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Wrexham councillors discuss report into developing sports facilities

COUNCILLORS were updated on continuing work to develop and improve outdoor sports facilities in Wrexham.

The council’s Homes and Environment Scrutiny committee on Wednesday, November 15, heard how the Wrexham Football Partnership is helping local teams taking on the upkeep of their pitches and pavilions which are owned by the council.

The partnership includes the Football Association of Wales (FAW Trust), the North East Wales Football Association, Wrexham AFC, and local league clubs in order to develop a strategic plan for the future of grassroots football in Wrexham.

The partnership aims to support:

  • Provision for different age groups.
  • Improved female facilities and participation.
  • More sustainable football clubs with appropriate access to facilities.
  • Improved grass pitches.
  • Access to 3G pitch facilities.
  • Greater club ownership and management of facilities.

In the last six years the partnership has brought investment and improvements to four ‘3G hubs’ based at schools Ysgol Clywedog, Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Ysgol y Grango and Ysgol Rhosnesni.

These facilities are managed by the schools themselves or Freedom Leisure and are bookable for local football teams outside of school hours. Investment has come from the FAW Trust, and FAW grassroots facilities fund, along with capital investment from Wrexham Council.

Members heard that the partnership would continue to seek investment for additional 3G hub facilities, as per the report, and its ambition is to provide these at all secondary school sites across the county borough. It also mentioned that the pitches could be made suitable for rugby as well, with the council not having dedicated pitches to the sport.

Cllr Paul Pemberton (Ind) who chaired the meeting, also commented on how Ponciau Banks featured in the docuseries Welcome to Wrexham due to the women’s team using their home ground last season.

He said: “And that would not have happened without the work of the officers at the authority and community groups working together and that input being put in. So yes, it can be done.”

There was a discussion on gender equality and for disabilities in these sports by Cllr Robert Ian Williams (con) for Bangor-is-y-Coed ward, to which Lead Member for Environment Cllr Hugh Jones (Con) said: “It is a question for the sports development team but they’re very much aware of that. I think there is reference somewhere in the report to the fact the sports development team are working across gender, if I can put it that way, so it is an important point.”

Cllr Paul Rogers (ind) for Brymbo ward also raised concerns about the capacity for the department to complete the “journey” which he thinks will take a number of years to deliver significant investment but was informed that “working together as a partnership” would bring the capacity in football.

The report also covers improvements to tennis courts and bowling greens.

Wrexham County Borough Council received an offer of investment through Tennis Wales to physically improve three of the five available courts at Bellevue Park, and this can include booking software, gate access technology and tennis programmes and activities.

Cllr Paul Pemberton, thanked the officers at the department for the work undertaken as outlined in the report and supported the future works as outlined, adding the council would like a further report outlining “further developments as they develop.”

Cllr Claire Lovett (Ind) for New Broughton ward also wanted an update on how the tennis courts in Bellevue Park are doing in six months’ time.

Cllr Robert Ian Williams wanted to add a focus on equality issues, however, it was raised that reports have to have an equality impact assessment.

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