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A sports field lost forever

Created on 26/07/2018 @ 08:02
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As builders moved on to the Salop Road field this week to start work on Welshpool’s new primary school, voices have again been raised over the loss of a vital leisure facility.

After several months of wrangling, the first turf was finally cut this week for a school that will teach 360 pupils from September 2019, but it has caused considerable dismay among residents.

While the need for a modern teaching facility has generally been welcomed, it is the lack of an alternative for the field which has been used for a variety of sports including football, athletics and cycling for decades.

Over on Twitter, we shared the Council's video celebrating the start, but it didn't receive the response that they were probably expecting.

One reader complained that the loss of three football pitches and an athletics track will be a big issue for the school which has a “proud sporting history with many pupils going on to represent their country”.

Another said that it will lead to “more children unable to get active” while a third commented that is “deeply worrying” and questioned “how did it get this far without a requirement to provide alternatives/improvements to what is lost?”. (all comments on MyWelshpool Twitter feed).

However, Powys County Council, who are overseeing the £13 million project to build two new schools, the second on the site of Maesydre, have explained the current situation.

“Powys County Council consulted with local groups, clubs and with the high school on the loss of the playing fields and have looked at various options to compensate the community for the loss of grass pitches,” they stated.

“The town of Welshpool is constrained in terms of available land, with the established playing fields owned by the town council already being used to capacity.

“The council has looked at all options and have agreed the following:

·      Retain one grass pitch for the duration of the construction period and will be securely fenced off for community and high school use

·      Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School governors have agreed to work with the local clubs to allow them to have access to the Howell Drive (Maesydre) site grass pitch

·      Consequential works are proposed to upgrade sporting facilities at Welshpool High School

“The council is also aware that local clubs are in contact with the town council to discuss how they can work together to provide for the local communities.

“At the school, there will be a multi-use games area pitch that could also be available for community use, subject to governors approval.

“In terms of the parking, 300 (a figure we put to them) is completely inaccurate. As part of the development, we will be constructing 120 car parking spaces in line with policy of having one car parking space per three pupils.”

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