Plans to secure Golden Lion Square as a permanent public space for the benefit of Newton Abbot have taken a step forward following the legal transfer of ownership of the land from Teignbridge District Council to the Newton Abbot Community Trust.
Teignbridge has sold Golden Lion Square to the newly formed Community Trust so it can continue its exciting vision to redevelop the site for the benefit of residents and visitors.
The transfer has been welcomed by all the partners involved. It marks the next stage of the project aimed at giving residents, visitors and local businesses a fresh, new public open space in the heart of the town.
The Community 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 in order 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.
The acquisition followed an agreement between Teignbridge, Newton Abbot Town Council and Newton Abbot Community Interest Company (CIC) who expressed a desire to acquire the land for community use.
The agreement meant that Teignbridge would be reimbursed and the land transferred to a community trust within two years of the acquisition. The CIC, in partnership with the Town Council, formed a steering group to set up a charity called the Newton Abbot Community Trust which took ownership of the Square and is driving forward the redevelopment vision.
Extensive 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 on its future transformation with proposals ranging from a seated area with flowers and shrubs to an outside entertainment space.
From this process a final vision has been agreed and this will be launched with an appeal for funding shortly.
In the meantime the Trust completed temporary works funded by the town council and local businesses so the square can be open for public use. Teignbridge helped by granting a temporary lease of the land to the Town Council which maintained the planting as part of its popular Newton in Bloom scheme.
Cllr Stuart Barker, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive spokesperson for Assets and Resources, said: “Golden Lion Square is a key site – an entrance to Newton Abbot – that 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 Community Trust has resulted in a great project that 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.”
Newton Abbot Community Trust chairman Jeremy Newcombe said: “This is a great example of what can be achieved when people and organisations work together. I would like to thank all of those who have helped us to acquire and maintain this land for the people of Newton Abbot. We now need to move to the next stage and to make it a lasting legacy of which we can all be proud.”
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 fund-raising 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.”
Newton Abbot Town Council’s mayor Cllr 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 that 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.
“The Town Council in fully supporting the project donated £35,000 towards the acquisition cost, provided the seating and the Town Councillors themselves undertook the job of cleaning the site and planting flowers. They continue to do so through their Newton in Bloom Committee.
“This is a good example of partnership working for the benefit of everyone.”
(from a press release)