Swimbridge will get �32,000 for park

After a 40 year campaign it has been confirmed the village of Swimbridge will get grant money to make a long held dream a reality.

PLANS for an eagerly awaited park at Swimbridge are set to go ahead after it was announced the community would get �32,000 from North Devon Council.

The grant will not be “section 106” money procured from the developers of Roundswell Travelodge as first thought, but will come from the Leader’s contingency reserve budget.

Villagers have been campaigning for a park for 40 years and while seven acres of land has now been secured, money was needed to turn the agricultural plot into a community recreational area.

Initially it was hoped this could come from the Travelodge pot and the bid was due to be discussed at the council’s executive committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday.)

But the Leader of the council, Councillor Des Brailey, said he sought the advice of the council’s legal department, which said the Roundswell money could not be spent at Swimbridge.

“In this instance it had to be used within 1,000 metres of the Travelodge,” he said.

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“But having given ward member Councillor David Luggar and the people of Swimbridge the understanding that they could have some money, we needed to find it from the contingency fund.

“It would be very wrong now to say ‘sorry, things have changed and we can’t give you any money.’ What we didn’t want was to push ahead and break the law.”

Cllr Luggar said receiving the money was a fantastic opportunity for the village to create a much-needed playing area.

“I’m thrilled to get this money,” he said.

“For a village like Swimbridge it is a large sum of money that means the community can go ahead. The Swimbridge Parklands group and the Parish Council have worked hard to develop their vision and now the money will be there when the work begins later this year.”

The land at Glebe Field will be developed form scratch to create a football pitch, children’s play area, boundary walls and fencing. The Parish Council has put in �16,000 and the Parklands committee �7,500.

The land is owned by Exeter Diocese. It has become available on a 99 year lease on the back of a new development of 14 houses currently underway by Pearce Construction, with the field provided as part of the planning approval.

District and county councillor Rodney Cann had previously said it was “a travesty” to spend money from a Roundswell development far away in Swimbridge.

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