Neath Port Talbot Council is to help fund a major refurbishment of the landmark former Royal British Legion building in Eastland Road, Neath.
The aim is to turn the now mostly derelict structure into an attractive centre for bars and other local businesses with improvements to its exterior and interior spaces.
At their meeting on January 12th , 2024, members of the council’s Environment, Regeneration and Streetscene Services Cabinet Board approved a £82,500 Commercial Property Grant to fund almost half the estimated £172,000 cost of the transformation work.
The grant will be used by the private owner of the building to carry out the refurbishments.
The former Royal British Legion building stands on a prominent gateway into the centre of Neath.
Because of its condition it has become a significant eyesore which is detrimental to the character of Neath, offering a poor impression of the town centre to visitors entering from the south end of Eastland Road.
An officers’ report to the Cabinet Board said: “The overall scheme involves the refurbishment of the entire building to provide bars with pool tables, part of the space potentially being let to small local businesses.
“It will provide an additional establishment for assembly and leisure and will so attract footfall, enhancing the vibrancy and vitality of this southern gateway to Neath town centre.
“The work will improve the quality of the built environment to attract further economic investment to the area. It will bring a large mostly empty building back in to full use, increasing the local supply of commercial floorspace and creating opportunities for new business/employment.”
Historically the Commercial Property Grant initiative has been part funded by the council within the Neath Port Talbot Regeneration Capital Programme for borough-wide projects that target specific commercial centres, Communities First areas and Neighbourhood Renewal Areas.
Provision of £315,875 is available for Commercial Property Grant schemes within the 2023/24 Regeneration Capital Programme.
The Commercial Property Grant eligible elements of the scheme mostly involve work to the front of the building (facing the B4434 road) and side (southwest) elevations including:
- Replacement grey powder-coated double glazed aluminium windows and doors and real wood effect composite cladding over the existing external wall cladding at first floor level
- Render to walls at ground floor level
- Replacement fascias.
- Repair and enhancement of external hard landscaping including the ramped access, low wall and the creation of planting areas.
- Installation of steel palisade gate
Cllr Scott Jones, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene said: “The site has been a well-known landmark but over the years it has become derelict and it is hoped with the help of this Commercial Property Grant it will not only look better but will also play a part in boosting the local economy.”