COUNCILLORS have approved granting a long term lease to Pontypool RFC for their historic Pontypool Park ground, as the club aims to make it "the beacon of the town once more."

Pooler have called the ground home since 1945, but last summer threatened to move following concerns over antisocial behaviour.

Moves to fence off the ground had also been prevented by a covenant, but permission was secured by Torfaen council to change its conditions to allow the club to secure its facilities.

The club expects work on 2.4-metre fence enclosing the grandstand, pitch and terrace to start in the latter stages of 2019.

At a meeting on Tuesday, Torfaen council's cabinet approved a long-term lease of the pitch and grandstand to the club.

The details of the 50-year lease will be negotiated in the coming weeks during a statutory period to advertise the decision.

READ MORE: Pontypool RFC will be handed long-term lease to stay at Pontypool Park

Deputy council leader, Cllr Richard Clark, said the move would benefit the club, users of the park and the town of Pontypool.

He said: "We have recognised the historic ties of this rugby club, its past fortunes and future fortunes I hope, and how they are so entwined with the town of Pontypool and even more entwined with the park itself."

The proposed lease had overwhelming support in the community, with 106 positive responses and just four objections.

Under the lease the club will also be responsible for maintenance of the pitch and grandstand, saving the council around £15,200 per year.

South Wales Argus:

An artist's impression of how Pontypool RFC's will look like once the fence is built.

Rachel Jowitt, chief officer for neighbourhoods, planning and public protection at the council, said she hoped the granting of the lease signalled "the beginning of a new and strengthened partnership" with the rugby club.

The club has said it fully intends to allow the ground to continue to be used by other users of the pitch.

But the public will no longer have free access into the rugby field outside of match days once the fences are installed.

Speaking afterwards, chief executive Ben Jeffreys said the decision "starts to give tangible hope that Pontypool RFC will be able to call Pontypool Park its home for many decades to come."

He added: “A tremendous amount of progress has been made over the previous six months and in that time, we have addressed the historical covenant, obtained planning permission to make our desired improvements to the ground and we are now close to completing the Playing Field Regulations process.

"We are looking forward to the opportunity to negotiate the finer details of the lease with the local authority when the appropriate time comes, and I am hopeful that we can finally deliver on our promise to make Pontypool Park the beacon of the town once more."


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Cllr Anthony Hunt, leader of Torfaen County Borough Council: “This lease agreement is good for park users, good for Pontypool RFC, good for the town and good for the Council.

“The Council made a commitment to work positively with Pontypool RFC to secure their future in Pontypool Park.

"This approval to grant a long-term lease demonstrates this commitment has been adhered to and significant work has been undertaken to ensure the Council has met all its statutory, legal and community obligations.

“This rugby ground is a facility which is in need of significant investment and I welcome that Pontypool RFC are making a long-term commitment to achieve their aspirations in the park.

"The contributions from the public and stakeholders during the consultation has helped secure the interests of both the club and the community. The lease agreement also saves the council money which can be better spent on priority services.”