Newtown Town Council was considering the transfer from Powys County Council of a large tract of land, including some 1.5 miles along the River Severn running through the centre of the town. The area included amenity land, recreation and sports fields, children’s play area, car parks, allotments, community orchards and SSSI. They wanted to engage with all the stakeholders who might potentially have an interest and hear their views about such a proposal, and, if the consensus was in favour, to begin to understand whether a new body could be created to manage and run the land on its behalf.
R4C advised them on advertising as widely as possible to encourage representatives of interest groups to attend a facilitated session, where a mapping technique was used; with participants identifying and flagging and pinning locations of interest, from large scale OS maps, backed up by linked comments on each location via the flag about the potential for its use. Participants ranged from a volunteer conservation group whose work had encouraged the return of otters to the river, through to those wishing to create an large scale events arena in the area.
Once comments had been initially grouped, in logical headings, and fed back to participants a facilitated discussion was had about the potential for a new organisation to be created, including an overview of different models, comparing and contrasting each type for strengths and weaknesses.
By the end of the session enough people had declared an interest in taking the idea forward for it to be considered further, and since that event, a new CIC has been formed, the transfer of the land is underway, and the new organisation has secured over £1 million pounds of grant aid to take the project forward.