£1.1m investment for Blaenavon

Posted on:06/07/2023

Exterior view of the buildings being renovated

More than £1m is being invested in transforming three derelict buildings in Blaenavon Town Centre.

Work to renovate the old Market Tavern pub and a former bookmakers, on Broad Street, has already started, with both to become home to new commercial properties and flats.

Work has also started on a former butchers, next to Bethlehem Chapel, which is to become a takeaway. All three projects are due to be completed by the beginning of next year.

The projects have been made possible thanks to £704,000 from the Blaenavon Townscape Heritage Programme (THP) and the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Placemaking Grant, as well as £430,000 private investment.

The Blaenavon THP, which has received over £1.2 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and is also supported by Torfaen Council, Blaenavon Town Council, Cadw and the private sector, provides grant funding for buildings within the conservation area that are in urgent need of comprehensive heritage-based restoration and refurbishment.

The recent grant awards for the Market Tavern and the former butchers follow previous Blaenavon THP investment into the nearby HM Stores and The Hwb. THP projects were identified as high priority in the original submission to the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2018.

The Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Placemaking Grant affords property owners or leaseholders the opportunity to apply for funding to support a range of interventions including bringing vacant town centre buildings back into beneficial use.

There is an expectation that private investment is secured as a pre-requisite to securing Transforming Towns Placemaking Grant. Torfaen Council currently has a pipeline of projects until March 2025 following receipt of expressions of interest advertised in August 2022 and will be inviting future expressions of interest when funding becomes available.

Councillor Joanne Gauden, Executive Member for Economy, Skills and Regeneration, said: "This is great news for Blaenavon town centre. We know local residents have been keen to see the Market Tavern brought back to life for many years.

"Blaenavon is a conservation area and Broad Street is home to some beautiful original Victorian shopfronts. The renovation projects will use traditional materials in keeping with the town's heritage and preserve as many of the original features as possible."

Cllr Nathan Matthews, Mayor of Blaenavon, added: “I am delighted to see work begin on these important and much-needed projects. The Market Tavern, in particular, has been an eyesore for many years. This, along with the other projects, will enhance Broad Street, improve its appeal, and hopefully attract more business and vitality to our town.”

The Broad Street renovation projects forms part of the Blaenavon Placemaking Plan, which sets out investment aspirations for the town centre.

For further information about Transforming Towns Placemaking Grants, please contact the Strategic Place Projects Team on 01633 648293.