A SPLASH pad will be developed at Ebbw Vale’s Festival Park retail site, after Blaenau Gwent council scrapped plans to open it at a public park due to cost.

Senior councillors on the executive gave the go ahead to develop the facility at the former garden festival site at a meeting on Wednesday, despite a recommendation to reconsider the possibility of opening it at Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar.

After the meeting, residents from Tredegar who had packed into the public gallery expressed anger over the decision.

Parc Bryn Bach was initially identified as the council’s “preferred option” after it secured £110,000 from the Welsh Government to develop a children’s splash park.

But the scheme planned with Aneurin Leisure Trust (ALT) was abandoned due to concerns over cost, with the new owners of

Festival Park

taking over the project as part of plans to turn their site into a retail, leisure and tourism hub.

The council’s scrutiny committee voiced concern over grants being used to support a private enterprise.

Damian McCann, the council’s social services corporate director, said council officials had met with the ALT since the council’s scrutiny committee called for its scheme to be reconsidered, but that concerns over cost were again expressed by the Trust.

Mr McCann said the Welsh Government has also indicated it could withdraw funding if the project is not seen to be moving forward by September.

Councillor Garth Collier said it was vital the council did not lose the grant money it has been allocated for the project.

“We have got to make the best of a bad job,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate the issues that have gone on in the last few months because it has put us in a position where this money could go back to the Welsh Government.”

Councillor Dai Davies said using grant money to support businesses and help bring economic benefits to the borough was not new.

South Wales Argus:

Tredegar residents angry over Blaenau Gwent council\'s splash pad decision. L-R: Sandra Healey, Nesta Evans, Vanessa Doorhof, Rosalind Thomas and Sylvia Rogers

But resident Nesta Evans said the facility was desperately needed for the Tredegar area.

“We believe that by having this facility at Parc Bryn Bach people would be attracted to the area,” Ms Evans said after the meeting.

“It would be a big attraction for those who would like to come to stay.”

However Ms Evans said families around the Tredegar area would struggle to get to Festival Park, particularly those without cars as there is no direct bus service.

Resident Vanessa Doorhof said there are “hardly any facilities” in Tredegar for her grandchildren, and that the splash park would have been welcomed.

Tredegar ward councillor Steve Thomas said: “Tredegar has lost out on a much-needed facility which would have been a perfect match for Bryn Bach Park.”

The council has applied for a £550,000 grant to make improvements to campsite facilities, bunkhouse accommodation and improvements to the children’s play park at Park Bryn Bach, with a decision expected by the end of this month.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We are pleased that we are able to work in partnership with the new owners of Festival Park to combine public and private investment to still bring this facility to Blaenau Gwent.”