Anger over Caldicot school pitch delay
5:20pm Friday 1st February 2013 in News
A COUNCILLOR has accused a utilities company of holding Monmouthshire council “to ransom” as delays to a project to build a 3G artificial sports pitch look set to rumble on for a year.
Cllr Linda Guppy said it is “scandalous” that the £444,000 facility at Caldicot School has still not been built.
It joins Thornwell School in Chepstow as the second Monmouthshire council project held up by drainage issues discovered by Welsh Water.
Cllr Guppy told Monmouthshire’s Severnside area committee it was her understanding the pitch should have originally been finished in December, but that it may nowbe held up for another year.
She said the new pitch, being paid for by money from the sale of the school playing fields to Asda, could have generated income for the council’s leisure services during bad weather.
She said: “Welsh Water are holding us to ransom, they have got no urgency. It’s not good enough that this has not been sorted. It needs to be put high on the agenda.”
Council leader Peter Fox said he and chief executive Paul Matthews had met Welsh Water representatives at the highest level to discuss the issue.
He said: “The trouble is we don’t always communicate together. Perhaps we haven’t consulted enough on some of the other works we need to do to accompany a new development.”
Planning permission for the pitch,which will refurbish the school’s existing Astroturf, and floodlighting was granted in October.
Leisure and recreation manager Mike Moran said: “A funding package has been agreed and a contractor appointed but we have discovered underground sewer pipes running under one corner of where the new pitch will be sited, and these also run under the site of the new Asda store.
“In October we commissioned Welsh Water to carry out a hydraulic modelling assessment. That report was received about ten days ago.”
The report identifies a preferred option for re-routing the pipe-work.
He added that the council would nowproduce a detailed design and have appointed engineers to carry out the work.
“We would like to do the rerouting work fairly quickly so that work on the new pitch can be carried out this summer and completed, if possible, before work starts on the new supermarket.”
Principal engineer for Welsh Water, Norman Fleming, said: “We have assessed the work required for Caldicot School to build a newsports pitch and building and have recommended to Monmouthshire council that Welsh Water is happy for them to carry out these sewer diversion works.Wewill then make the final connections when the diversion has been carried out.
“Wecurrently have no blanket objections in place to new developments seeking planning permission in the Caldicot area. Each brought to our attention is reviewed on its individual merits.”