Talks start over Newtown Trehafren Fields' future

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Community groups in Newtown have started talks on taking on responsibility for nine football pitches used by 350 local youngsters.

The town's council and football club have kicked off negotiations on who will run the pitches at Trehafren Fields.

It comes after Powys council's decision to hand over its recreation land to local groups from next year.

It is part of the council's aim to save £40m in the next three financial years.

Nicky Morris, chairman of Newtown Whitestars Junior Football Club, said 350 young people used the six adult and three junior pitches at the Trehafren site.

She said: "This facility is vitally important for the girls and boys who play football in Newtown.

"I realise the county council have to make budget cuts but we must make sure this facility keeps going."

Future management

Members of Newtown Town Council and Newtown Football Club have already met Powys council officers to discuss the possibility of managing the playing fields from next April.

Newtown's Mayor, Rina Clarke, said discussions were at an early stage and that the council would support the football club if it took over responsibility of the pitches.

Owen Durbridge, Newtown AFC's club secretary, said: "We will do our best to help but we cannot maintain Trehafren Fields alone.

"I cannot see one single body taking on the whole responsibility for these pitches."

The meeting was organised by ward councillor and Montgomeryshire's AM, Russell George who said discussions would resume at another meeting on 19 May.

A Powys council spokesman said: "As part of its medium term budget strategy the council is looking at the future management of its sports and recreation grounds.

"The discussions are at an early stage but have been very productive and we are hopeful they will lead to a meaningful agreement with the organisations involved in the future."

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