THREE playing field areas look set to be leased to two football clubs and a “friends of” group to help them unlock grant funding and improve the facilities.
Swansea Council’s cabinet approved in principle the transfer of Pentyla playing fields, Cockett, part of Mynydd Newydd playing fields, Penlan, and part of Coed Gwilym Park, Clydach, at a meeting on October 19.
Responses to a public consultation about the proposed land transfers, which were not included in the cabinet report, will be considered before any legal documents are finalised.
For Penlan AFC, assuming control of part of Mynydd Newydd would enable the first team to be promoted from the Macron West Wales Premier League, which it has won two seasons in a row without the benefit of heading up a level.
First team manager Jamie Hopkins said teams which finished below it had been promoted because their facilities met the required standards while Penlan AFC’s didn’t. Its pitch is currently around 200 metres from the clubhouse.
“This could potentially be a massive moment for the club and the local area,” said Mr Hopkins. “We’ve performed really well on the pitch but haven’t had the facilities to match. Other clubs have gone from strength to strength.”
Subject to final sign-off the transfer will relocate the pitch much closer to the clubhouse – and Mr Hopkins said there could be space for up to two junior pitches as well. Pitch fencing is also proposed. Mr Hopkins said dog mess and broken glass sometimes had to be removed from the current pitch, and that seating there had been vandalised.
The club has three senior teams, and youth teams from under-5s upwards. Mr Hopkins said some 80 adults and 200 children were signed on, and that the club hoped to start girls’ teams. Club officials have been in touch with the Football Association of Wales about potential grants. “You can’t apply without a lease,” said Mr Hopkins.
A group called Friends of Coed Gwilym Park was behind the lease application for the area of the park behind the bowling green, where Clydach FC plays.
David Rooke, chairman of the friends of group, said it was working with the football club on plans to build two girls’ changing rooms and a wide Tarmac path around the park. Fencing to stop footballs disappearing into woodland at one end of the park is also proposed.
“Funding is secured – we’re just waiting for the lease,” said Mr Rooke.
Rosehill Community FC is looking to take over the management of Pentyla playing fields, known locally as the Ganges. Public access to the open space will remain as it is.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted the club to ask about its future plans, but no-one responded at the time of going to press. A separate group, Friends of the Ganges, said it had met representatives of the club and had been reassured by its intentions. In a Facebook post, it said: “As a friends group we look forward to working with Rosehill to make the Ganges Field a fantastic place to be for the football club and for others who use this special green space.”
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Cllr Robert Francis-Davies stressed that public access at Pentyla playing fields would remain “unfettered”. He also said Friends of Coed Gwilym Park, which has built a community clubhouse by the bowling green, was “doing a great job up there”. The volunteers who ran sports clubs throughout Swansea, he said, were some of the county’s greatest assets.
Council leader Rob Stewart said one of the key drivers of the proposed land transfers was that the clubs would have access to grants that the council didn’t.