Mumbles Community Association has submitted an application for a number of ‘minor material amendments’ to the planning application, which was approved by Swansea Council in November 2019.
The application covers changes to some elements of the roof design of the main changing room block; some minor internal changes with associated alterations to some door and window positions; minor amendment to the siting of the new electric transformer station and vehicle access and compound and associated fencing; and a reduction in the size of the all-weather pitch (AWP) and perimeter fencing, together with a linked reduction in the number and location of floodlighting columns from 8 to 6.
The adjustments in the roof design, the internal changes and the revised location for the new transformer station are the result of the detailed design work being done to prepare the development to go out to tender.
Whilst the main building works are almost ready to tender following the recent signing of the legally binding grant agreement with Mumbles Community Council, funding is still being sought for the full costs of a new AWP.
Having sought advice from potential funding sources, MCA has reluctantly decided to focus efforts on plans for a reduced size AWP. In the view of Football Association of Wales (FAW) and Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), there are already sufficient full size AWPs within the Swansea area to meet local needs. As such, neither body would currently support MCA in their efforts to build a full size AWP.
Chair of MCA, Simon Tse, said:
“Whilst we would dearly love to see a full size AWP in Underhill Park, we have to take a pragmatic view on what it is possible to fund.
“We have a commitment of £325k towards the AWP from Mumbles Community Council as part of the recently signed grant agreement, but that leaves a balance of at least £350k that we need to be able to build the smaller pitch, and an even larger amount for a full size one.
“It seems advisable to follow the advice of those bodies who might be able to help us with grant funding, as well as seeking alternatives.”
The reduced size AWP being applied for is approximately 80m x 66m, making it suitable for football and rugby training for all ages, for tag rugby games for under 12’s, and for mini size football games for ages 6 – 14, with sufficient room to enable two games to be played at the same time.
The AWP would be available for other uses, with ideas such as keep fit classes, parent & baby fitness and coordination sessions, holiday soccer camps, netball coaching sessions, and schools sport lessons being discussed.
“Although we are looking at a smaller than desired AWP, this will still be a significant addition to the facilities available for the local community in Mumbles. Having an AWP will also help ensure the sustainability of our management of the Park, and we have not completely given up on the full size pitch.
“The on site preparation work to be done will be suitable for hosting a full size AWP, and Sustainable Drainage Schemes have been submitted to the agents for Natural Resources Wales for both options.
“If we can secure enough money, then the original planning permission will still be in place, which will enable us to build our ideal full size pitch.”
In addition to the minor material amendments application, MCA anticipate making an application for release of planning conditions soon, paving the way for tenders to be sought and the Go Underhill development to get underway.