A new bridge is to be constructed over the River Severn in Newtown, after the town received a £500k funding boost from the Welsh Government.

The new footbridge is part of the nationwide "Active Travel" scheme, and will link Canal Road and Pool Road at the Llanllwchaiarn end of the town for pedestrians and cyclists.

So-called "active travel" schemes were designed by the welsh government to promote activities such as walking, cycling or jogging, for short journeys instead of using motorised vehicles where it is suitable for them to do so.

The new walking and cycling link will enable pedestrians and cyclists to avoid the busy road bridge on Cambrian Way and also improve access to the town's cricket and golf clubs. A council spokesperson also said it was hoped that increased numbers of workers cycling and walking to work at businesses on Pool Road would reduce congestion in one of the town's traffic blackspots.

Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Active Travel, said: “I’m delighted that the Welsh Government has awarded this funding from their Active Travel Fund.

"We are committed to improving the health and well-being of our residents, reduce congestion and improve the environment. This funding will allow us to make our active travel plans for [Newtown] a reality.

"A great deal of work has gone into developing active travel facilities in Newtown, this funding will enhance the facilities immensely."

Cllr. Daniel Rowlands, County Councillor for Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn North added:

"I would like to congratulate Powys County Council on securing almost £1 million investment, the project will significantly improve Newtown's Active Travel infrastructure encouraging residents to walk or cycle in the town. "

The scheme is expected to form part of a "green corridor" of networked walking and cycling routes through Newtown which will include routes planned as part of the "Open Newtown" project, otherwise known as Newtown Green Spaces, which will also see footpaths added to improved green space areas in Dolerw and Trehafren Parks as part of a host of planned improvements. Planning permission for the first stage of the green spaces project, which received a £1.1m national lottery funding boost last year, was approved this week.

"It will help to create a large network of paths and cycleways which mean people won't have to go near a road to cycle right the way around Newtown," added Stuart Owen from the Open Newtown project.

The design of the bridge is expected to form part of a public consultation to be held later his year, with work expected to begin in 2019.