The Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) is an historic building improvements grant scheme under the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) programme. Its main objectives are to increase awareness of the qualities of the built heritage and to encourage people back into the Pontmorlais Heritage Quarter. Its purpose is to ensure high quality, traditional repair and reinstatement by encouraging grant applications. It aims to improve the image and character of the architecture and reinforce its local distinctiveness whilst assisting in achieving the objectives of the Article 4 Directions.
The scheme is administered by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (MTCBC) with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Cadw MTCBC and the Welsh Government via their Heads of the Valleys Programme.
The Pontmorlais THI Project will last for 5 years (October 2011 to September 2016) subject to the availability of funding from all the contributing partners. It must be noted, however, that all applications will need to be made within the first 3 years, so that all grant assisted work can be completed and all claims for payment settled by the end of year 5 (September 2016).
Properties eligible for grant assistance must be situated within the designated THI area. The applicant must be either the freeholder of the property or person holding a lease with an unexpired term of at lease 10 years, without a break clause, at the date of application. A minimum grant sum of £10,000 and a maximum of £400,000 have been set. These and grant rates are subject to review according to demand and availability.
Building Repair: If the property is in need of structural repair or external improvement such as repairs to roofs, their ridges, chimneys and flashings; repair of rainwater goods, doors & windows; re-pointing or re-rendering of walls etc. there is a 75% grant available. This does not include routine maintenance, redecoration, or internal repairs alone.
Re-instatement of heritage details: Properties that have lost architectural features including casement and sash windows, front doors, chimney pots and stacks, and mouldings are eligible for a 90% grant to re-instate them.
Vacant floor space: There is a 50% grant available for bringing vacant floor space back into use. This will include, where necessary, creating new access from ground level to upper floors and making good the internal structure of this vacant floor space. It will not include electrical, mechanical or plumbing improvements or re-design of the space.
Professional Fees: Professional fees and contract preliminaries are also eligible for 75% grant aid.
It is important to note that the THI is very much a conservation grant scheme with emphasis placed on traditional methods and materials appropriate to the building where ever possible, for example, UPVC windows are not acceptable. A high standard of workmanship is expected for all works. Grants are repayable if the owner sells or transfers ownership of their interest in the property within a specific period. Repayment of a share of the grant will be required as the local authority and other funding partners see fit. For grants of up to £25,000 the condition will apply for 5 years from the acceptance of the grant. For grants of £25,000 and over it will apply for 10 years from the date of the final payment of the grant.
The Pontmorlais THI Officer has been especially appointed to give you advice and help with the relevant application forms. If you need other consents such as Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent or Building Regulations, the THI Officer will advise you on how to apply. If you are interested in obtaining a grant, please contact the Portmorlais THI Officer to obtain an application pack and to arrange a site meeting or informal discussion.