Parks and land to undergo £1.1 million transformation
A town council and a consortium of volunteers in Mid Wales are celebrating after being given a £1.1 million grant to regenerate 110 acres of land.
Newtown Town Council and the Going Green for a Living Land Trust have been working tirelessly for many years to acquire various different parcels of land to develop in the town, turning them into sports and recreation opportunities.
Former mayor and current councillor Richard Edwards was one of the people with an initial vision for the Riverside Park, and he worked alongside a host of groups and organisations to make the scheme happen.
He said: "I am really excited that all the hard work and effort put in by the team has been acknowledged with the award of this bid.
"This will allow us to protect the open and green spaces ensuring continued access for all users.
"It will also give the opportunity to develop the amenities further, and this marks the start of an exciting period in Newtown’s history. It shows what can happen when we come together as a community with a common aim.”
The figures involved in the project, which have seen the town council acquire land at Vaynor Playing Fields, Vaynor Riverside Land, Trehafren Playing Fields , Trehafren Hill, Dolerw Park and Town Park Grounds, are impressive.
The council has taken on 110 acres of land from Powys County Council on a 99 year lease, with the Big Lottery Grant standing at £1.1 million.
The council has previously committed a substantial sum for administration work, and has agreed to put £30,000 and £55,000 into the project in the coming years.
Proposed project plans for the land include refurbishment of the riverside play park, additional allotments, greater access to and around Trehafren Hill, a specialist BMX pump track and improved recreational access to the river.
Some of the land is now being sub let to the Going Green for a Living trust, and chair Stuart Green added: "This is all about doing things differently, about investing in our open spaces and developing economic and social opportunities for the town.
"Newtown will be pioneering a different approach, exploring how open spaces can be managed more imaginatively by the communities that use them to deliver significantly more benefits for residents and visitors alike.
"This is a truly grassroots solution having worked closely with dozens of local volunteer groups and organisations for the past 18 months to make this dream possible."
After months of deliberations and talks in 2017, a deal was finally struck between the local authority and the town council to hand over the land.
Councillor Phyl Davies, cabinet member for property believes the lease on the is as big as the Vatican City.
He added: "I am delighted that Powys County Council’s involvement in this project, by agreeing to grant a lease of an area of recreation land nearly as big as the Vatican City in Newtown, has enabled the community to be successful in this exciting bid. T
"The vision for the park means that the recreation facilities will enhance the lives of the local community and attract new visitors to the area.”