A partnership project between the Garw Valley Railway and the Garw Heritage Society to establish a Heritage Centre in the Garw Valley has received strong support consultants have concluded. Gareth Kiddie of community regeneration specialists GKA said, ‘We were really pleased with the response to the survey and we’d like to thank all those people that took time out to respond. When the survey period was finished 215 people were shown to have taken part and the vast majority of these people are resident in the Valley or the wider Bridgend area. The headline results show that there is strong support with 73.5% indicating that they thought the proposals were a good idea.’
Other results showed that the proposed design was generally liked and that the suggested uses for the Centre were broadly supported. The consultation also yielded some very valuable information about the use of the cycle path. It was discovered that 94% of respondents were aware of the Garw Valley Community Route and 81% had used the route at one time or another. Mr Kiddie went on to comment ‘The cycle path has clearly become a much loved and well used community asset. We know that there are around 50,000 uses of the route every year. It will be important for the partners to the project to make best use of what the route offers and to draw these users in by making the proposed Centre an attractive and engaging place to visit, both for local people and those travelling in from further afield.’
Despite the positive overall result, the project partners are not taking anything for granted and they have indicated that they will be looking at the individual responses in detail to see how the suggestions made can be factored into design of the project. Colin Williams, Chairman of the Garw Valley Railway explained, ‘We are more than aware of the issues that have been raised with regard to our project and we are doing our very best to address them going forward. What we would like people to understand is that we are all undertaking this project on a voluntary basis and without any public funding for project implementation. As a result the initiative is taking time to develop. We think that with the community behind us we can draw in external funding and make strides towards realising our ambitions – establishing a Heritage Centre is a key part of our vision.’
The consultation has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
The full report of the consultations will be made available later on the Garw Valley Railway website – (www.garwvalleyrailway.co.uk) or at email@example.com and will be uploaded to our Garw Valley Heritage Society website (garwheritage.co.uk)