£13m Grant for Neath Retail Development
Neath has become the first town to benefit from a new regeneration fund, with a loan of £13m to prepare the way for a long-awaited retail development. Traders have hailed it as the good news the town has been waiting for as work on the £13 million first phase of the long-awaited town centre redevelopment will finally start after Christmas. It will see a new multi-storey car park go up alongside Neath Civic Centre with the existing multi-storey demolished and shops built in its place.
The Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales, funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union, 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 scheme, 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 money will fund the demolition and building works that are needed for a town centre retail development that will provide 110,000 sq ft of new retail space. The new development will be linked to the existing town centre, and will also provide a new 580 space multi-storey car park. Neath is a popular shopping destination, but due to its historic market town character there is a shortage of larger modern premises – something the development hopes to address.
Housing, Regeneration and Heritage Minister Huw Lewis said: "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.” 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.”
Business Minister Edwina Hart added: "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." And Neath Chamber of Trade president Andrew Lodwig said: “This is brilliant news and it has been a long time coming.
Amber Infrastructure project director Leo Bedford said: “This investment wouldn’t have been possible without the clear sense of purpose, and commitment shown by Neath Port Talbot Council, which has 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 projects.”