Teignbridge town centre's eyesore area at heart of rejuvenation project
Plans to turn a piece of abandoned land in the centre of a Devon town into a £200,000 permanent public space have taken a major step forward.
Teignbridge Council has sold Golden Lion Square to the newly-formed Newton Abbot Community Trust so it can forge ahead with its vision to redevelop the site for the benefit of residents and visitors.
The aim of the project is to create a fresh, new public open space in the heart of the town.
The project has been welcomed by all the partners involved and will now open the door to a massive fundraising campaign so the project can go ahead.
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Councillor Stuart Barker, the council's executive spokesman for assets and resources, said: "Golden Lion Square is a key site, an entrance to Newton Abbot, which has long been neglected.
"Over the years Teignbridge has spent a lot of time trying to find the right buyer. The partnership between Teignbridge, the town council and the trust has resulted in a great project which will provide people with a bright, tidy new community space.
"The project to enhance Golden Lion Square has been given widespread public support and we are pleased to be able to complete the sale so the next step can be taken towards making it a great place for local people."
The trust was set up by Newton Abbot Town Council and the Newton Abbot Community Interest Company (CIC) to raise funds from public appeals and grants to acquire and manage land, buildings and other facilities in Newton Abbot with the ultimate aim of protecting and enhancing the town's environment, heritage and culture.
Golden Lion Square was identified as a key regeneration project.
Consultation took place with residents and businesses on how Golden Lion Square should be developed as an open community space. Some 440 ideas were received with proposals ranging from a seated area with flowers and shrubs to an outside entertainment space. A final vision has been agreed and this will be launched with an appeal for funding shortly.
Trust chairman Jeremy Newcombe said: "This is a great example of what can be achieved when people and organisations work together."
"We now need to move to the next stage and to make it a lasting legacy of which we can all be proud."
Town Mayor Councillor Anne Fry said: "To see Golden Lion Square made into a public open space has long been the aspiration of local residents. As the Town Mayor I am delighted the town council played such an active part in securing the purchase of the land, and we are grateful to Teignbridge for doing so on behalf of the town."
Newton Abbot CIC's business and community development manager Emily Farrell said: "We are excited to be involved with this project and are now looking to raise significant funds to enable the refurbishment of Golden Lion Square.
"The fundraising campaign will include a sponsorship scheme for local residents, businesses and organisations which will provide an opportunity for everyone to get involved in the creation of a new public space within the town centre."