ONGOING problems with Welshpool’s only all-weather pitch are set to last in to the New Year.

The Flash Leisure Centre pitches have been out of action since mid-October due to drainage issues, and now several sports clubs have been told they will not be able to use the facilities, potentially until the New Year.

One of the club’s booked to train at The Flash is Berriew FC, which runs several age-group teams, for around 150 youngsters.

Coach Paul Inns said that while no blame should be pointed at the authorities running the facilities for the problems, better communication about the issues would have meant alternative training arrangements could have been made.

He said: “Around 150 players with our club alone would have been training at The Flash on a weekly basis. We were booked in every Friday, from 6 to 9pm.

“Our only recourse is to find another astroturf pitch and they are in limited supply. If we had been told weeks ago, we would have put in place alternative arrangements.

“There has been no training since October half-term and it is disappointing that we have now been told the pitch will not be available until Christmas at the earliest.

“We have a winter break in December and January so will have effectively lost a term of football.”

He added: “We are also an FAW Huddle club, trying to encourage girls to play football and it is a struggle to keep momentum going.”

A spokesman for Powys County Council said: "The artificial turf pitch (ATP) at the Flash Leisure Centre, Welshpool has been closed as a result of flooding which saw significant water and debris affecting the surface following a failed surface water drainage system in land adjacent.

"It had been hoped to re-open the facility quickly after cleaning and repairs had been carried out but an inspection on Monday (November 25th) revealed the damage to the ATP sand bed was irrevocable

"Powys County Council and Freedom Leisure are working together to see how the problem can be resolved as soon possible. However, it is likely the pitch will need a full replacement sand bed, this is a large specialist project which will take time to complete and will be weather dependant.

"We apologise to all users of the pitch for this closure and the inconvenience of this. However, we are doing all that we can to keep the length of closure to a minimum. Regular users have been informed of the closure and we will provide regular updates on the project. Once work is complete, we are confident that the facility will be open to the community all year round."