New Homes in Pontypridd thanks to investment
Young professionals who previously couldn’t afford to rent a property of their own have moved into impressive new town centre apartments, thanks to ongoing investment in Pontypridd via Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
The Council secured £5.9million from Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places (VVP) programme to invest in the Pontypridd area with a focus on boosting the local economy and creating strong, healthy communities with high-quality housing options.
Investment has already begun, enabling the launch of important regeneration initiatives including; the modernisation of the YMCA, the purchase of the strategic Taff Vale Precinct site, TEPS Plus which offers grants to businesses to regenerate or improve premises and providing free energy and money saving measures, such as loft and cavity wall insulation, to households.
Five important schemes have secured a total of nearly half a million pounds from the Council via VVP to undertake internal and external improvements and refurbishments to properties in the town centre to either boost existing businesses or accommodate new ones.
The latest success story in the Council’s ongoing VVP delivery is the transformation of once-derelict empty space above retail premises in Taff Street, Pontypridd, in partnership with Rhondda Housing Association.
It invested some £300,000 towards the overall cost of the project, which created six one and two bedroom flats, built specifically to be used by those who need affordable housing.
Rhondda Housing Association secured a 35-year lease for the space from the building’s owner and secured planning permission, before using the investment to create the modern, airy flats.
All but one of them has now been let to young professionals who are working but earn too much to qualify for housing benefit, but don’t earn enough to secure a mortgage or pay private rental costs.
The new flats give the tenants the chance to live in a popular town centre which has good commuter links, local employers and a varied social and leisure scene to enjoy in their free time.
It also continues to add to the ongoing regeneration of the town, not only improving its physical appearance and economic offer by bringing empty, derelict and often eyesore properties back to life, but also adding to the mix of the town’s community by adding more residential properties alongside retail, commercial and licensed premises.
Cllr Keiron Montague, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet member with responsibility for Tackling Poverty, Engagement and Housing joined Cllr Robert Bevan, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Planning and Lesley David, Chief Executive of Rhondda Housing Association for a tour of the development.
Cllr Montague said: “Current financial challenges and less money of our own to spend means it is vital the Council continues to work innovatively and effectively to secure external investment such as VVP.
“The VVP funding has been granted to us on the condition we invest it to create vibrant and viable communities and that is just what we and Rhondda Housing Association have done with this important new development.
“It has provided high-quality, affordable homes for those who need them, allowing them, as they build their careers and personal lives, to enjoy living in a home of their own.
“Previously you could walk through town and see empty and even run-down spaces above the retail units, which could cause a sense of degeneration. Now you see the occupied homes of those who are working hard and just need a helping hand to get on the property ladder.
“The investment has added to the mix of Pontypridd, it is no longer a place you only visit in the day time to shop or in the evening to socialise. It now has a growing residential community which also adds to the prosperity of the town.”
Cllr Robert Bevan added: “The near £6m we will invest in the Pontypridd area via the Welsh Government’s VVP funding comes just months after the completion of the £10m regeneration of the physical appearance of the town centre and its buildings and is hot on the heels of the opening of the £6m Lido Ponty, National Lido of Wales.
“It continues to be good news for Pontypridd as we work to do all we can, on behalf of its businesses, visitors and residents, to create a thriving town centre which has an excellent range of shopping, commercial, social and residential opportunities.
“VVP is an ongoing programme which will bring further exciting developments and regeneration initiatives to Pontypridd.”
Sean Tristham, Development Director at Rhondda Housing Association added: “We are committed to delivering high quality housing solutions for the people and communities of RCT.
“This development is another example of how RHA uses innovative thinking to provide homes for people unable to access housing via traditional routes. This intermediate market rent model will allow local people to live, work and play within Pontypridd.”