Council eyes levelling-up bids for luxury hotel and cafe quarter
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Levelling-up bids to develop a boutique hotel with conference facilities and a cultural hub and cafe quarter are being prepared by Torfaen council.
The two projects – for a luxury hotel at Blaenavon House, and for a cultural hub and cafe quarter in Pontypool – have been identified as having the best chance of success in round two of the UK Government’s levelling-up fund by council bosses.
Torfaen council’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday to approve the submission of the bids to the fund.
The bid for a world heritage hotel at Blaenavon House is focussed on the redevelopment of the former Ironmasters house.
Costing £13.950-million, the hotel would include conference facilities and a spa.
A council report says the plan would result in the creation of 40 jobs and would bring “a key part of the heritage landscape back into use”.
The levelling-up bid will request £10.949-million, with the remaining £3-million provided by the owners of the property.
Meanwhile, the Pontypool bid includes developing a new cafe at the entrance on Hanbury Road, redevelopment of the derelict St James’s Church and improvements to the civic car park.
The new cafe aims to connect Pontypool Park and the town centre, drawing visitors between the two locations.
St James’ Church would be redeveloped into a food and cultural hub, with the current owners overseeing the redevelopment and operation of the venue.
Improvements to the civic car park are aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour, improving its visual appearance and creating attractive parking options for evening visitors to the proposed food and cultural venues.
Roof mounted solar panels are also proposed as part of the project.
The total cost for the Pontypool project is estimated at £7.086-million, with £4.836-million requested from the levelling-up fund.
Torfaen council would contribute £1.5-million, in addition to the £490,000 already committed, while the owner of St James’ Church would provide £750,000.
The second round of the levelling-up fund was launched in spring.
Local authorities can bid for as many projects as it has constituencies, which in Torfaen’s case allows for two bids.
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