More countries should have placemaking grants like this $149 million “Transforming Towns” revitalization program

The small nation of Wales, UK, has a £15.2 million “placemaking” funding package to help their town centers build both economic revitalization and resilience by building back better.

It’s all part of a wider £110 million ($149 million USD) investment through Transforming Towns, the Welsh Government’s downtown regeneration program, which funds projects for the benefit of local communities in town and city centers in Wales.

The Transforming Towns Place Making Grants offer support for a wide range of revitalizing projects, from green infrastructure developments to internal and external commercial and residential improvements, with the aim of reducing the number of empty, underused sites and premises in town centers.

Of course, “placemaking” is primarily an architect-driven design approach, and is no substitute for having a proper strategic renewal process and ongoing regeneration program, but it’s a lot better than nothing, which is what most countries have.

The latest grants are for town center property owners in Pembrokeshire who are interested in renovating their buildings and/or sites. They are now being urged to apply for funds available from the Welsh Government.

Rachel Moxey, Head of Economic Development and Regeneration, urged all those eligible to receive the funds to consider submitting an application. “Town centres are facing major challenges in light of Covid-19 and these funds from Welsh Government are a fantastic opportunity for businesses and organisations to improve, regenerate and develop their buildings or sites,” she said.

The program is open to private businesses, including developers, third sector businesses, and the public sector. It is not available to private individuals.

It is available within the town centre areas of:

  • Fishguard and Goodwick
  • Milford Haven
  • Pembroke
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Tenby
  • Haverfordwest

Also available is the Transforming Towns Town Centre Loan Fund.

Interior of Haverhub in Quay Street, Haverfordwest, which was grant aided under the Transforming Towns investment program.

Owners can apply for secured loans, for a maximum term of five years, for projects that meet core eligibility criteria.

Loans are interest-free, but subject to a one-off administration fee to cover costs associated with administering the scheme.

The fund aims to reduce the number of empty sites and properties.

Applicants can include town centre businesses, private landlords, social housing associations and property developers.

Once the loan is repaid, the local authority can use it again to fund new loans and re-invest in similar projects. It must be re-invested three times over 15 years.

Town Centre loans and grants are administered by Pembrokeshire County Council.

For further information, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, email:

Photos courtesy of the government of Wales. The featured photo shows Pembroke House in Barn Street, Haverfordwest, which received support from the Transforming Towns Town Centre Loan Fund.

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