PONTYPOOL, South Wales, 16th April 2019 - Pontypool RFC is delighted to confirm that the club’s planning application in respect of proposals to make wholesale improvements to Pontypool Park has been approved by Torfaen County Borough Council.
The decision marks an important milestone in Pontypool RFC’s longstanding quest to secure the club’s future at Pontypool Park, its home of over 70 years.
In January of this year, Pontypool RFC and Torfaen County Borough Council launched a renewed strategy that sought to resolve all the required legal steps relating to the challenges facing Pontypool Park by the summer of 2019.
The strategy consisted of addressing three core components (i.e. covenant, planning and lease) that prohibited the level of development required by Pontypool RFC to consider Pontypool Park as its viable long-term home.
It was previously announced in January that the covenant that ensures Torfaen County Borough Council “hold the property for the use of the Public” was successfully amended to give the local authority flexibility on how the rugby grounds area could be managed moving forward.
This paved the way for Pontypool RFC to submit the planning application that was successfully approved this afternoon.
The final step of the strategy relates to the consultation with the community, park users and stakeholders on the ‘Playing Field Regulations’. Pontypool RFC’s management team have held positive discussions with various park users and have continued to engage in productive dialogue with the local authority, with a view to completing this process in May.
Should the consultation yield a favourable outcome, it would allow Torfaen County Borough Council to grant a lease to Pontypool RFC, which would allow the club to commence works as per the specifications outlined in today’s successful planning application towards the latter stages of 2019.
Pontypool RFC will continue to keep supporters fully informed of developments as this process nears its conclusion and we thank you for your continued backing and support.
Comment from Pontypool RFC chief executive officer, Ben Jeffreys:
“This is a hugely significant development and gives real hope to our supporters that Pontypool RFC will be able to remain at its rightful home for decades to come.
“For several months, we have been working incredibly hard to navigate through some exceptionally challenging legal components that all have to be overcome to ensure our dream becomes a reality.
“We are now two thirds of the way through the process and whilst the outcome of the Playing Field Regulations consultation remains to be seen, planning presented the biggest level of complexities that had the potential to derail progress.
“I’m very grateful to the local authority’s planning officers and committee members, not only for their recommendation and decision, but for the way in which they engaged in constructive dialogue with the club throughout the planning process.
“I’m also encouraged by the dialogue we have enjoyed with other park users and community interests. It is clear to me that our ambitions for Pontypool Park are well supported and we remain committed to delivering a facility that will undoubtedly bring a much needed boost to Pontypool as a whole.”