Is Santa Claus coming to town?

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GARSTANG organisations will find out tonight if Santa will be giving them early Christmas presents in the form of big cash aid.

Seven local groups are hoping to get substantial sums for a variety of major community projects in and around the town.

Among them are ambitious plans for a countryside routeway linking Garstang Millennium Green and Scorton Millennium Way – a popular idea mooted for several years but one which has yet to get off the ground.

Another likely beneficiary of the £226,000 Wyre Council cash pot is Garstang School of Gymnastics at Nateby.

A report to tonight’s meeting of Wyre cabinet is recommending funds be made available to five of the seven groups which have made bids for cash.

Not all will get the full amounts they requested, but they will get large slices of cash to put towards their projects.

Two projects though, including Kepple Lane Park, look likely to be refused aid.

The groups in with a chance of cash in the pre-Christmas decision making are Garstang Millennium Green Trust/Scorton Millennium Way who have asked for £50,000 for the creation of a link between the Garstang Green and the Scorton Way.

The proposal has been discussed over the past few years, but difficulties have previously arisen over land issues and the exact route near the River Wyre the link path would take.

But if it gets the go-ahead it would create a hugely popular medium distance walkway from Garstang to Scorton, bringing hundreds of walkers to both communities.

Councillors are being urged to give £20,000 to the rural link route project, which also hopes to receive aid from Natural England.

Nateby-based Garstang School of Gymnastics looks like being given the full £10,000 contribution it has requested towards an extension which will create more space for sports enthusiasts, spectators and for the club to host more events at its side off Longmoor Lane.

Other plans which the cabinet is being recommended to aid include an upgrade to the canal towpath at Bilsborrow/Myerscough, where £10,000 may be contributed to the £37,500 scheme.

It may also get assistance from the local parish council and the Canal and Rivers Trust.

Another scheme recommended for cash help is a refurbishment proposal for the Barnacre Memorial Hall, to which the cabinet is being recommended to give £10,000.

Two local projects which look unlikely to get the financial backing they were hoping for are at Garstang and Catterall. Catterall Parish Council, which has requested either £10,300 to drain the village football pitch or £28,000 to drain the whole field.

A report to borough councillors says funding may be available via another scheme.

At Garstang, the Kepple Lane Park Trust, which has been developing a park/garden area off Kepple Lane, applied for £40,000 for a play area, picnic area and soccer pitch revamp, but a report to the cabinet says no money should be given beause there is “little evidence to demonstrate community buy-in and commitment.”

Park trustee Coun Gordon Harter, approached for a comment on the proposed rejection of cash for the park, and the alleged lack of community support, said he preferred to comment after tonight’s meeting.