The Welsh Government has announced £9 million wil be made available to support town centres in their recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said up to £5.3 million will be used to fund adaptions in town centres to support traders and improve public safety in response to Covid-19.
The money can go towards improving outdoor areas and can be spent on things like bollards, planters, outdoor awnings, outdoor tables and chairs, outdoor heating, outdoor screening, electricity supply and lighting to outdoor trading spaces and the temporary use of vacant buildings and the establishment of local markets. This can help businesses, which have been allowed to open to serve customers in their gardens.
Hannah Blythyn MS said she hopes the changes "will provide a sense of wellbeing, safety and confidence to encourage people to return to the high street".
The £5.3 million will be available during the remainder of 2020-21.
The money will also go towards sustainable and green infrastructure schemes. In Rhyl, it will be used to increase space for pedestrians and cyclists to maintain social distancing and improve sustainable travel.
Denbighshire Council also plans to create a greener town centre.
Other funding includes:
A new allocation of £3.7m of Valleys taskforce funding to improve small town centres in the Valleys region with a focus on enabling communities to work closer to home within town centres through co-working spaces
£15.4 million Local Sustainable Transport fund to provide better active and sustainable travel infrastructure to make it safer and easier for people to get around their local town
Funding to support Business Improvement Districts’ running costs for three months
Announcing the new fund during a visit to Rhyl, Hannah Blythyn MS said:
“Investing in our town centres is as relevant as ever but as we do not yet know the longer term impact Coronavirus will have on our town centres, it is vital any short term actions have a lasting impact and enhance the look and feel of our town centres."
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport and Chair of the Valleys Taskforce, Lee Waters said:
"The £3.7m Valleys Taskforce Funding places an important focus on enabling communities in the region to work closer to home within town centres through co-working spaces and sustainable and active travel improvements.
“This will be crucial in supporting our smaller town centre high streets as well as building our foundational economy."