THE battle to boost sports facilities in Montgomeryshire has received a double boost this week.
The confirmed loss of Salop Field in Welshpool to development and the ongoing uncertainty over the future of the Trehafren pitches in Newtown had sparked concern the region’s two most populous towns faced losing vital recreation land.
However this week it was confirmed talks had now begun to ensure the loss of Salop Field and its three pitches to a new primary school would not leave Welshpool without a vital sports facility.
Instead it is hoped Powys County Council and the Football Association of Wales (FAW) would bring sports facilities in Welshpool into the 21st century with the installation of a 3G pitch.
County councillor Graham Breeze said: “It would be a fantastic facility for the schools and local sports clubs.
“I am informed that initial discussions have taken place with the FAWs and other sports governing bodies about whether they are interested in working with the authority to support this.
“I will be encouraging the council to engage fully with the schools and the community to ensure that there is no loss of sports facilities in Welshpool which already lags well behind other towns in that department.
“The authority is fully aware that there would be an impact from losing this facility, not only on the high school but also to the community and Welshpool Town Junior Football club in particular.”
Welshpool Town Football Club spokesman Vaughan Harding insisted the town needed to start planning for its future having struggled on out of date facilities for too long.
“Newtown has two 3G pitches in the town and Welshpool currently has a run down astro turf which is over booked and in urgent need of repair again,” said Harding.
Cabinet Member for schools, councillor Arwel Jones said; “The county council will be working closely with the high school and Freedom Leisure, who manage the Flash Leisure Centre, to mitigate against any potential loss of sports use from the building of the new primary school.”
Meanwhile Newtown’s Trehafren pitches should be handed to Newtown Town Council by the summer.
The future of the nine pitches has been protracted with legal talks now in their second year, causing problems for local sports club hoping to take on responsibility.
However a council spokesman confirmed an “announcement was imminent” securing the nine grass pitches for the town.
See full story in the County Times