CWMBRAN Harriers have expressed concern over the £2m plans to transform the town's stadium.
The athletics club, based at the stadium, say that replacing the current grass pitch withinto a 3G artificial turf surface as proposed, will lead to a loss of their national competitions. with Throwing events from discus to javelin would not be able to take place in the future – they are said to have been told.
Club secretary Ian Chick called it “concerning and disappointing”, with the stadium hosting some of British and World athletics biggest names and events since the 1970s.
“It’s bad news all round for us, and makes a bit of a mockery of the fight to regained the UK Athletics competition licence last year,” he added.
Torfaen Leisure Trust has said that replacing the current grass centre pitch with a 3G surface will meet current demands.
The chairman of Torfaen Leisure Trust, Alun Williams, said: “The proposals put forward are for improvements that are both modern and vibrant. We passionately believe that our customer experience should be first class.”
The proposals will also see the current four-court sports hall, with four courts, transformed into a fitness suite, complete with 80 to 90 fitness stations.
An indoor climbing centre will be created, and a toning suite. The current reception area will also contain a coffee shop.
The direct debit fitness membership fee will remain fixed.
The CEO of Torfaen Leisure Trust, Sally Church, said: “The Trust is investing despite the current financial climate and significant spending constraints. It gives more people, more opportunities to be active. The 3G pitch will allow year-round use.
“The redevelopment improvements will provide wider community benefits such as the opportunity to participate in a wider variety of new activities aimed at the whole community and with particular emphasis on children, young people and families.”
Gym user at the stadium Philip Andrews, from Pontnewydd, called any expansion “good news”.
“I think it’s great for the community,” he added.
He also said that, for him, it would go some way towards justifying price rises set to be introduced on some services from April1. The direct debit fitness membership fee will remain fixed.
The trust is working on a commercial funding package from the private banking sector for the project.
It is hoped that the work will go ahead this year, and the estimated build time is eight months.
But tThe project is subject to the trust agreeing a funding package, and planning permission will need to be sought for installation of the 3G pitch.