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Newtown has potential to become UK’s circular economy capital says MP

Montgomeryshire MP is shown a map of Newtown’s green spaces by Stuart Owen and Adam Kennerley from Open Newtown.

An independent development trust and social enterprise which delivers sustainable community projects to benefit Newtown has the potential to make the town the circular economy capital of the UK.

That’s the opinion of Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams who met officers Stuart Owen and Adam Kennerley from Open Newtown to hear about the company’s current and incubating projects.

Open Newtown, which manages 140 acres of green space in Newtown, delivers sustainable community projects with the aim making the town a viable and vibrant place to live, work and visit.

With Newtown Town Council, the company has developed a new destination play park and a BMX Pump Track and Mountain Bike Trail and is currently building a £1.5 million Riverside Venue, which will open up the River Severn and surrounding parkland to visitors and local residents, with canoe access points, nature/heritage trails and a forest/river school.

The projects are supported by partners including the Welsh Government, Powys County Council, the town council, the National Lottery Community Fund and Sport Wales.

Open Newtown has also launched a series of partnership projects that aim to demonstrate the link between sustainably managed green spaces and increased wellbeing.

Partners include Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, Newtown Recreation Association, Oriel Davies Gallery, Cultivate Co-operative, Circular Economy Mid Wales, Pont Hafren, Robert Owen Banking Fund, Severn Rivers Trust and the One Planet Centre.

Open Newtown is keen to develop circular economy prospects. It is already working with Fferm Fronlas Farm, NPTC Group of Colleges’ farm, to cut and collect grass from meadowlands once a year to feed local livestock and prevent materials going to landfill.

Twenty, local part-time job opportunities have been created and links and partnerships developed with many organisations to maximise limited resources, sharing connections and experience.

Open Newtown has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Mr Williams said: “Open Newtown is a great innovator and one I wholeheartedly support in bringing social, private and public enterprise together to make Newtown a first class town with the potential to become the environmentally friendly, circular economy capital of the UK.

“I look forward to working with the company as it develops a range of exciting incubator projects in the future.”

Mr Kennerley said: “We had a very constructive and informative meeting with Craig and look forward to working closely with him on several exciting incubator projects for the sustainable development of Newtown and wider Mid Wales in the future.

“He was very interested to hear about the work we have completed and are currently undertaking in Newtown and we welcome his offer to convene meetings of interested parties as we progress other projects.”