Planning approval received for Go Underhill development

Planning approval received for Go Underhill development

Mumbles Community Association (MCA) are delighted to announce that planning approval has been secured from Swansea Council for the development of new facilities at Underhill Park.

The planning application, which was submitted in July, covers Phase 1 of the development and includes replacing the existing run down changing rooms with modern changing facilities, creating a dedicated community space with a café and new public toilets, plus the development of a new All Weather Pitch with floodlighting.

Formal approval for the plans was given by Swansea Council on 15 November.

Chair of MCA Trustees, Simon Tse, said:

“Obtaining Planning Permission for Phase 1 of the project is a significant step forward for Go Underhill. It is the last piece of the jigsaw we’ve needed to complete in order to secure the future of Underhill Park for the community of Mumbles and the surrounding areas, as well as the many visitors.”

“I would like to thank everyone that has helped in getting us to this point.”

A spokesperson for Mumbles Community Council said:

“Mumbles Community Council (MCC) are delighted to hear that MCA have been successful in being granted planning permission in relation to their proposed developments in Underhill Park. MCC are fully committed to ensuring that the people of Mumbles and visitors to the area have access to and can enjoy a high standard of local facilities.  To this end MCC look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with MCA to ensure that these plans are delivered in a comprehensive and timely manner and will provide support in whatever way we can.” 

With the planning permission in place, the Go Underhill team can move forward with raising funds for the development, confident that we are in a position to deliver real change. The general fundraising will complement the grant bids and funding applications already being made.

Simon Evans, Chairman of Mumbles Rugby Club, said:

“We are delighted to learn that MCA, which the rugby club are part of, have been awarded planning permission for Phase 1 of the Go Underhill project. We are confident that funding will soon be in place which will enable work to start on this much needed facility.”

The Go Underhill plans will benefit those who already use the Park for formal and informal sports activities, families visiting the children’s play area and those simply enjoying a walk in this green heart of Mumbles. The development will also enable new activities to be set up and encourage more people to make use of what will be on offer.

A spokesperson for Friends of Mumbles Parks, who were responsible for the recent upgrade of the Children’s play area, said:

“We are delighted to hear that MCA have been successful with their planning application. As the refurbishment of the playground has demonstrated, Underhill Park is an extremely valued and well-loved community resource. The new playground attracts so many families from all over the area and beyond. It is time for the rest of the park to receive the care and investment it most definitely deserves. MCA has the full support of Friends of Mumbles Parks with their very exciting future plans.”

Michael Parkin, Chairman of Mumbles Rangers Football Club, said:

“Mumbles Rangers Football Club are extremely excited to hear the news that Mumbles Community Association application for Phase 1 of ‘Go Underhill’ has been granted planning permission. It is an exciting time for all the community and extremely important that we will have these facilities for our members and visitors to Underhill Park. It is essential for the football club that the new buildings and the all-weather pitch are built at the same time. The all-weather pitch being available for all the community will in particular help develop our club in so many ways. We now need to actively engage with all to raise funds and build these desperately needed facilities in Underhill Park and look forward to the works commencing.”

Whilst there is already a mechanism in place for people to make donations to ‘Go Underhill’ via the Donate button on the website, MCA Trustees are now working on specific schemes and events which will help raise funds and will be announcing these in early 2020.

Simon Tse continued:

“As we now move into the fundraising activity, I would encourage everyone to show their support, no matter how big or small, and help us reach our financial goal. This will enable us to deliver the scheme that Underhill Park so desperately needs.”

The planning approval includes a number of conditions which will alleviate some of the concerns raised by people during the planning process. Use of the All Weather Pitch will stop and the flood lights will be switched off at 9:00pm, while the Community Facility and café will not be open beyond 11:00pm most nights, 10:30pm on Sundays.

To ensure things run smoothly both during the development phase and once the facilities are operational, MCA is planning to set up a regular communications mechanism with people living close to the Park. Anyone who would like to be added to this network can email MCA on .

Help secure funding for Go Underhill

Help secure funding for Go Underhill

Email Mumbles Community Council directly on by 25 October with your support for Go Underhill.

Our original news story is below but unfortunately many people will not have seen the newsletter referred to, due to distribution problems, and the on-line survey was closed on 11 October. 

Mumbles Community Council have confirmed that they will consider emails of support which they receive by 25 October.

Our original news post:

Mumbles Community Council are currently consulting on their priorities for the coming years.

We need supporters of Go Underhill to help us ensure that the project remains high on their list for funding.

The ambitious plans for Underhill Park have been drawn up based on what existing Park users and the wider community have told us they want to see. The project is being driven forward by Mumbles Community Association, a newly registered charity set up by a group of volunteers. Its Trustees are drawn from local sporting clubs and the wider community, which is why the project is described as being ‘By the community; for everyone’.

With lots of areas competing for funding, it’s vital that people let the Community Council know how important this scheme is to the local community, how it will make a difference for the current users of the park, and how it will not only transform Underhill Park, but also protect and secure its future as an asset for residents and visitors alike.

Like many large-scale projects, Go Underhill is taking longer to deliver that we hoped. As a result, we have had to ask Mumbles Community Council to roll forward the funding they previously allocated into current and future budgets. This could be a challenge as new projects have come onto their radar.

The commitment of funding from Mumbles Community Council is an important element in helping us move the development forward. With their support, we have been able to employ professionals to design and submit the proposals for planning. But that is just an early stage of actually delivering the project and we don’t want it to fail because we don’t have the funds to help us make applications and match fund any grants we secure.

Show Mumbles Community Council your support for Go Underhill

To show your support and encourage the Council to allocate funding to the project in future years, please complete the on-line survey on the Council’s website by 31st October.

To help the project, mark Community Spaces and Outdoor Spaces as high priorities for you. Also mention Go Underhill specifically in the ‘any other comments’ section. You can find a link to the newsletter on the Development Plan and complete the survey here

Help us win funding from grant bodies

The funding from the Community Council is only a part of the mix of funding we need. We are hoping that a large part of the funds will be secured from grant bodies, such as National Lottery.

In putting forward our applications, we need to demonstrate that the plans are based on what the community want to see – both existing and potential new users. Whilst our proposals reflect the requests put forward in the original community consultation, we would like to strengthen our bids by getting current views.

We need to hear from you about why all the elements are needed, including the new public toilets and new café/community facility. What difference would having each of the individual elements make in terms of you and your family’s use and enjoyment of Underhill Park?

To register your views and support, you can either email us directly on or complete the Contact Us form and use the Comments box to give us your thoughts. If the project would have an impact on your whole family, please let us know the number and ages of people in your family group as this will help show how many people the development will positively impact.

You can find out more about the Go Underhill plans on these pages, including how you can help us.

Formal Deed of Consent negotiated for Underhill Park building works

Formal Deed of Consent negotiated for Underhill Park building works

Mumbles Community Association (MCA) has successfully negotiated a Deed of Consent with the Somerset Trust, which manages the estates of the Duke of Beaufort, to undertake building work in Underhill Park.

As the Park is part of the estate, this permission is essential for enabling MCA to be able to push forward with the Go Underhill plans.

The Deed of Consent, specifically granted to MCA in pursuit of its charitable objectives, covers the building works which are included in the Underhill Park masterplan. This was developed following consultation with existing users and the wider community and includes aspects beyond the Phase 1 plans.

The permissions given in the Deed of Consent are:

  1. To improve the existing refreshment pavilion to include an extension to provide changing rooms, showers, toilets, accessible changing, secure internal and external storage, public toilets, cafe and community room, tuck shop, office and plant rooms;
  2. The construction of an all-weather sports pitch;
  3. The creation of a new footpath;
  4. The construction of a new building at G on the Plan to provide a multipurpose community hall, gym, cafe/restaurant/bar and office;
  5. To provide improved car parking;
  6. The construction of a small spectators for the all-weather pitch

Critically, the Deed of Consent also allows MCA to retain any profits from activities undertaken in Underhill Park, to be reinvested or spent in the Park. As MCA will be responsible for the operation of the Park once the first building project has been completed, this means that any income generated through usage fees for the rooms and the all-weather pitch can directly contribute to the running costs. Without this permission, it would not be feasible for MCA to take on the operation of the Park, which is a requirement of the agreement with Swansea Council.

Significantly, the Deed of Consent negotiated with the Somerset Trust, has been completed without MCA having to pay a charge.

Read more about the Go Underhill Plans & Progress

About the Duke of Beaufort estate

The Sunday Times Rich List estimates that the Duke of Beaufort has a fortune of around £135m in land and business interests, including the 52,000 acre Badminton estate, which has been the traditional seat for the family since the 17th Century.

The dukedom was first bestowed on Henry Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Worcester in 1682, for his support of Charles II.

Other titles passed down through the family also include the Earl of Glamorgan, a courtesy title used by the eldest son of the duke’s heir.

Ownership of tracts of lands across south Wales was passed down through the family dating back to 1504, when Charles Somerset married the grand-daughter of the Earl of Pembroke, assuming the title Baron Herbert of Raglan, Chepstow and Gower.

Mumbles OAPs invest in the green heart of the village

Mumbles OAPs invest in the green heart of the village

On the back of having to close its doors for the last time, Mumbles Old People’s Welfare Association has donated over £9,000 to the ‘Go Underhill’ development.

Originally established in 1952 as an offshoot of the Mumbles Darts League, Mumbles Old People’s Welfare Association was based in a building constructed by local tradesmen and volunteers, on land donated by the British Legion. The Association flourished through the late 60’s and remained very successful until recent years when numbers dwindled. It finally closed in December 2017 and its premises were purchased by a local businessman.

After many years of serving older residents of Mumbles, members of the Association decided to make good use of the money they received from the sale of their building to support other Charities which bring benefits to the wider community in and around the village.

The ‘Go Underhill’ project, led by Mumbles Community Association, was one of the charities considered and the Trustees were delighted to accept a generous donation of £9,224 towards the transformation of the Park.

Due to the 50/50 match funding offer made by Mumbles Community Council, the contribution is worth over £18,000 to the ‘Go Underhill’ Project.

Vice Chair of Trustees, Gerwyn Jones, said:

“Whilst sad to hear of the closure of such a long-established community group, we are very grateful for the donation from Mumbles Old People’s Welfare Association, which will help us transform Underhill Park.

“Our plans for ‘Go Underhill’ are based on what the community has told us is needed to make the Park the healthy green heart of Mumbles and fit, not just for today, but for the future. There is something for everyone in the plans, and we hope that prior members of the Association will become regular visitors to our new café and community room, once that’s been completed.

“We are also very grateful to Mumbles Community Council for supporting us by offering match funding, to the tune of £280,000 over a 2 year period. As we move from the planning phase into the fundraising stage, we’re hoping that other organisations and individuals will help us claim the full amount available, so we can start turning our plans into a reality.”

Photo from left to right: Mike Podbielski (Trustee MCA) Brenda Christopher, Mary Richards, Gerwyn Jones (Trustee MCA), Mary Richards, Fleur Sharpe, Chris Parkin (Trustee MCA)

The story so far

The story so far

Mumbles Community Association: Who are we and what do we do?
We are a group of like minded volunteers who have got together to form a new charity to improve the facilities in Underhill Park and promote community participation in healthy recreation. These volunteers include representatives of all the major users of the Park, including football, rugby and cricket. For years users of the Park, including thousands of children have had to put up with inadequate and dilapidated facilities. The charity want better and more facilities for these children, such as improved changing rooms, social and community rooms where the local community can meet and an all-weather pitch to encourage wider use all year round. It also wants to ensure that any income generated by the new facilities is invested back into the local community.

Public Consultation
A public meeting was held in November 2014 at All Saints Church and the project received overwhelming support from the audience that packed into the church. The Community Council, local councillors and local community groups, including schools have all been contacted to explain what is proposed and to encourage their involvement. From this the charity has a clear idea about what facilities users of the Park want.
What has happened since the public meeting

Having received support from the local community the charity pressed ahead by seeking planning permission for a community building and by trying to reach an agreement with the City and County of Swansea as the local authority owns the Park. Planning permission was granted for a new community building that would provide for a full range of sporting and community uses on 4th October 2016 but it has taken until the summer of 2018 to secure an agreement with the City and County of Swansea. However, in July 2018, the charity signed an Agreement to Lease the Park from the local authority, which will take effect once the charity has completed the first stage of development.  It is now well placed to seek funding for the new facilties.

What Next?
Early in 2018 the Mumbles Community Council agreed to provide match funding up to £300,000 over two years and have allowed the charity to use some of this funding to commission an architect and an engineer to help them develop their proposals. A topographical survey of the whole Park has been completed and further drainage investigations have been undertaken. This information has enable the charity to produced a Development Plan for the Park to guide the implementation of the new facilities.

Having regard to the potential cost of the proposed community building, which is likely to be over £4m if it provides all the facilities desired, and the importance attached to building an all-weather pitch which will cost in the order of £750,000 with the associated drainage works, the charity has decided that a phased approach is more realistic. This will release space in the proposed community building for other community uses, such as a multi-purpose hall and a modified community building will therefore be developed as a later phase when funds become available.

Huw Griffiths Architect’s Ltd has been commissioned to design the Phase 1 Scheme. This involves demolishing and replacing the existing changing rooms and building a smaller development adjacent to the existing Red Pavilion. The Phase 1 scheme will provide a floodlit and enclosed all-weather pitch, new changing rooms, facilities for the disabled, a medical/physio room, a tuck shop, a café/community room, public toilets, secure storage and an office to provide a base to manage the new facilities. The cost, excluding VAT will be in the order of £2.25m.

It has been a long journey but we are now close to actually delivering improvements in the Park that will enhance the village and contribute to the regeneration of Mumbles. We hope you will support what we are trying to do in Underhill Park.