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Newport Council eyeing deal to redevelop major city park

The entrance to Tredegar Park, in Newport (Pic: Google)

A NEW cafe, sports facilities, and a water play area could all be built in Newport’s Tredegar Park under major plans announced by the city council.

The local authority currently leases the freehold for the park, but has now unveiled a proposal to purchase the land from its owner using UK Government “levelling-up” funds.

If it goes ahead, the half a million pound deal will mean the council no longer be bound by the conditions of the lease with the landowner, and could also mean major investment in the park’s facilities.

Buying the park will give the council “greater autonomy” in redeveloping services there, and the council believes there is a “strong community interest” in investing in Tredegar Park.

According to a draft report, the city council has proposed a fee of £517,000 to buy the freehold of the land.

It is currently spending a nominal amount, £225 annually, to rent the parkland as part of a 99-year leasing arrangement with Eagle Star Insurance Company Ltd, signed in 1963.

But while this annual figure is low, the council said the way the park is used for recreation purposes had “changed significantly” over the decades, and “most of today’s common recreational uses are not permitted under the terms of the lease”.

Attempts to change those terms “to permit modern uses” have been unsuccessful.

The proposed price of £517,000 is equivalent to the city council continuing to pay the landowner the current £225 annual fee for the next 2,297 years.

But this will free the council of “a number of restrictive conditions” attached to the lease, it argues.

Funding for the proposed deal will come from the UK Government by way of its Shared Prosperity Fund, one of the “levelling-up” initiatives set up after Brexit to replace European Union funding schemes.

This UK Government money has already been allocated to Newport for investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

If the deal goes ahead, Newport City Council has begun to lay out plans to develop the existing facilities at Tredegar Park, and add some new ones.

The council has proposed an “improved” play area with “additional features and inclusive play equipment”, as well as a redesign of the car park and events space.

There could be improvements to sports facilities and the development of an all-weather MUGA (multi-use games area).

A sensory garden could be opened, and the park “reconfigured” to “deliver better spaces for all park users”.

A splash pad-type, inclusive “water play area” has also been proposed, as well as “new, fully inclusive cafe facilities”.

The council’s cabinet member for infrastructure and assets is expected to back the proposed purchase in early February. The offer will then require cabinet approval.

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