A Newtown shop that has been left empty for many years is set to be transformed into a 'reuse and repair' hub with Welsh Government funding worth £675,000.

The former William Hill betting shop on Broad Street is being bought by social enterprise Circular Economy Mid Wales (CEMW) in partnership with Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council.

Plans include a zero-plastics refill store, expanding the Repair Cafe, and space for selling donated items from the Household Waste Recycling Centre’s ‘Salvage Shed’ on the Dyffryn Industrial Estate. There will be space for holding workshops with the aim of helping communities learn new skills, save money and reduce consumption.

It is expected that the building will be open this spring as a "showcase public space".

Cllr David Selby, Mayor of Newtown said: "The project is bringing back into use an empty Town Centre shop, providing new jobs, and acting as a hub for reuse of materials and products.

"We welcome this investment in Newtown and look forward for working with CEMW and others in changing our view of waste, reuse, and consumption. Newtown is now at the forefront of this important national movement."

Last year, the Welsh Government invited applications to their Circular Economy Fund, designed to help communities keep products, materials and goods in circulation for as long as possible – avoiding waste and maximising their life.

Town Clerk, Ed Humphreys said: "This is the Town Council in its enabling role, something that's sometimes overlooked. By enabling others to bring forward proposals and by taking advantage of the opportunity, the Town Council has been able to lead and channel £675,000 investment from Welsh Government into Newtown Town Centre in a way which helps the community help itself."

Chris Powell, of Circular Economy Mid Wales, said “As a young social enterprise we have helped bring reuse and repair to public attention. This initiative will enable us to expand our capacity enabling us to divert more valuable resources away from landfill and back into the parts of our community that need them.

"Having a town centre venue to showcase reuse and repair on the high street forms part of our town’s green recovery from Covid."

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I’m delighted to see support from the Circular Economy Fund has backed this joint effort by Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and Circular Economy Mid Wales to invest in Newtown and create the new community Reuse and Repair Hub.

“The intent of the Circular Economy is to keep items and materials in use, and out of waste, as long as possible. As noted in our recently-launched ‘Beyond Recycling’ strategy on the Circular Economy, while Wales is currently the third best recycling nation in the world, keeping items in use through repair, re-use and recycling will help us reach the number one spot, and play a vital role in our drive towards becoming a carbon net-zero nation by 2050.”

She added: “As well as being an excellent example of some of the work taking place in Wales’ Circular Economy, projects such as these also play a vital role as we support town centres across Wales following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”