Among the projects to benefit from the £1.2m award include a scheme to improve footpaths and cycleways in North Torfaen, a public artwork in Blaenavon and extending a popular allotment project in Torfaen.
The largest single beneficiary is the £400,000 bid from Merthyr Tydfil Council for the purchase and demolition of the Hollies Health Centre in Merthyr Tydfil. This area has been identified in the Merthyr Tydfil town centre master plan as a site for future redevelopment in order to attract more retail outlets.
The Minister said,
“Funding local initiatives such as these can help make Welsh communities better places to live, work and visit, whilst promoting job creation to complete the construction side of things.
“The funding also supports other regeneration commitments, particularly developing our town centres and encouraging tourism and once completed the projects can boost the local economy through increased visitor numbers and trade.
“All the successful projects will add value to ongoing regeneration schemes within the Heads of the Valleys regeneration area and contribute towards bringing further significant regeneration development opportunities.”
Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC has been successful in bidding for £256,482 to go towards the Aberdare Public Realm Enhancement programme and £120,000 has also been awarded to provide a high quality stone wall pedestrian barrier along the A4059 in Aberdare.
An application for up to £20,000 from Caerphilly CBC for the Butetown Heritage Project has been approved in order to carry out a study to identify the investment required for safeguarding buildings in the Butetown Conservation area.
Torfaen CBC were also successful in their bid for £80,000 for a piece of public art in Blaenavon. The artwork will commemorate the life and achievements of former rugby international – Ken Jones. The public artwork will also celebrate the 2012 London Olympics when the torch passed through the streets of Blaenavon.
An application for £57,000 from Caerphilly CBC has been approved for the Caerphilly Landscaping Project. The additional funding will be used to carry out work on the Aberbargoed Grasslands. The funding will also be used to enhance key routes and improve access to the area’s natural resources.
£20,000 has been awarded to Torfaen CBC to complete a community allotment project at the Life Station, as part of the Trevethin Neighbourhood Centre Programme.
Blaenau Gwent CBC is to receive £75,000 in order to improve the Ebbw Vale Rugby Club floodlights. The ground, in addition to being the home to Ebbw Vale rugby club, is also widely used for community events and supports local children and young people through sporting development.
£23,451 has been awarded to Interlink RCT to carry out a feasibility study to review the potential for small scale micro hydro schemes in the Heads of the Valleys area. Profits from the Hydrate project will be reinvested into community projects such as community centres, play groups and environmental improvements.
The Loops and Links project is to benefit from £110,000 in order to undertake further works to the footpaths and cycleway infrastructure in North Torfaen in order to improve access for local people and visitors.
This will include improving access to the existing cycleway, undertaking preliminary works for the Blaenavon to Brynmawr cycleway, signage at Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, upgrading surfacing and installing a bridge.
In 2012/13 the Welsh Government has committed a total of £12,500,000 for regeneration projects in the Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Area. Over 30 projects have been approved with Welsh Government funding attracting significant EU, Heritage Lottery Fund, private sector and other financial investment into the area.