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Meadow of dreams!

 
Created on 25/07/2022 @ 10:53

 

Welshpool Rugby Club fear that they may lose their pitch for the entire season due to the long-lasting damage caused by vandals earlier this year.

Back in March, vandals broke into the town council shed at Maesydre, stealing a tractor before driving it onto the rugby pitch and smashing the windows.

During the tractor’s extraction, shards of glass were left along a strip of the field, making it unplayable until a costly re-turfing programme can be carried out.

But over five months on, the field has been left overgrown with knee high grass and weeds blighting what was once a perfect playing surface.

We have spoken to both the rugby club and the town council to find out the latest and while work is planned, it is not good news for the club who will be forced to use their remaining ‘second’ pitch for all activity for the foreseeable future.

Below we have carried both statements provided in full:

Welshpool Rugby Club provided by Aaron Hobson, Chairman:

“Being new to the Chairman’s role I have not yet been able to have any direct contact with the council myself to request an explanation as to why four-and-a-half months after the initial vandalism, no work has been started to rectify the damage caused.

It has been suggested that insurance claims were dependent on the conclusion of the police investigation, although I’m unable to validate whether that is accurate. It is disappointing that the council could not find a way to start the work earlier in order to have the pitch ready for the start of the new season at the beginning of September, because regardless of any outside influences the work still needs to be done.
I have seen a communication from the council groundsman that suggests work is planned to start in September and that the pitch will be playable by mid-December. At this stage it remains to be proven whether or not the club will have the use of the pitch at all for the coming season, given the stress the game of rugby puts on a playing surface.
The club’s ability to maintain Senior Men, Women/Girls and six Junior (u8 - u17) rugby team schedules of fixtures, as well as community-based projects such as Walking Rugby (in partnership with Ponthafren) on the club’s single pitch on the adjacent field will be severely tested and very much weather dependent, whilst we wait for the Maes y dre pitch to be made available again.
We are a community based club who actively look to provide the town’s youth and others a pathway for personal improvement and to contribute to the community as a whole. With that in mind we remain hopeful that the pitch can be returned to its former state sooner rather than later.”

Welshpool Town Council provided by Anne Wilson, Town Clerk:

Since the break-in to the padlocked shed and the vandalism to the tractor and pitches the town council has been liaising with police and insurers. 

The tractor was impounded as evidence for a protracted period of time and without the tractor the Outdoor Team has been severely hampered. The insurers are currently looking into whether the tractor is a right-off or can be repaired given its age and the damage caused.

However, with the help of local contractors and a very committed outdoor team, pitches have remained fit for play all except for the town council’s rugby pitch, as the tractor glass had been smashed out onto the pitch. Following visits and professional advice from STRI, a plan is in place to remove the turf, replace topsoil and sow grass seed to meet the standards recommended in the STRI report.

“Welshpool Town Council is extremely grateful to the sports clubs who have been so cooperative and helped us over the past very difficult months,”  the Town Mayor (Cllr Alison Davies) said: “The stupid behaviour of a few individuals has created thousands of pounds of damage and inconvenience for the hundreds of people of all ages who use and enjoy Maesydre Recreation Fields.

“The work to deal with the damage on the pitch is delayed until the annual maintenance is undertaken this autumn, and this is planned with the clubs so that it fits into a short break in local fixtures, and again relies upon cooperative working, at which we are all becoming quite adept!”

The tractor is still not available for the Outdoor Team to use and replacing parts on such an old machine is particularly difficult, but the council expects to have it back working or a new tractor in the near future.

This summer has been challenging; the weather has meant that it has been an excellent growing season, so mowing pitches has taken priority, although the play parks have generally been kept fairly short.

Picking up litter, small pieces of plastic and glass and repairing after acts of vandalism are costs we as a community we all have to bear, so the less time staff spend on these tasks the better for us all.

The town council is committed to providing good quality recreational facilities whilst managing our land for wildlife, too. The support and voluntary help the community has given this year and previously is very much appreciated.

 

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