A major funding bid that will help reverse the decline of Holyhead town centre and spark its regeneration has been approved by the UK Government.
The Isle of Anglesey County Council submitted its successful multi-million-pound bid to the Levelling Up Fund in August 2022.
The UK Government today (Thursday, 19 January) announced that the Holyhead bid was among those successful following a competitive bidding process.
The "Holyhead: A culture and heritage driven transformation" bid will help reverse the decline of the town centre, and increase pride of place for residents. It will help transform the town by securing £22.5m of investment, including £17m from the Levelling Up Fund, and deliver more than £54m in benefits to the local community.
The bid included an exciting package of projects to increase employment; improve the town centre offer and visitor experience; increase footfall and spending; provide modern floor space to meet business needs and increase access to the arts, culture and leisure.
The island’s largest town, Holyhead has some of the worst deprived neighbourhoods in Wales. The successful bid will now see key local assets enhanced to make the area a better place to live and visit.
The Holyhead bid was closely aligned with the objectives of the Levelling Up White Paper and deemed the only one with a credible chance of support and success in the competitive bidding process.
The Isle of Anglesey County Council worked in partnership with Holyhead Town Council, Môn CF, Ucheldre Arts Centre and the Church in Wales to understand the area’s needs and present a package of interventions in and around Holyhead.
Anglesey Council Deputy Leader and Economic Development portfolio holder, Councillor Carwyn Jones, welcomed news of the successful Levelling Up Fund bid.
Councillor Jones said, “This is great news for the town of Holyhead, Holy Island and Ynys Môn. Our bid was well thought out and looks to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Levelling Up Fund to make a real and lasting difference to local people’s lives and opportunities.”
“We worked incredibly closely with our partners for nearly a year to progress and develop their ideas and prepare a strong bid that met all of UK Government’s requirements. I would like to thank the county council’s staff and partners for ensuring the success of this major funding bid.”
He added, “Today’s confirmation by the UK Government is another major step forward in the revival of Holyhead, with benefits that will extend across the whole island.”
Ynys Môn Virginia Crosbie MP, who was proud to endorse the bid, said, "This is a huge win for Holyhead and I am thrilled UK Government money is coming to our island to make a big difference to residents’ lives.”
"This £17 million will help create jobs, investment opportunities, a sense of civic pride and cultural renewal. I can think of no town more deserving of the £54 million of total benefits that comes with it.”
"I would like to thank everyone who has been part of the bid, especially Holyhead Town Council for its commitment to the project. Working together we have achieved a great deal and should be proud of this partnership of councils, politicians, businesses, organisations and the private sector.”
She added, "This is a new dawn for Holyhead. It will not eliminate all our challenges, but it gives us a big step up in the right direction."
The Levelling Up Fund is a competitive funding programme assessed and administered by the UK Government. Local authorities are the only body who can submit applications to the fund which covers three key priorities; supporting town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.
The "Holyhead: A culture and heritage driven transformation" bid was submitted following an initial expression of interest process and having carefully considered the UK Government funding criteria.
Ends 18 January 2023
Notes to editors
The key components of the bid include:
- A substantial extension to the Ucheldre Arts Centre - to provide better facilities and greater capacity to enable this key cultural institution to grow its programme and reach more people.
- The renovation of St Cybi’s Church, the Grade 1 listed star of Holyhead’s heritage assets and Eglwys Y Bedd, which will expand into a community hub, helping local people and bringing more activity into the heart of the town.
- A substantial extension by Holyhead Town Council to the Empire Play Centre - the town’s main indoor attraction, to cater for increasingly higher demand and the renovation of the Newry Beach Frontages improving facilities for locals and visitors alike.
- Môn CF will embark on a property restoration programme, targeting some of the largest and most prominent vacant properties and creating sustainable vibrant new community uses, ensuring that these buildings are saved for future generations.
- The Isle of Anglesey County Council will extend the highly successful Townscape Transformation programme, refurbishing dilapidated town centre heritage properties helping to reverse the decline of the town centre.
- Further enhancements to the Breakwater Heritage Visitor Centre, including improvements to routes and public realm, routes and links from the Country Park back to the town centre, allowing more people to learn about the heritage of Holyhead, Holy Island and Ynys Môn.