlords.” We have previously covered this here.
– £1,700,000 to extend “the existing programme of group repairs of homes, environmental improvements and installation of energy efficient measures.”
– £300,000 to “Invest in properties within the South West Wrexham HRA specifically to make them more energy efficient through the delivery of improvements such as new heating systems and cavity and wall installation.”
– £227,000 Of “Capital Investment to expand an existing childcare facility through social enterprise in Caia Park and to open a new childcare facility within the town centre to increase childcare facilities within the town centre.”
Locally some of the projects listed above have been completed, are currently being worked on or are due to start.
More recently development loans from the VVP programme has helped kick start the redevelopment of derelict properties in town – including the Ebenezer Chapel on Chester Road and the Wrexham Motoring Supplies Store in Penybryn, which collapsed suddenly in January 2015 .
Carl Sargeant said: “There are particular challenges around tackling inequality and developing well-connected and sustainable communities in areas which are economically disadvantaged or blighted by earlier heavy industries. We also recognise there are different challenges in rural areas.
“Local authorities and regional partnerships should use these funds to complement and reinforce the other investments we are making to widen prosperity such as the work being pursued under the City Deals, our investment in the Metros, proposals from the Valleys Taskforce and with the work to prepare for Wylfa Newydd.
“I am also keen that this new capital investment should act in support of the other programmes underway seeking to build more resilient communities, including our employability and skills programmes.”
He added resources would be focused on a limited number of investment proposals with a strong and clear economic basis for regeneration.
The new regeneration programme will be able to invest in projects from April 2018 onwards.