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University offering £250k contract for Swansea Bay Sports Park redevelopment

Football pitches off Ashleigh Road, Swansea, which would be looked at as part of a feasibility study into upgrading sports facilities (Pic: Richard Youle)

SWANSEA University is tendering a £250,000 contract which could result in an upgrade of sports facilities used by it, local teams and elite athletes.

It wants consultants to produce a feasibility study and option appraisal for Swansea Bay Sports Park, which it said comprised land between Sketty Lane and Ashleigh Road and included the King George V playing fields. It is used by football, hockey and rugby teams, with midweek cricket also played there. The broad swathe of land, which extends south to Mumbles Road, also includes an athletics track, the Wales National Pool, a gym, indoor athletics centre, floodlit hockey pitches, and squash and tennis courts. At the top end is the private Swansea Tennis and Squash Club.

The contract being offered by the university is to help “lay the foundations for a major collaborative investment programme over the next decade” involving the university, Swansea Council and other partners. The £250,000 contract is being paid for by the UK Government via the Shared Prosperity Fund.

The athletics track at Swansea Bay Sports Park (Pic: Richard Youle)

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the university what sort of new facilities might be provided, whether the same amount of community sport would be offered as currently, and whether the feasibility study included Swansea Tennis and Squash Club.

A university spokesman said: “The vision of the partners is to improve the quality and capacity of the facility at Swansea Bay Sports Park to enhance the provision of community, university and performance sport.

“The intention of the feasibility study is to explore and propose options for the future facilities mix based on needs, viability and investment requirements.”

He said the tennis and squash club leased land from the council and was a separate entity. He added: “The (club’s) facilities are within the overall boundary of Swansea Bay Sports Park and any future opportunities will be considered in conjunction with the club.”

New pitch surfaces on the floodlit hockey pitches at Swansea Bay Sports Park (Pic: Richard Youle)

There has been investment in the sports park in recent months with a new all-weather football and rugby pitch off Sketty Lane and replacement all-weather hockey pitches. Some of the facilities, such as the pavilion by the athletics track, the tennis courts, and the changing rooms used by local football teams, are showing their age.

There is already a plan to replace the athletics track pavilion with a new sport and medical tech building. The proposal is one strand of a wider life sciences, medical technology and sport project which has been agreed as part of the city deal for the Swansea Bay City Region.

A 280-page business case for this wider project in 2021 considered future options for a new-look Swansea Bay Sports Park, including an indoor cricket centre, a new elite sports complex, more spectator seating, and a new clubhouse and pavilion for footballers who used the King George V playing fields. Maps of the land indicated that the low-lying playing fields were within a flood zone.

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Stuart McDonald, Swansea Senior Football League treasurer, said league officials have been kept informed of the university and council’s ambitions for the land. He said new changing rooms, if they came to fruition, and well-maintained pitches would be welcomed by teams which used them.

Mr McDonald said the King George V playing fields were one of Swansea’s three largest sports pitch sites, along with Mynydd Newydd, Penlan, and Tir Canol, Morriston. “We don’t want any community sport to be lost,” he said.