£100k cash windfall to boost Maesteg and Porthcawl high streets

Maesteg and Porthcawl will each get a £50,000 cash boost for schemes to help attract trade back into the town centres.

The money is from an £845,157 Welsh Government pot divided between 20 town centres. The announcement coincides with High Street Week, which encourages people to visit local shops and businesses.

The funding will go towards staging town centre events, creating town centre apps, improving empty properties (which could include so-called digital media installations), loyalty card schemes, seasonal decorations and customer service masterclasses for traders.

In Maesteg, an internet click-and-collect scheme will be created. In Porthcawl, the Grand Pavilion will become a “creative hub”, according to the Welsh Government, and there will also be surfing events, coastal activities and a Purple Flag designation to highlight the nighttime economy.

Announcing the funding, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “I am delighted to announce this funding during High Street Week, which is celebrating the vital role town centres and high streets play in creating a sense of community and providing us with a place to shop, do business, socialise and live.

“Our high streets should be the heart of our towns, creating a vibrant local economy and bustling community.

“It is true the tough economic times and the rise in popularity of online shopping have created challenges for our towns and high streets.

“This new funding I have announced will be a very welcome boost for our town centres, providing a local, tailored approach to meet their needs.”

Richard Collins, who runs the Travella clothes shop on Commercial Street, Maesteg – which was opened by his father almost 50 years ago and is about to move to different premises – said the announcement is a positive step forward.

But he said “somewhat misguided” and long-winded regeneration schemes of the past couple of decades had taken almost as much of a toll on town centres as internet shopping.

“The money will have a positive effect on this town,” he said.

“But I think what we need is some real understanding of local issues in small towns.”

Chris Smart, chairman of Porthcawl Chamber of Trade, said: “It’s extremely good news. It will obviously be welcomed by the high street traders, who have been feeling that they have been somewhat neglected by the borough council.

“Fifty thousand pounds isn’t a fortune but it’s a good start. There have been things that have boosted the town – the Senior Open golf event was very successful – but we do need every bit of support we can get.”

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/100k-cash-windfall-boost-maesteg-7827673