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Pontypool RFC set to stay at town centre home

Rugby will continue to be played at one of Wales' oldest grounds after Pontypool RFC and Torfaen County Borough Council agreed terms on a new deal that will see their Pontypool Park ground enclosed and upgraded.

Pontypool RFC had threatened to leave their town centre home in favour of a new facility after months of antisocial behaviour around the pitch, stand and club house, that is open to public.

Restrictions on the use of the land had meant a standoff between the club and local council over moves to erect a fence around the pitch to keep people out but a deal to install that, plus upgrade existing facilities, looks set to ensure rugby continues to played at the venue for years to come.

The issue had centred around legal covenants placed of the parkland that had meant the council were required to “ hold the property for the use of the Public”. However a change in that policy, plus a public consultation on the plans, means moves can now be made to update the ageing stadium.

Pontypool RFC Chief Executive Ben Jefferies has been outspoken in his criticisms of the issue the club faced in recent months, describing regular instances of damage and antisocial behaviour being committed at the ground due to it’s open access.

This had lead to concerns over player safety which the club said in July left them with little choice but to leave their historical home.

A public consultation will now take place over the proposals which will also include a planning application to upgrade current facilities by the club. Should that be approved then work is scheduled to begin later this year.

This is a significant moment in Pontypool RFC’s storied history and is one that should offer hope and positivity to the thousands of supporters who have called Pontypool Park their sporting home for the last seventy-three years

During the summer, we felt we had no alternative but to leave Pontypool Park and it was a decision that weighed heavily on all those who care for this great club. Yet it put into stark perspective just how much the people of Pontypool want this beacon of the town to remain as the club’s home and I am pleased that this strategy gives us every opportunity to achieve that.

Crucially, the club and local authority are now working in complete unison. We have absolute clarity on the steps that must be followed to get our plans over the line and for the first time since we embarked on this process, I am very confident that we will be able to turn Pontypool Park into a modern and vibrant sporting venue that will deliver a much-improved experience for the community.

– Ben Jefferies, Pontypool Chief executive