Business Consortium in Neath Meets
The newly formed Business Consortium in Neath held its first
business breakfast this week.
Local businesses and traders came along to listen to guest
speaker Gareth Nutt who is Head of Property and Regeneration at
Neath Port Talbot Council.
Council Leader, Ali Thomas, welcomed the town centre traders and
set out the Council's vision for the future prosperity of Neath
He said, "We are all proud of this unique market town and the
pleasurable shopping experience it offers residents and visitors
"We accept that there are things that need to be done but the
overriding ethos of this business consortium is that we can all
work together to tackle any issues and make the town look as good
as the newly refurbished Victoria Gardens.
"This will build confidence as we move forward into this new era
of regeneration for Neath."
Key speaker Gareth Nutt gave an insight into what has already
been achieved and what the future holds for the town centre.
He talked about projects that make up the Neath Town Centre
Framework and how the Council is confident that the bids for
European funding to the Welsh Assembly will be successful and that
good news was expected very soon.
Projects already completed are Church Place, Angel Square,
Stockham's Corner and Victoria gardens whilst the private sector
has invested significantly in such projects as the Market Chambers
building on the Parade. The Council also has proposals to improve
the streetscene around the Parade with plans in the pipeline for
Neath railway station and Canal Green.
The Gwyn Hall will be a quality community venue which is due for
completion in the new year and will hopefully open its doors in
Mr Nutt also gave the consortium an update on the wider
regeneration of Neath town centre including the much awaited retail
development. Much work has been going on behind the scenes on land
acquisition so that 90% of the land needed is now in the ownership
of the Council.
"We are expecting some good news shortly about funding for the
scheme which would enable us to take a decision to start on phase
1, focussing on the new 600 space car park and several retail
units," he said.
"These are challenging times and we must take advantage of every
opportunity. The Council's overall vision for Neath town centre is
one of quality regeneration which will set the tone for long term
Recently elected Vice Chair of Neath Chamber of Trade, Andrew
Lodwig, said he was very impressed with news about projects
He said, "I am more aware now of what is happening in Neath town
centre and would encourage more traders in Neath to join the
consortium to find out more information.
"Sometimes a lack of information can cause frustration so these
business breakfasts are a great idea.
"It is important that everyone works together to secure a
positive future for local traders and Neath town centre."
Sally Rowlands, Manager of the Castle Hotel, added, "I see this
consortium as the way forward to success and am pleased to see a
lot of independent businesses on board who are passionate about the
"I call on all traders to come to the meetings and be a part of
the vision for Neath which, in turn, will ensure the success of
their own businesses and the town centre as a whole."
Thanking everyone for attending, the Leader emphasised that
despite a worsening financial market, Neath Port Talbot Council is
winning battles and goodwill between local businesses and the
Council can make things happen on the ground and create the
environment for good shopping.