Construction work on the new facilities being developed in Underhill Park got underway today, with representatives from the charity behind it, Mumbles Community Association, and from a major funder, Mumbles Community Council, on site to mark the ground being broken for the first time.

Over the last few weeks, contractors TAD Builders have been securing the site compound and putting a haul road in place. The temporary road will enable materials and equipment to reach site whilst minimising damage to the grass and surrounding sports pitches and ensuring the safety of Park visitors.

But now the real work is getting underway, which marks an exciting time for the development, and a time which many weren’t convinced would ever arrive.

Simon Tse, Chair of Mumbles Community Association, said:

“What a day for the Mumbles community and for everyone who enjoys the delights of playing in or just strolling through Underhill Park. It’s hard to believe that we’re underway and that the long held dreams for Underhill are now being turned into a reality.”

Chair of Mumbles Community Council, Cllr Dr Martin O’Neill, said:

“It is really exciting to now see diggers on the ground as this is the culmination of a lot of hard work. Bringing a project of this scale to fruition is not an easy task it takes a lot of commitment, focus and dedication from the whole team. For far too long the people of Mumbles have waited for this development and I cannot wait to see the local community enjoying these new improved facilities.”

Underhill Park will be open to visitors throughout the build period, although there will restricted access close to the construction site.

All main sports pitches and changing rooms will remain available to Mumbles Rangers Football Club players and Mumbles Rugby Club players throughout, although Cricket will not be possible this summer as the opportunity is being taken to use surplus soil to level part of the Park between the soccer pitch and the cricket square.

Whilst the main pitches are unaffected, visitors to the Park are asked to be conscious that there will be construction traffic going to site through the car park entrance off Newton Road. This will be on weekdays and can be at any time during daylight hours. TAD Builders will be ensuring that deliveries are escorted by traffic marshals from the Newton Road turn off to the entrance to the haul road. Anyone planning to visit the Park, particularly at peak times, is asked be extra careful when arriving or leaving the car park.

Cllr Will Thomas, MCC representative on Go Underhill working group, said:

“This Underhill development was the very reason I entered local politics. I am over the moon that we were able to deliver this in my council term. A big thanks to everyone at MCA for all their hard work and to previous MCC Councillor Carwyn Thomas who also played a key role in delivering this for the community.”

Cllr Rebecca Fogarty of MCC, who is also part of the working group, added:

“Like so many in our community, I am thrilled that work has started on the facilities at Underhill. I am really pleased that MCC has been able to support this project to enable it to go ahead; the Underhill project is a fantastic example of community partnership working and of what we can achieve when we work together.”

In this first phase, the Go Underhill development will comprise new changing rooms, with facilities for referees and on site physio, a new Community Hub & Café, which will run an activity programme and also be available for hire, a refurbished Pavilion and new public toilets.

To date, funding for Go Underhill has come through grants from Mumbles Community Council, The National Lottery Communities Fund, Welsh Government Community Facilities Programme, Welsh Rugby Union, plus donations from local businesses – Joe’s Ice cream and Dawsons Property – as well as from community groups and individuals.

Future plans include a new All-weather pitch, for which funding is currently being sought.

Main picture (L to R): Cllr Rebecca Fogarty (MCC), David Wilson (MCA), Fiona Rees (MCA), Gerwyn Jones (MCA), Simon Tse (MCA), Mike Podbielski (MCA), Cllr Dr Martin O’Neill (MCC), Carwyn Thomas (formerly MCC), Delwyn Jones (TAD), Adam Jones (TAD), Leighton Barnet (TAD)