Welsh Government pledges £9 million to help support town centres after pandemic

The Welsh Government has given £9 million to help town centres in Wales recover following the Coronavirus.

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn has announced up to £5.3 million from the Transforming Towns programme will be used to fund adaptions in town centres to support traders and improve public safety in response to coronavirus.  While a further £3.7 million of Valleys Taskforce funding will be invested to enhance small town centres in the Valleys region.

The £5.3 million repurposed capital funding from the Transforming Towns programme, will be used to fund adaptions in town centres to facilitate trading and public safety in response to Coronavirus. This will include but not limited to; outdoor awnings, outdoor tables and chairs, outdoor heating, outdoor screening, bollards, planters, small green infrastructure schemes, electricity supply and lighting to outdoor trading spaces and the temporary use of vacant buildings and the establishment of local markets.

The £9 million fund will complement other support targeting town centre recovery including:

  • £15.4 million Local Sustainable Transport fund to provide better active and sustainable travel infrastructure to make it safer and easier for people to get around their local town
  • Funding to support Business Improvement Districts’ running costs for three months

Hannah Blythyn said: “We all know that town centres are facing huge challenges in light of Covid-19 but I am committed to ensuring Welsh town centres not only survive but thrive. Investing in our town centres is as relevant as ever but as we do not yet now the longer term impact Coronavirus will have on our town centres, it is vital any short term actions have a lasting impact and enhance the look and feel of our town centres.

“This is why I’m announcing that £5.3 million will be available during the remainder of 2020-21 to fund adaptations in town centres, which will facilitate trading and public safety in response to Coronavirus. This will include things like outdoor tables and chairs, awnings and planters to ensure that areas are segregated and safe and that business can operate under current social distancing requirements.

“These actions will provide a sense of wellbeing, safety and confidence to encourage people to return to the high street. As we plan to reopen our public spaces and town centres, we have a unique opportunity to re-think and to re-imagine our town centres as we would like them to be – greener, cleaner, more connected.”

Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport and Chair of the Valleys Taskforce, Lee Waters said: “The £3.7 million Valleys Taskforce Funding places an important focus on enabling communities in the region to work closer to home within town centres through co-working spaces and sustainable and active travel improvements.

“This will be crucial in supporting our smaller town centre high streets as well as building our foundational economy. There is no denying the coronavirus pandemic has placed unprecedented pressures and challenges on our economic outlook, but it has also given us an opportunity to re-imagine how we want to not just recover, but build back better. Today’s announcement will be key to that and help ensure our towns survive and thrive long into the future.”

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