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£1.5m plans for riverside recreation area

 
Created on 18/07/2019 @ 13:29
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Plans are to be submitted for a new £1.5 million riverside recreation centre development in Newtown as part of the Open Newtown project.

Over 140 acres of green space and river areas were transferred from Powys County Council to Newtown Town Council in January this year as part of Open Newtown which aims to “reverse the trend of declining land management” and to “unlock the potential of the green spaces to provide great opportunities for sports, recreation, events, well-being, local economy, the community and tourism. “

Open Newtown is looking at new enterprise opportunities that will help generate an income to pay for the long term maintenance of the green spaces, currently funded by the town council, through a Service Level Agreement.

“This will ensure that the transfer becomes sustainable and the green spaces can continue to be enjoyed for future generations,” said Stuart Owen of Open Newtown.

“Open Newtown has submitted a planning application as part of a new funding bid, to deliver this exciting project.”

Working in conjunction with the town council and also involving the economic development team of Powys County Council, Open Newtown is looking at a potential £1.5 million development through a new asset transfer of the Old Radio Hafren building.

This development proposes to replace the old building with a new iconic and sustainable Riverside Venue, adjacent to the river, along with a new feature play park. This will create a community asset, that provides community amenities, boosts the local economy, tackles poverty and attracts tourism, helping to place Newtown ‘on the map.'

The proposal includes canoe and cycle hire, more benches, better signage and electric vehicle charging points to name a few. There are also wider opportunities for connecting with wildlife, improving wellbeing services, helping the town become more dog and cyclist friendly and opening up new nature, quiz, heritage and retail trails to draw people into the town.

Community Engagement Officer, James Lander, said: "A riverside venue is only justifiable if the building is delivering what the community needs. Open Newtown believes that the venue will create two noticeable impacts on the town wide economy, as we play a part in nudging Newtown into the limelight as a 'destination'. We want families and activity seekers to have more reasons to stay in Newtown, we want to provide excellent facilities to help people better connect with nature for their own wellbeing and all this will also attract new visitors here, off the bypass."

Town Clerk, Ed Humphreys, said: “The Town Council is working very closely with Powys County Council and Open Newtown on the potential transfer of the Former Radio Hafren Building as a Riverside Venue as it would with any development that could benefit the town as a whole.”

Nina Davies, Powys County Council’s Head of Housing and Community Development, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Open Newtown on this exciting project and believe that it could bring real benefits not only to Newtown but the wider area.”

The proposal will be of great benefit to the community in terms of new amenities and It will also offer new contract opportunities for local businesses during the design and build phase, as well as job creation once the building has been completed.

A statement from Open Newtown said: “The funding being sought for the proposal also demands that the building offers two other things. It must tackle poverty. 

“In part this is about job creation and offering income generation opportunities. It is also about directly supporting well-being services and giving affordable access to healthy local food. It will also prove it adds value to the town centre, helping to grow the overall town wide economy.

“For example, Open Newtown have a desire for a small cafe and could buy local, from local producers, which could also include existing bakeries and retailers for stocking a small cafe.

"Offering opening hours in quiet periods could also help provide footfall to the town centre and fill a gap in times that people have indicated they would like more available options, such as food and activities.

“Consultations have so far provided a wide range of suggestions about how Open Newtown could connect a Riverside Venue to the town, enabling the town centre to make fuller use of the amazing riverside frontage, upgrading the two principle walking routes and the associated signage that directs people to the retail centre.

“There is a desire for the venue to accommodate an information provision, to showcase the offerings Newtown has - in respect of shops, museums, eateries, etc. Brown signs are also vital to draw tourists from the bypass and rules dictate that an attraction, like the new feature play park, must have a building and a carpark attached, which this proposal will offer.

“Open Newtown has begun one-to-one discussions with businesses and the local community. In part this is about explaining the building opportunity and addressing any perceived concerns, but it is also about saying that we are interested in hearing from people and businesses with a vested interest in the economic and community opportunities that we are developing.”

Open Newtown wants your support, ideas and to hear any concerns you may have. You can complete their Riverside Venue survey at http://bit.ly/ON-RiversideVenue


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