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.
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.
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.