PLANS for a £1.5 million “destination” riverside recreational hub in Newtown will be called in to be decided by Powys County Council’s planning committee.

Complaints have been made that the scheme, if it went ahead, could affect businesses in the middle of town.

Open Newtown, the trading name for Going Green for a Living Community Land Trust, has submitted a planning application to replace the former Radio Hafren building  with a new “iconic and sustainable riverside venue” along with a new feature play park.

They believe this will create a “community asset”, that provides “community amenities, boosts the local economy, tackles poverty and attracts tourism” helping to put  Newtown “on the map”.

Cllr Joy Jones (Non-Aligned – Newtown East) said: “I am going to call this application in to be decided by committee.

“I have spoken to most of the businesses in the town centre and there are grave concerns that this will have a big impact and take footfall away from them.”

She added that several people from the business community had questioned why this venue would in effect be set up in direct competition with those in the town centre.

Agents,  Asbri, said in the Design and Access Statement: “The Riverside Venue project is part of a concerted effort to develop enterprise opportunities based on the natural resources of Newtown.

“The asset transfer of land alongside the collaboration of local authorities and the community has resulted in substantial opportunities for the development of Newtown.”

Open Newtown would need to find £1.5 million to fund the scheme and will need to apply for grants.

Asbri added: “The aim is to build a riverside destination playpark alongside a low energy design two-storey venue, housing a cafe/concession store space, tourist information provision, canoe and cycle hire alongside meeting/performance space.

“Dedicated to supporting the community, it delivers measurable environmental, social and economic benefits,.”

The DAS also outlines that Open Newtown has held four consultation events from April to June, including a drop-in session at the shopping centre, one at the Trehafren Estate which is close to the site.

They also say that an event was held at the current building which targeted all town and county councillors and 200 businesses who were invited to attend.

Open Newtown also had a stand at the carnival to explain their proposals to people who dropped in.

In January this year, Open Newtown received tenure of around 130 acres of land from Powys County Council to be held in a community land trust for 99 years.

The deal saw PCC hand over the lease to Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council who sub-contracted the land over to Open Newtown.

In 2018, Open Newtown received  £1.1 million from the Big Lottery to use on the project.