Plans to enclose historic Pontypool rugby grounds could be overturned by 1920s covenant

Ben Jeffreys is the Corporate Director of Pontypool RFC and has just started a similar position with the Dragons (4098223)

Ben Jeffreys is the Corporate Director of Pontypool RFC and has just started a similar position with the Dragons (4098218)

Ben Jeffreys is the Corporate Director of Pontypool RFC and has just started a similar position with the Dragons (4098208)

First published in News by

PONTYOOL RFC rugby chiefs have appealed for residents to back plans to enclose its vandalised grounds, after they suffered a setback which could see the proposal overturned by a 1920s covenant.

Pooler lodged and application last month to put up a 2.4m mesh fence around its fields after seats were ripped out of the stand, needles left on the field, the grandstand de-faced, and the grounds hit by numerous arsons.

The historic club was again vandalised last month despite the installation of a £13,000 CCTV system.

Pooler hoped its plans could be given the go ahead this month, paving the way for the fence to go up at Pontypool Park at the start of the season.

The security fence could also help the club in its bid to obtain an A licence and return to the Premiership following its relegation in 2012.

But it has now emerged the fence plans could be overturned because of town covenant, which means the club has no right to dictate what they do at Pontypool Park.

The club is now planning to embark on a consultation exercise with the public to find out if they are in favour of the fence.

Pontypool RFC corporate director Ben Jeffreys said the process could last up to seven months.

He said: "We would certainly encourage the club’s supporters to support this cause as much as they can."

The club also plan to undertake other renovation work at its home base, but Mr Jeffreys said the club was hesitant to proceed without protection from the continued problems plaguing it.

He also thanked Torfaen council and Lynne Neagle AM for their assistance so far,

Pontypool fan Bryan Pritchard endorsed the fencing plans but suggested bushes and trees could help soften its appearance.

Mr Pritchard, 72, told the Free Press: “I think it is a must for the town of Pontypool.

“Pontypool is best known probably for its rugby club and its Japanware.

“It would be a crying shame to let the rugby club die.”

A Torfaen council spokesman said: “Pontypool Park was transferred for the use of the public in the 1920s by the Pontypool Park Estate. As part of the transfer, a covenant was established that guarantees the public access and use of the park. In addition, the park was to be held on trust 'for the use of the public'.

"The council has sought counsel advice to establish what this means in relation to Pontypool RFC.

“It has been advised that the granting of a lease which affords exclusive occupation to the club, and the erection of a fence which prevents access to the grounds, would amount to both a breach of the covenant and the trust contained within the council’s title documents to the land.

"Therefore, it is not currently within the council’s power to lease the ground solely to Pontypool RFC, or allow the grounds to be enclosed, unless the terms of the covenant and the trust are varied.”

Pontypool RFC said, most recently, a door leading to the club’s iconic scoreboard had been smashed and the lights turned on inside.

CCTV footage of the incident discovered on July 31 is now being examined.

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101.

Comments (9)

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8:05am Thu 14 Aug 14

varteg1 says...

When the covenant was originated there was probably little to fear from the 'naughty' element that now seems to plague our open spaces, so I see it sensible to have the ground enclosed.

There is something lacking in the mentality of those who commit vandalism, it is just not good enough when they get caught that all they get bis na fine, they need to be sent for psychiatric treatment, preferably in a secure environment.
When the covenant was originated there was probably little to fear from the 'naughty' element that now seems to plague our open spaces, so I see it sensible to have the ground enclosed. There is something lacking in the mentality of those who commit vandalism, it is just not good enough when they get caught that all they get bis na fine, they need to be sent for psychiatric treatment, preferably in a secure environment. varteg1
  • Score: 11

8:17am Thu 14 Aug 14

landyman3030 says...

Surely there has to be a legal way around this covenant.
As varteg1 rightly stated, there wasn't the mindless muppets in society then who enjoyed spreading misery and destruction to others.
If they are unable to secure their property from these idiots the obvious future is going to include greatly inflated or impossible insurance prices and the demise of the club.
Nobody wants to see that. Please common sense, it's time to make an appearance.
Surely there has to be a legal way around this covenant. As varteg1 rightly stated, there wasn't the mindless muppets in society then who enjoyed spreading misery and destruction to others. If they are unable to secure their property from these idiots the obvious future is going to include greatly inflated or impossible insurance prices and the demise of the club. Nobody wants to see that. Please common sense, it's time to make an appearance. landyman3030
  • Score: 6

8:47am Thu 14 Aug 14

Monmouthshire Merlin says...

Suggest they speak to Newport City Council. They sold the Old Tredegar Park golf club for building ( on a flood plane ) for housing.
Lord Tredegar Covenanted this land to the people of Newport for recreational purposes.
The council have lost or have no knowledge of the whereabouts of the Covenant!
Suggest they speak to Newport City Council. They sold the Old Tredegar Park golf club for building ( on a flood plane ) for housing. Lord Tredegar Covenanted this land to the people of Newport for recreational purposes. The council have lost or have no knowledge of the whereabouts of the Covenant! Monmouthshire Merlin
  • Score: -1

9:13am Thu 14 Aug 14

Angeleleven says...

**A Torfaen council spokesman said: “Pontypool Park was transferred for the use of the public in the 1920s by the Pontypool Park Estate. As part of the transfer, a covenant was established that guarantees the public access and use of the park. In addition, the park was to be held on trust 'for the use of the public'** OK the covenant guarantees public access, well every time its vandalised the public are being deined access whislt it is being repaired ( at a massive cost each time !!!!!!!!!!!!!) and whos looking at the long term picture here????????? I firmly believe the Council on behalf of the people (because thats is why they are our council to act on behalf of the peoples wishes) have an obligation to agree to "what ever it takes" to safeguard the park . Now if that means fencing off the rugby pitch and seats, and lets face it the area in question is actually a VERY small percentage of the whole estate, then THAT is their obligation. What is the alternative do nothing bury their heads be afraid to make an out of the box decision and over the next few years the cost of the vandalism will drain the life out of the resources and the club will no longer be there !!!!!!!!!! Come on someone stand up and be counted and make the right decision for the right reason. Covenants rules and regulations are set out by people to safe guard the future but the future changes. What would Mr Handbury say? he left the park for the people so the people should have the say in protecting it not the council. We simply HAVE to make the right decision now the covenant states ***** guarantees the public access and use of the parkand ******** it doesnt state 24/7 access. We must think of the future and do what is needed to safeguard the parks future.
**A Torfaen council spokesman said: “Pontypool Park was transferred for the use of the public in the 1920s by the Pontypool Park Estate. As part of the transfer, a covenant was established that guarantees the public access and use of the park. In addition, the park was to be held on trust 'for the use of the public'** OK the covenant guarantees public access, well every time its vandalised the public are being deined access whislt it is being repaired ( at a massive cost each time !!!!!!!!!!!!!) and whos looking at the long term picture here????????? I firmly believe the Council on behalf of the people (because thats is why they are our council to act on behalf of the peoples wishes) have an obligation to agree to "what ever it takes" to safeguard the park . Now if that means fencing off the rugby pitch and seats, and lets face it the area in question is actually a VERY small percentage of the whole estate, then THAT is their obligation. What is the alternative do nothing bury their heads be afraid to make an out of the box decision and over the next few years the cost of the vandalism will drain the life out of the resources and the club will no longer be there !!!!!!!!!! Come on someone stand up and be counted and make the right decision for the right reason. Covenants rules and regulations are set out by people to safe guard the future but the future changes. What would Mr Handbury say? he left the park for the people so the people should have the say in protecting it not the council. We simply HAVE to make the right decision now the covenant states ***** guarantees the public access and use of the parkand ******** it doesnt state 24/7 access. We must think of the future and do what is needed to safeguard the parks future. Angeleleven
  • Score: 9

9:52am Thu 14 Aug 14

Raymond Luxury-Yacht says...

If the covenant is broken, the original land owners usually have the right to take back possession of the land, should they wish to. Clearly, this is dependent on the exact terms and condition of the original covenant. One should always take legal advice, bearing in mind the original wishes of the property owners.

As regard Tredegar Park Golf Club. I do not believe that Newport Council ever owned this land. It is currently owned by another party. Check with the land registry!
If the covenant is broken, the original land owners usually have the right to take back possession of the land, should they wish to. Clearly, this is dependent on the exact terms and condition of the original covenant. One should always take legal advice, bearing in mind the original wishes of the property owners. As regard Tredegar Park Golf Club. I do not believe that Newport Council ever owned this land. It is currently owned by another party. Check with the land registry! Raymond Luxury-Yacht
  • Score: 7

10:16am Thu 14 Aug 14

paddyparry says...

When the club were first looking at applying for the A Licence, about 2 years ago, they were aware of the restriction of the covenant. I don't see how the fencing off of the rugby ground would break these terms. The rest of the p[ark is open to access to the genral public. All they should need to do is ensure that the path dividing the bank is fenced below that line. Then there is no rstriction on access through the park, only to the pitch and stand. The idea of hedging around the ground was also suggested and would help the fencing to blend into the landscape. I don't think that the council actually know what they're doing here..
When the club were first looking at applying for the A Licence, about 2 years ago, they were aware of the restriction of the covenant. I don't see how the fencing off of the rugby ground would break these terms. The rest of the p[ark is open to access to the genral public. All they should need to do is ensure that the path dividing the bank is fenced below that line. Then there is no rstriction on access through the park, only to the pitch and stand. The idea of hedging around the ground was also suggested and would help the fencing to blend into the landscape. I don't think that the council actually know what they're doing here.. paddyparry
  • Score: -1

12:30pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Angeleleven says...

Please correct me if I am wrong but "Pontypool Leisure Centre" was that not built on this land after the covenant was agreed and is that not closed to the public when not in use ?? so what is the difference if the rugby ground is fenced and therefore not open to the public when not in use. Come on this sounds more like a " we dont want to spend the money excuse"
Please correct me if I am wrong but "Pontypool Leisure Centre" was that not built on this land after the covenant was agreed and is that not closed to the public when not in use ?? so what is the difference if the rugby ground is fenced and therefore not open to the public when not in use. Come on this sounds more like a " we dont want to spend the money excuse" Angeleleven
  • Score: -2

5:20pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Loose Ed says...

Mon Merlin I think if you check you will find that the old TP Golfcourse belonged to Pontypool Park or Llanover Estate and not Newport Council,it was closed because the members found it cheaper to move and buy rather than pay the huge new leasing fees the owners wanted.
Mon Merlin I think if you check you will find that the old TP Golfcourse belonged to Pontypool Park or Llanover Estate and not Newport Council,it was closed because the members found it cheaper to move and buy rather than pay the huge new leasing fees the owners wanted. Loose Ed
  • Score: 4

7:54pm Thu 14 Aug 14

varteg1 says...

Monmouthshire Merlin wrote:
Suggest they speak to Newport City Council. They sold the Old Tredegar Park golf club for building ( on a flood plane ) for housing.
Lord Tredegar Covenanted this land to the people of Newport for recreational purposes.
The council have lost or have no knowledge of the whereabouts of the Covenant!
Such a convenient loss.

I wonder will the good folk of Newport get their lands back if the covenant is found in the future?

As I see it, in reference to Pontypool park, there is no indication that will be sold off to spec builders (creating the slums of the future).
[quote][p][bold]Monmouthshire Merlin[/bold] wrote: Suggest they speak to Newport City Council. They sold the Old Tredegar Park golf club for building ( on a flood plane ) for housing. Lord Tredegar Covenanted this land to the people of Newport for recreational purposes. The council have lost or have no knowledge of the whereabouts of the Covenant![/p][/quote]Such a convenient loss. I wonder will the good folk of Newport get their lands back if the covenant is found in the future? As I see it, in reference to Pontypool park, there is no indication that will be sold off to spec builders (creating the slums of the future). varteg1
  • Score: -1

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