Council 'deeply disappointed' by Rhyl funding refusal

Denbighshire County Council has expressed its deep disappointment at news that its bid for funding from a Welsh Government regeneration programme for Rhyl Town Centre has been unsuccessful.

The Council had submitted a bid for £12 million from the Vibrant and Viable Places funds to invest in the town centre, but has been informed in a written statement by Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration that the bid would not be supported.

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE said: "While we recognise that it was a competitive process, we believed we had a strong case for investment  in Wales' most deprived community and had put forward the right solutions to drive forward our programme of regeneration for the town.

"Our plans, based on our deep understanding of the issues facing Rhyl and drawn together following discussions with public and private sector partners, sought £12 million funding from the Vibrant & Viable Places fund over the next 3 years to complement £8 million investment from other sources, including Denbghshire County Council and the private sector, to change the face of Rhyl Town Centre.

"The investment would have allowed the Council and its partners to renovate and bring empty retail units back into use, create office accommodation to attract other private sector businesses into the town centre and develop new apartments to encourage people to, once again, live in the Town Centre.

"Rhyl Town Centre, like many across the UK, is struggling with competition from online sales and out of town shopping developments taking its toll on our traditional businesses. All of these proposed actions, we believe, would have brought a buzz and vitality back to the town centre, breathing new life into it and supporting high street and other businesses to return to success.

"Set alongside the other significant investments that are coming in the town by the Council, Welsh Government and increasingly by the private sector - Rhyl High School, the new hotel on the former Honey Club site, the new housing to be developed in West Rhyl, the Rhyl Harbour development to name but a few - we believe that our proposals for investment in the Town Centre would have been the final piece in the jigsaw that Rhyl needed to return to its rightful place as a prosperous, successful and attractive seaside town.

"We are bitterly disappointed to have lost this opportunity to progress with our plans. But we won't let it stop us."

"We will carry on developing our ideas for Rhyl Town Centre and will look for alternative sources of funding to make them happen. The Minister's statement includes reference to a smaller £5M allocation that it may be able to secure funding from and the Council is making urgent enquiries about how to access that funding. We believe we should also be in a good position to make a strong bid for investment from the next round of EU grants that are due to come on stream next year. Rhyl is our regeneration priority and we are remain committed to our programme for it".

Posted on Thursday 12th September 2013