£1.6m Heritage Lottery grant to regenerate Pontmorlais, Merthyr

Wednesday, 28th September 2011
    Opportunities for local contractors and building services as it is confirmed that more than a dozen historic buildings in Merthyr Tydfil, some dating back more than 200 years, are to be restored as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given the final go-ahead for £1.58m towards the buildings in the Pontmorlais quarter of the town. The HLF said the money would help "revitalise this once thriving town".     The Merthyr project involves 15 buildings, including the Morlais Castle Inn, as part of the local council's townscape heritage initiative. There will also be training opportunities for local contractors to learn new skills and create jobs.     Jennifer Stewart, head of HLF in Wales, said: "The money will help fund essential improvements and repairs to encourage local businesses and visitors back into the area." The money was earmarked last year, and has now been paid to the council. It will be concentrated in the High Street area, which was created between 1770 and 1820.   Marlies Pires, owner of the Imperial Hotel and the Morlais Castle Inn - one of the buildings hoping to benefit from funding - said: "Pontmorlais is in a desperate need of regeneration so we are over the moon with the news that this scheme is set to go ahead. In the current economic climate it would be impossible for us and other small businesses to carry out the work needed."     Meanwhile, heritage projects in Cardiff, Hay-on-Wye and Montgomeryshire have passed a first stage in the grant process towards £1.6m funding. The applicants now have two years to develop their plans in order to compete for round two funding.     This includes the next phase of Cardiff Museum, which includes a gallery, temporary exhibition space, cafe and a public area for research and collection activities.     Hay-on-Wye is aiming to restore the grade II listed Victorian cheese market building and bring it back into community use. While Montgomeryshire have plans to extend and the reserve, including a new bird observatory with teaching and exhibition space, remote camera system and a training programme for volunteers.