LOTTERY-FUNDED plans to tidy up rough edges of Abergavenny's three prime open spaces has been backed by town councillors.

They are supporting ambitious proposals to secure Lottery Heritage money to further enhance the appearance of the town's trio of open air attractions - Bailey Park, Castle Meadows and Linda Vista Gardens.

Some felt some basic upgrades should be executed pronto to show the town off to better advantage in time for the autumn food festival and next year's national Eisteddfod.

They were worried that the two-year wait for any possible Lottery cash might cause problems in the short-term.

Town Clerk Peter Johns, Team Abergavenny's group leader for the Green Spaces Group behind the bid, told the council's monthly meeting, "We want to bring the projects together to make a decent community bid. It will help bring these spaces up to scratch which have been allowed to moulder over the years."

He reckoned there was a good chance of making a success of the bid which he described as modest.

"We want something reasonable and do-able which can be achieved in a finite time-scale," he said at last Wednesday night's Town Hall meeting.

Councillor John Prosser declared, "About time too!"

He suggested cash funding for the schemes - ranging from painting rusty gates and replacing damaged benches to knocking down the bowls pavilion at Bailey Park - could be sourced from other bodies besides Lottery Heritage.

"I think it's an excellent initiative. I'm looking forward to it all being done," he said.

Councillor Douglas Edwards felt the town should at least do something off its own bat to smarten up parts of the spaces.

"And if we have to spend £20,000 from our reserves, so be it!" he suggested, adding town pride should be the driving force of any homespun upgrades.

He recalled that a similar, but more ambitious lottery bid of some £2 million about 15 years ago, lost out to a project in Monmouth.

Mr Edwards recommended that the council's finance committee go through possible ventures and their funding with a 'fine tooth comb.'

Councillor Roger Harris, referring to the Eisteddfod, chipped in, "A year from now the town will be the centre of the world.

"If we can't afford to spend money making the town look pretty, people will say we have not bothered."

Some councillors were less than pleased that the town should be expected to pay for improvements to assets that weren't theirs.

Monmouthshire County Council has said do not have the funds to help.

Mr Edwards said' "If the county council cannot do it we must look after our own town. I don't want to see it rotting away if we are mean on things like this."

Members suggested that Friends groups linked to the parks might be able to match-fund any contributions the town made on top of any lottery bid.

The council agreed to 'accept in principle' the lottery bid. They also decided that the finance committee should take a close look at what upgrades it might be able to fund locally.