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Big plans for Newtown's green spaces

Published date: 10 July 2017 |
Published by: Keri Trigg 
Read more articles by Keri Trigg  Email reporter


Pupils, teachers and town councillors at Telford play park. 

AN IMPRESSIVE play park, BMX track and mountain bike trail are just some of the proposals in an ambitious funding bid to transform Newtown’s green spaces.

The project would encompass over 47 hectares of land, including Dolerw Park and the fields at Trehafren and Vaynor, as well as the River Severn.

With up to £1.1 million of Big Lottery funding available, the five-year scheme would see improved access and maintenance of the areas and open them up to a multitude of community groups for activities and sporting events.

The Cwm Harry Land Trust and the Big Lottery bid team are working closely with Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council on the Green Spaces Project, which would see the land developed as it is transferred from Powys County Council (PCC) to the town council.

They have also had a helping hand from the town’s school children, who went on a ‘research trip’ to test out Telford’s park attractions and give feedback on what they would like to see in Newtown.

Pupils from Treowen, Maesyrhandir, Hafren, Penygloddfa, Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd, Cedewain and St Mary’s primary schools were joined for the outing by Newtown Mayor, Cllr Sue Newham, town councillors, teachers and representatives of the ‘Going Green for a Living’ Big Lottery bid team.

Community engagement officer Hywel Roberts, working on behalf of Cwm Harry Land Trust and the Big Lottery bid team, co-ordinated the trip along with the school headteachers and the town council.

“The plan was to get immediate feedback from the children who would be using the play equipment,” he said.

“We’ve got a limited build area and budget, so we want to ensure that we choose equipment that will get the most use and is the most fun.

“We also met with representatives of Telford and Wrekin Council, who supplied us with very useful information in respect of installation costs, maintenance and equipment popularity. That feedback alone was worth the cost of the trip.”

Hywel is working with the Big Lottery bid team to access a grant worth up to £1.1m for the scheme. The grant is specifically for Community Asset Transfer projects.

The plan is to transfer ownership of the land – equivalent to 70 football pitches – from PCC to the town council and for a newly formed constituted group, made up of community groups, charities, sport groups and other stakeholders, to provide greater access to the land and river, to improve overall upkeep and maintenance of these spaces.

The proposals include greater access to the river for paddle sports, fishing, and other forms of recreation, the construction of a BMX track and a mountain bike trail, hosting of Cyclocross events, improved picnic areas, heritage and nature trails, growing spaces, and fitness trail which could include an obstacle course. There will also be a building to house equipment and act as hub for the user groups.

Local groups are working hard to complete the evidence required for the Big Lottery bid application, before the deadline of September 23. The whole scheme is a five-year development opportunity that must also, for the future, be self-sustaining. Successful bids are monitored by Big Lottery representatives throughout the project.

Cllr Newham said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Telford’s play park. The children were so enthusiastic and it was a genuine pleasure to see them enjoying the play equipment.

“We’ve seen a significant reduction in maintenance of our green spaces in recent years.

“The community asset transfer programme would allow us to take control of the grass maintenance, offering an immediate uplift in both visual impact and practical use of the land and adjacent river, for residents and visitors alike.”

For more information, email Hywel Roberts at hywelr@cwmharry.org.uk or visit the ‘Newtown Unlimited’ Facebook page, where there is a drone video flyover of the green spaces and a list of proposed developments. More information will be shared via this Facebook page, as it becomes available.

For more news from across the region visit countytimes.co.uk