PONTYPOOL, South Wales, 19th December, 2019 - Pontypool RFC is delighted to announce that it has today entered into a long-term lease with Torfaen County Borough Council that has secured the club’s future at Pontypool Park for decades to come.
The club has been afforded an initial 25-year lease term that will run to December 2044, which will be extended by a further 25 years to December 2069 after the development works previously approved by Torfaen County Borough Council’s planning officers achieves practical completion.
Works will now begin to install the perimeter fencing around Pontypool Park in January 2020 and the venue will be fully secure by March 2020.
Further details and timescales for the remainder of the development works planned at Pontypool Park will be shared with supporters and the wider community in due course.
This outcome has been achieved through close co-operation between the club and council and also through close collaboration with the custodians of the park who hold it in trust to secure it for the benefit of the community and future generations. It has also come about through engagement and consultation with users of the park and both parties are grateful for their passion, interest and loyalty to both the park and also the future of the rugby club.
At the beginning 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 conclusion of 2019.
This paved the way for Pontypool RFC to submit a full planning application outlining the club’s extensive ground improvement proposals, which was successfully approved in April 2019. After a further period of dialogue with Torfaen County Borough Council’s planning officers, the conditions that needed to be addressed prior to the commencement of any development works were successfully discharged in November 2019.
The third step of the strategy related to the consultation with the community, park users and stakeholders on the ‘Playing Field Regulations’. At the conclusion of the consultation in May 2019, Torfaen County Borough Council’s Cabinet committee determined that a long-term lease could be issued to the club once a period of at least 12 weeks had elapsed since the decision was first published.
In the ensuing months, Pontypool RFC and Torfaen County Borough Council representatives successfully negotiated and agreed the terms of the long-term lease to bring the entire process to its conclusion.
This is an exceptionally positive outcome, not only for Pontypool RFC – but for the wider community in Torfaen.
Pontypool RFC and Torfaen County Borough Council have both honoured a shared commitment to continue welcoming other clubs and groups to Pontypool Park, by inserting a mechanism within the long-term lease that enables the club to issue licences to other community interests on an on-going basis.
As of today, Pontypool RFC has committed to issuing licences to Pontypool Runners, Pontypool Parkrun, Pontypool Schools Under 15s, Torfaen Arrows and Torfaen Sports Development. In addition, a sub-lease has been agreed with Torfaen Small Bore Rifle Club that will enable its continued use of the purpose-built range located on the first floor of the grandstand building at Pontypool Park.
Pontypool RFC and Torfaen County Borough Council are also committed to ensuring that the annual fireworks display organised by Pontypool Round Table and the Cancer Research UK Relay for Life event continues to take place at Pontypool Park in 2020 and beyond.
Pontypool RFC now looks forward to the prospect of re-invigorating Pontypool Park and providing the ultimate experience to the club’s loyal supporters, volunteers, staff and squad members – as well as the wider community – in the months and years ahead.
Pontypool RFC wishes to express its sincerest thanks to the club’s advisory team, for this outcome would not have been possible without the continued support and guidance of Capital Law, Franks + Toms and BPW Insurance.
Finally, Pontypool RFC wishes to pay a very special thank you to the ‘Pooler Army’ - this great club and our home of over 70 years at Pontypool Park simply would not be the same without your incredible support.
Comment from Pontypool RFC Chief Executive Officer, Ben Jeffreys:
“This is a truly monumental moment in Pontypool RFC’s proud history and I am delighted that we have been able to secure the club’s long-term future at its rightful home of Pontypool Park.
“When we arrived at Pontypool RFC in 2012, one of our core objectives was to transform Pontypool Park into a venue that could better serve both the club and wider community.
“Over the last six years, we have had to navigate our way through a series of complex legal challenges and I am pleased with how everybody came together in support of our ambitions for Pontypool Park in order to get this over the line.
“Throughout our involvement with Pontypool RFC, we have been inspired by countless stories from supporters of just how much Pontypool Park means to them. It’s not just a rugby ground, it’s an institution that has brought people from all walks of life together and has served as a true beacon of the community.
“The securing of this long-term lease will not only ensure that those bonds will continue to flourish, but it will also ensure that the next generation of Pooler supporters can carry on this proud tradition of calling Pontypool Park their rugby home.
“Without question, this is the proudest moment in our time at Pontypool RFC and our firm focus now turns to moving forward with developing the ground and leaving what we hope will be a positive legacy on both the club and wider community in the years ahead.”
Comment from Executive Member for Economy, Skills and Regeneration, Cllr Richard Clark:
“The council has worked closely with Pontypool RFC and the community to help chart a course through several complex legal issues.
“Completing the lease is a further milestone in our shared desire for the club to commit its future to Pontypool Park.
“The decision to invest in the park can give Pontypool RFC the very best chances of success on-and-off the pitch and is good news for the town.”