A NEW riverside venue will provide an 'iconic gateway to Newtown'.

Open Newtown (ON) in partnership with the town council were delighted to receive full planning permission for a riverside venue which will be adjacent to the Back Lane car park.

The plans will see the removal of the dilapidated ‘Old Radio Hafren’ building to be replaced by a two floored, sustainably designed and built, iconic building for the town.

Gary Mitchell, Project Manager, said: "We are very pleased to have received the positive planning decision however, we fully acknowledge the concerns raised during the consultation period and are looking forward to implement solutions to address the concerns raised and to work within the conditions imposed on the development, whilst still delivering huge benefits to our town centre and the wider town as a whole.

"The new Riverside Venue will not only be a huge compliment to the new destination playpark, that has been recently commissioned and will be located adjacent to the development, but is great news for the Town as a whole."

Cllr David Selby, town mayor, said: "I welcome the decision to move forward with the project for the new hub building next to the town centre play park. The town council is working with Open Newtown and Powys County Council to deliver an exciting new project.

"Whilst I understand the concerns surrounding this project, I can give assurances that the town council is working to ensure the project delivers for everyone."

The Riverside Venue will act as a gateway to Newtown’s green spaces providing a warm welcome to locals and visitors arriving by bus, foot, cycle and car. The new Tourist Information provision will help promote a whole range of activities, opportunities and venues within the town centre. The venue will also provide new community spaces, a green space wellbeing initiative, new amenities such as canoe and bike hire, a community kitchen and a small ‘dirty boots’ cafe with dog friendly area and a 24 hour accessible adult/family changing space.

James Lander, community engagement officer for Open Newtown, said: "Our team will continue to be out and about engaging with locals, businesses and visitors, discussing potential opportunities for collaboration. We are open to ideas and welcome people from across the town to get involved with this project in upcoming events and online. This is an exciting opportunity for the people of Newtown to think about how a riverside venue could benefit the local community, businesses and green spaces."

Open Newtown wish to improve the variety and accessibility of green spaces, as outdoor activities have an enormous impact on health and wellbeing as well as delivering economic benefits through tourism and enterprise opportunities, increasing biodiversity and increasing access to new facilities.

Ed Humphreys, clerk of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council, added: "An important role of the town council is to enable others to act - as demonstrated by the significant funding provided to the Citizens Advice Powys Newtown Project and the Community Fund.

"The transfer of the Former Radio Hafren Building from County to Town Council provides another opportunity to do so.

"However enabling others doesn't offer a completely free hand as the Town Council also represents the interests of the people of the community as a whole. So by using a combination of a Memorandum of Understanding and a landlord-tenant Lease, the council is able to both influence and control the way the Riverside Hub is developed and operates.’

To contact Open Newtown please write to contact@opennewtown.org.uk, visit facebook.com/opennewtown for updates and opennewtown.org.uk to sign up to the newsletter. Open Newtown can also be contacted by phone on 01686 610777