AROUND 100 people gathered to watch the official opening of the new £1.6 million social enterprise development, shops and new police office in Trevethin.

A party was thrown for the whole community yesterday, after the development was opened by Assembly Member for Torfaen, Lynne Neagle, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston.

Work to transform Trevethin shops into a central shopping and business area began last year as part of a £10 million four year project to improve Pontypool, Garndiffaith and Trevethin.

The Welsh Assembly Member for Torfaen, Lynne Neagle, said: “This very innovative project represents a huge boost for Trevethin, so it’s great to see these plans come to fruition."

“Trevethin’s new social enterprise centre looks set to become a key focal point for this community over many years to come.”

The police now have an office in the new centre which also has a community café and two small units for local businesses to rent.

The new Police Office will be accessible and usable to Gwent Police Officers between 8am and midnight, seven days a week.

Mr Johnston said: “Ensuring Gwent Police has a strong presence in the heart of the communities it serves is important where reassuring and engaging with the public is concerned."

“Forging new partnerships such as this one means we are able to maintain a presence in Trevethin and make effective use of the space available at this modern facility.”

The project was developed and submitted by Bron Afon Community Housing with support from Communities First and Torfaen County Borough Council and funding from the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Government’s targeted match fund and the Heads of the Valleys programme.

Duncan Forbes, the Chief Executive of Bron Afon Community Housing which developed the project, added: “These improvements have enhanced the environment around the shops and will help secure the future of this vibrant and vital shopping centre.”