A COUNCIL opposition leader has raised concerns over £120,000 set aside for a new bike scheme trial at Tredegar Park.

Cllr Matthew Evans, who is the leader of Newport City Council’s Conservative group said the scheme, which will see Pedal Power provide specifically adapted bicycles at the park for visitors of all abilities, has not been thought through.

Cllr Evans said: “While I applaud actions taken to encourage healthy activities and assist people with disabilities, I am far from convinced this has been thought through.


“Spending over £120,000 to trial a scheme two or three days a week seems nonsensical.

“The council should have done their homework before committing to the project and this would appear to be a ‘knee jerk’ response to the understandable criticism they have received for ditching the splash pad.”

South Wales Argus:

The former Splash Pad at Tredegar Park

Calls for a new splash pad at the park ignited last year when a petition launched by Newport resident Louise Smith gained more than 1,800 signatures. A previous splash pad at the park closed in 2014.

The park has been allocated £262,000 through section 106 agreements – money handed to the council by developers for use on schemes benefiting the community such as parks, schools and other facilities – but only an initial £120,000 has been allocated for 2019 to 2020. Further funds could be used upon successful completion of the trial.

The scheme will initially run for two or three days a week and will be free-to-use. It aims to provide the opportunity for people with disabilities to engage in activities alongside parents and carers.

While the number of bikes available at the scheme is yet to be decided, a Freedom of Information request from the Conservative group revealed that a two-seater bike would cost in excess of £2,000 and a specially adapted bike £7,000.

While Cllr Evans is not against the scheme, he said he is concerned it may not be the most beneficial use of money to taxpayers.

South Wales Argus:

Cllr Matthew Evans. Picture: christinsleyphotography.co.uk

The opposition leader said: “It’s a lot of money to spend without knowing the outcome.

“If it’s going to be done it needs to be done properly and be thoroughly researched.

“The splash pad benefited a lot of people and it was a well-used facility.”

The council has been approached for comment, but in July said it had considered a number of options for Tredegar Park, including a jumping pillow, a replacement splash park, inclusive play equipment and improvements to the mini golf area.

In a statement in July, a spokeswoman said: “As the plans for Tredegar Park were developed in more detail, it became apparent that an alternative project may be more fitting for the whole community of Newport.

“After careful consideration the cabinet member decided that the best option was that provided by Pedal Power as the bikes will be available for all abilities and ages, providing a benefit to the whole community all year round allowing disabled youngsters and adults the same freedom as others using their bikes in this park.”