WELSH Government funding has been announced for a project to help boost businesses in Abergavenny - but a similar project in Newport city centre has been turned down.

Housing and regeneration minister Carl Sargeant yesterday announced that the town will receive £17.000 in funding to help local businesses establish a business improvement district (BID) plan.

A funding application from Newport was refused - but the president of the chamber of trade says it is not the end of the road with a ballot of firms planned for November.

BIDs are business funded schemes, set within a defined area, where firms pay a levy based on their rateable value.

Once set up the levy allows the BID to spend money on certain projects - with Swansea's BID running marketing campaigns, offers on car parking and projects to clean up the city's centre.

Abergavenny was one of nine areas which received funding worth £200.000 from Mr Sergeant, out of 14 applicants.

He said: "I'm pleased that we have been able to support so many prospective BIDs and I look forward to seeing the successful applicants working with local businesses, authorities and communities in order to develop.

"BIDs which can make a real difference to the areas they represent."

Monmouthshire County Council had advertised for consultants to advise the council on behalf of the Abergavenny BID group, on the potential for such a district to be established, back in November.

Alan Edwards, president of Newport chamber of trade and chairman of the Newport BID steering group, said he suspected the city would not get funding as Newport Unlimited have helped pay for a consultant to work on the project.

"There's no good reason why they couldn't have supported a Newport BID," other than the fact they received money from elsewhere, he said.

Consultants are currently conducting a feasibility study and will visit everyone in the BID area, asking them what they would like to see the project deliver.

Once set up, the BID company will have a management board made up of business owmers and representatives from Newport council.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "This was a competitive bidding process with limited funding split between the applications which best matched the predetermined criteria.

"Unfortunately this meant that five areas were unsuccessful on this occasion."