PONTYPOOL'S oldest building has been given a new lease of life.

The Old Market House, in Commercial Street, dates back to 1730 and has been used as many things over the years, including a stationers, clothes shop and second-hand shop.

The Grade II listed building has now been turned into six new homes and a commercial space, with an official opening having taken place last Thursday.

Rebecca Evans AM, minister for housing and regeneration, attended the event along with local politicians, contractors, partners and staff from Bron Afon.

She said: “Congratulations to everyone who has been involved. I know it is a great undertaking to make something like this happen.

"I’m also keen that we always look for housing-led regeneration and I know that Bron Afon is keen on this as well.”

Bron Afon chief executive, Alan Brunt, said: “We were so pleased the minister could join us to pay tribute to all the hard work that has been put into the tremendous transformation of Pontypool’s historic Old Market House.

“Investing in innovative projects like this shows just what is possible when we and our partners pull together to achieve such a high standard.

“This kind of regeneration work is also important to us as it goes some way towards achieving our target of creating 450 homes over the next five years – homes in areas across Torfaen that people can feel proud to live in.”

And Councillor Alan Jones, of Torfaen council, added: “The renovation of this building creates six new affordable homes and additional commercial space in the heart of the town. It is just one of the projects within the Pontypool Investment Fund, which has injected £4.5 million into the town, eventually creating more than 20 new homes and bringing commercial buildings up to standard."

Bron Afon worked in partnership with Torfaen council on the project, which took more than a year to complete. It received funding of £615,000 from Welsh Government and £100,000 from the council’s Townscape Heritage Initiative.