A regional Investment Plan for the South West Wales region
NPT Place Anchor Project
What is the Place Anchor Project?
The Place Anchor Project is one of five Anchor Projects that form part of NPTCBC’s delivery of our allocation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). This project seeks to strengthen the social fabric of our communities and encourage a sense of local pride and belonging through investment.
The Place Anchor Project consists of four strands:
- Place Marketing Campaign: Raising the profile of Neath Port Talbot as an alternative year-round visitor destination, and seeking to change perceptions of NPT as a place to visit, work and live
- Heritage, Culture, Tourism and Events Fund: Facilitating the delivery of heritage, culture and tourism priorities set out within Neath Port Talbot Council’s ‘Recover, Reset, Renew’ Corporate Plan 2022-2027, and working with interested and aligned working groups
- Aberavon Seafront Masterplan: Providing a strategic framework on which future investment decisions can be made and development opportunities identified
- Valley Industrial Units: Managing the construction of 14 new business units in 3 designated locations.
The project is wide ranging in its scope, so a brief summary of each of the strands mentioned above follows, detailing objectives, planned activity and projected outputs.
All four strands will impact positively on NPT’s strategic priorities of job creation, improved health and wellbeing, pride of place and economic growth.
What’s the value of the project and will grant funding be available?
£6.4 million of our total UKSPF allocation has been ring-fenced for the Place Anchor Project and will be spent as follows:
Place Marketing Campaign: £250,000
Heritage, Culture, Tourism and Events Fund: £2,500,000
Aberavon Seafront Masterplan: £50,000
Valley Industrial Units: £3,600,000
Place Marketing Campaign (PMC)
What is the purpose of this campaign?
The objective of the Neath Port Talbot Place Marketing Campaign will be to attract additional visitors to our area to enjoy the breadth of activities, heritage and culture-based experiences on offer. Additionally, this campaign will focus on enhancing the sense of local pride and changing perceptions of NPT as a place to visit, work and live. And while it’s natural to assume that our campaign’s primary focus will be to increase the economic contribution of tourism, it will also act as a medium to promote NPT to potential investors across other industry sectors.
How will this campaign be delivered?
There will be two distinct elements to the campaign:
- A destination marketing promotion to increase overnight stays in the region and encourage growth of the visitor economy. We will be targeting activity at our key geographical markets in the UK – the M4 corridor to London, the South West, Midlands and within Wales
- A ‘Pride of Place’ marketing promotion, focusing on changing perceptions of Neath Port Talbot among local residents, plus residents and investors across the wider South Wales region.
All aspects of the campaign will communicate the Neath Port Talbot place branding which was developed in 2020, in partnership with local stakeholders. We created this branding in order to challenge and change perceptions of Neath Port Talbot. At the core of our brand story is Neath Port Talbot being ‘Dramatic at heart’ – a place of extreme contrasts where natural beauty exists side-by-side with the man-made, and a region that sits at the centre of South Wales, joining east with west.
Heritage, Culture,Tourism and Events Fund (HCTE)
What is the purpose of the funding?
Heritage, culture and tourism are important drivers for the region, both in terms of employment contribution to the economy. Furthermore, investment in our heritage and culture impacts positively across other key priorities for the area, such as improving wellbeing and social cohesion, tackling isolation and facilitating access to services.
The HCTE fund will be accessible to public, private and voluntary sector partners to fund priority heritage, culture and tourism projects that demonstrate alignment with the Council’s forthcoming Culture Strategy, The Neath Port Talbot Destination Management Plan and Council’s Heritage Strategy.
Where will the funding be targeted?
Those involved in the development or improvement of our heritage and cultural assets will be eligible to apply for funding – whether they are public sector partners, event organisers, businesses, voluntary organisations or community groups.
Activities that would be considered a priority for funding could include:
- Undertaking the restoration, conservation and acquisition of listed and historically important structures
- Upgrading accessibility of sites to enable more residents and visitors to interact with NPT’s heritage and culture
- Enhancing and interpreting sites of heritage and cultural interest to develop greater understanding and appeal
- Assisting volunteer and third sector organisations in promoting participation in local heritage and cultural activities and securing future resilience of groups
- Supporting the delivery of infrastructure improvements on the ground which will strengthen NPT’s tourism offer and extend visitor overnight stays within the area
- Marketing of specific sites, attractions or products which will increase awareness of the heritage, culture and natural environment of NPT to local residents
- Completing feasibility studies to establish the business case for delivering specific investments or initiatives aligned to our heritage, culture and tourism strategies
- Developing interpreted bilingual trails which support the wider understanding of the landscape and its influence on the heritage and culture of the region
- Large and small scale events which highlight the significance and uniqueness of heritage and culture within Neath Port Talbot.
How will the funding be spent?
A budget of £2.5 million has been allocated to this project strand and we anticipate that there will be 3 funding streams open:
- Heritage, Culture and Tourism – Strategic Interventions: Offering up to 100% capital funding to public sector partners (including NPTCBC) to deliver priority capital projects up to a maximum of £250,000
- Heritage, Culture and Tourism – Small Scale Interventions: Offering up to 100% capital and/or revenue funding to public and third sector constituted groups up to a maximum of £150,000
- Heritage and Cultural Events: Revenue funding offering between 45% (private sector) and 100% (public and voluntary sector) of eligible expenditure, up to a maximum of £10,000, relating to marketing, equipment and community participation at community and strategically important events within the county.
Aberavon Seafront Masterplan (ASM)
What is the purpose of this masterplan?
Since 2001, the Council has been undertaking an extensive programme of Regeneration on the Seafront. Over £22million has been spent on enhancing the Seafront and upgrading public facilities with over £8million of this being funded from external sources and private investment. Improvements have included an Aqua Splash, children’s play areas, adventure golf course and a leisure and fitness centre, all of which have contributed to the seafront’s increased popularity with visitors and local residents alike. However, there is some concern that the approach to the redevelopment has been somewhat fragmented and that a clear long-term strategy is required for future investment and development. The ASM will provide us with a strategic framework on which future investment decisions can be made and development opportunities identified.
What is the purpose of this masterplan?
We plan to procure the services of a consultancy firm to produce the ASM, to be overseen by our Regeneration Team with support from the Legal and Procurement Team. The resulting strategy will provide a steer for future investment and development of Aberavon Seafront, which will have taken into account the following key priorities:
- Attracting further investment in the visitor offer and job creation.
- Offering further commercial opportunities (and job creation)
- Increasing visitor numbers and spend
- Safeguarding existing businesses and jobs
- Improving community cohesion and wellbeing
- Securing the seafront’s long-term future as asset to the NPT, enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.
What is the projected output?
We have set the following output to be achieved by the end of the project (March 2025):
- Completion of a comprehensive feasibility study detailing the future direction for future investment and development of Aberavon Seafront.
Valley Industrial Units (VIU)
What is the purpose of this project strand?
This project strand will be developed to address the significant lack of appropriate commercial accommodation in our region, and specifically, locally in our valleys areas. The region is, to a large extent, reliant upon start-ups, micro and small business and a major barrier for expansion is access to suitable premises.
The Council owns and manages a stock of industrial units ranging in size from those suitable for small start-ups to large commercial units occupied by key local businesses, over 11 different business parks and industrial estates across Neath Port Talbot. However, our units are at almost 100% occupation, and there is a waiting list for every industrial estate.
How will this project strand be delivered?
In order to meet this demand, we will construct 8 new units of approximately 1,000 sq.ft per unit on each of the existing industrial estates at Glyncorrwg and Cwmgors, and 6 new units on the industrial estate at Nant y Cafn, which has existing infrastructure but has not been developed to date. These three valleys sites have been chosen either because they are existing industrial estates, or have infrastructure already in place and therefore, the units can be delivered before the project delivery deadline of March 2025.
These units will be targeted at those just starting up a new business or businesses in the early stages of their lifecycle. Creating business spaces for start-ups and indigenous businesses will encourage diversification and growth of the economy in the valleys’ communities (particularly in the foundational economy). This will result in more job opportunities, increased economic activity and improvement of the region’s Gross Value Added (the value of goods and services produced, minus the cost of all inputs involved in their production). This project strand will also help make Neath Port Talbot a more attractive place in which to invest and do business.
What are the projected outputs?
We have set the following outputs to be achieved by the end of the project (March 2025):
- 65 acres of land developed (2630 sq. m.)
- 14 units created, totalling 14,000 sq. ft. (1300 sq. m.)
- 14 SME’s accommodated
- 56 jobs accommodated
- Gross Value Added increased by £1,120,000
- Annual rental income to the authority of £60,000.