Pontypool town centre in South Wales has been given £849,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to finance a vital regeneration scheme.
The investment is part of the Heritage Lottery’s Townscape Heritage Initiative and will enable Torfaen County Borough Council to improve the built heritage within the town’s retail and commercial centre, which has suffered from social and economic decline with the loss of major local employers and trade.
Local people will benefit from the scheme which will enable them to learn about their heritage and gain new skills through community training initiatives.
With a rich industrial past, Pontypool was once one of the most industrially important towns in the whole of Europe.
Dan Clayton Jones, Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Committee for Wales said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is proud to be playing a key role in helping to revitalise this once thriving Welsh town. We have invested in this scheme to support the Council’s bid to transform the town, making essential improvements and repairs that will encourage local businesses and visitors back and in doing so attract further investment.
“We are positive this scheme will help make Pontypool a vibrant town once again and a place where people enjoy living and working, and can feel more confident about the future.”
Twenty six key properties will be restored to create an attractive destination for shopping and leisure which will attract investors and visitors.
There will be a training programme offering skills workshops in traditional building techniques such as sign writing, carpentry and masonry to help fill the specialist skills shortage and ensure long term maintenance of the built heritage.
Two years ago Stoke-on-Trent College refused to run courses for young people who wanted to learn traditional craft skills and work in the heritage industry.