£13 million Boost for Neath Town Centre Development
Neath is to become the first town to benefit from the
Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW) with a loan
investment of £13million in the redevelopment of the town
Funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union, the RIFW
provides loans to stimulate and support urban development projects.
As the loan is repaid, it will be recycled through investments in
new projects across Wales.
The Fund, managed by Amber Fund Management Limited, will play a
vital role in the regeneration of Neath Town Centre by enabling the
demolition and building works that are needed for the development
to go ahead.
The final development will provide more than 110,000 sq
ft of new retail space, linked to the existing town centre at Wind
Street and a new 580 space multi-storey car park. It will create an
attractive, vibrant and competitive town that will meet the needs
of businesses, shoppers and visitors, whilst retaining its market
Work will begin early in the New Year to avoid the busy Christmas
Neath is a popular shopping destination and benefits from a loyal
and wide catchment area. Despite its current vibrancy, the
town needs to further enhance its retail offer to maintain and
develop its market share and to compete with out-of-town retail
Due to its historic market town character and the predominance of
Victorian and Edwardian shop units, there is a shortage of modern
premises of a size capable of accommodating current retail demand.
The development will address this issue.
Councillor Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said:
"The Neath town centre redevelopment plays a key part in our
efforts to make this county borough an attractive place to live,
visit and do business.
"I want to thank all of those who have never stopped working hard
behind the scenes to reach this key milestone in our vision to
regenerate Neath town centre. Finally, businesses, residents and
visitors will see our plans for Neath becoming a reality, and this
has been made possible due to the injection of the Regeneration
Investment Fund for Wales from the Welsh Government."
Housing, Regeneration and Heritage Minister Huw Lewis said: "This
is excellent news for Neath, its businesses and its people. Town
centres are the heart of communities, providing opportunities for
jobs and leisure and ensuring that services are available locally
but they are increasingly under threat from out of town shopping
development and online shopping. The Welsh Government is committed
to helping town centres to adapt to these threats .
"I am delighted that the Fund has enabled this project to go ahead.
It will bring about many economic and community benefits. Projects
such as this one, which is expected to create many new jobs,
are so important in today's tough economic climate.
"The announcement also marks an important milestone as it is the
first investment made by the Regeneration Investment Fund for
Wales. Due to the innovative nature of the Fund, this new
investment will not only have a lasting legacy for Neath, but in
due course, the funding will be recycled, which will bring benefits
to people in other parts of Wales."
Business Minister Edwina Hart said: "It is exciting news that Neath
will become the first town to benefit from the Fund, which is
supported by the Welsh Government and European Union. This
investment will help transform the centre of Neath, support town
centre businesses and safeguard local jobs by attracting more
shoppers and visitors to the area."
Leo Bedford, Project Director, Amber Infrastructure, commented: "I
am delighted to announce RIFW's pathfinder investment in a project
that will safeguard the future of this important local community
and facilitate long-term regional growth.
This investment wouldn't have been possible without the clear sense
of purpose, and commitment shown by Neath Port Talbot Council who
have been integral to the success of this project. We look forward
to helping other communities across Wales secure funding that will
support the implementation of similar regeneration