Councillors back bid for levelling up funds to build luxury hotel in Blaenavon
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Bids to develop a luxury hotel with conference facilities, and a cultural hub and cafe quarter in Torfaen, will be submitted to the UK Government’s Levelling-Up Fund after being backed by senior councillors.
Torfaen council’s cabinet voiced their support for the two projects – for a luxury hotel at Blaenavon House, and for a cultural hub and cafe quarter in Pontypool – at a meeting on Tuesday.
The bid to fund a luxury hotel at Blaenavon House is focussed on the redevelopment of the former Ironmasters house, and costing £13.950 million, it would include conference facilities and a spa.
A package bid for Pontypool includes developing a new cafe at the park entrance on Hanbury Road, redevelopment of the derelict St James’s Church and improvements to the civic car park.
Outlining the plans, Cllr Jo Gauden, executive member for economy, skills and regeneration, said: “These ambitious plans will go some way to increasing footfall and confidence for future investors in two of our towns where traders have struggled with a decline in retail for many years.”
The plans form part of a wider vision for the future of Pontypool, Blaenavon and Cwmbran being drawn up by Torfaen council.
Proposals for Cwmbran are expected to be outlined later this year after they were put back following the sale of Cwmbran Centre.
Cllr Richard Clark welcomed the plans for the luxury hotel, saying they represented “the last piece of the jigsaw” for the heritage town.
He said the proposed hotel would encourage people to stay in the town and to visit its attractions in the area.
Cllr Fiona Cross welcomed the plans for Pontypool, and asked about how the projects would also encourage people to visit the town centre.
Dave Leech, the council’s chief officer for communities customer and digital, said the schemes focussed on the town centre would form the next stage of the authority’s plans for Pontypool.
Council leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said it was important to ensure the projects form part of a wider strategy for the future of the three towns in Torfaen.
He added that all three towns have “something unique to offer”.
“I think we are only going to get somewhere by talking our places up,” he added.
The levelling-up bid for the hotel will request £10.949 million, with the remaining £3 million provided by the owners of the property.
The Pontypool project is estimated to cost £7.086 million, with £4.836 million requested from the levelling-up fund.
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