PONTYPOOL fans have reacted positively to the news that Pontypool RFC are set to stay at their historic home ground, Pontypool Park.

Last week, the club issued a joint statement with the council saying that “significant progress” had been made in talks between the two parties, and that the club would no longer be looking for a new home at the end of the season, but instead would submit an application to upgrade their current ground.

In July, Pooler had announced that they were set to leave their home of 73 years, due to the ground being plagued by arson, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour, as well as trouble overcoming a park covenant which had prevented the club from fencing off the rugby facilities.


The scene of an arson attack at the ground, which led to the loss of several seats.

The news that the club would be staying at their iconic ground was met well by residents in the town.

55-year-old Pontypool resident Mark Gregory said that he was “chuffed” that the club would be staying put.

He said: “I’m chuffed. It’s an iconic location.

“I was always hopeful of staying.

“I go and watch every home game and go to away games sometimes as well.

“One memory that stand out are watching Pontypool play Tonga when they were raising money for Pontypool to survive. Another is a cup game against Swansea – that was a great crowd and a great atmosphere.

“I have so many good memories of watching them play at Pontypool Park, I’m chuffed they are staying.”


Pontypool in action against the Australians in 1984. Pooler lost 24-18.

Pontypool residents Mr and Mrs Heaven go to home games when they can.

Mr Heaven said: “I would think they should stay there, they have been there for years.

“The ground definitely needs an upgrade. I think it’s a good thing to put a fence around the ground to stop the vandalism and to stop people walking there dogs across the pitch.”

“It’s part of their heritage,” added Mrs Heaven.

“It’s definitely a good thing they are staying in the town. It brings the town and the community together.

“There are still enough areas down there that you don’t need to walk on the pitch. It’s not nice when people leave dog mess on the pitch.”

Kenneth Jones, 77, from Pontypool, said he was relieved the team would be staying put, as he thought they might have had to move away.

He said: “It’s great news. I thought they might not be staying.

“When I read it in the paper I was chuffed to bits.

“It’s a good thing to get the fence there for safety.”


Pooler versus the All Blacks at Pontypool Park.

Pontypool resident Andy Merchant was pleased with the news that the club would be staying put.

“It’s very good news,” he said.

“The park still has plenty to offer. I enjoy going to watch games down there – I go to most home games.”

Mike Davies, 70, said that he was pleased the team would be staying at their historic home.

He said: “It’s nice for the team to stay in Pontypool. We have got a lot of history there.

“The park is a nice place for people to walk and it’s safe for children. I used to go to walk in the park all the time with my dog - there’s still plenty of space for people to do so with the ground fenced off.”

However, there was some concern over whether the council would be helping the club with the cost of the fencing.

Mr E.C Thomas, a 93-year-old Pontypool resident, said: “I’d have no complaints if the club pay for the fencing themselves.

“But I would object if the council are spending money on fencing at the park when the pavements in the town need attention.

“It’s so easy for people to trip up on the pavements.”

The breakthrough in talks came after the 1920s covenant has now been amended to give the local authority flexibility on how the rugby grounds area of the park is managed moving forward.


Ben Jeffreys (R) and Anthony Hunt (L) at Pontypool RFC ground in Pontypool Park. www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk

Pontypool RFC chief executive officer Ben Jeffreys said: “This is a significant moment in Pontypool RFC’s storied history and is one that should offer hope and positivity to the thousands of supporters who have called Pontypool Park their sporting home for the last seventy-three years.

“I am very confident that we will be able to turn Pontypool Park into a modern and vibrant sporting venue that will deliver a much-improved experience for the community.”

Pontypool RFC, which is bankrolled by owner and chairman Peter Jeffreys, will shortly be submitting a planning application, which will include new fencing that seeks to enclose the pitch, the main spectator stand and the northern terrace.

This will include details of additional tree planting and a soft landscaping plan, which will help soften the visual impact of the new fence.

Details of wider upgrades to the main spectator stand, such as new cladding and new seating throughout will also be provided.


Pooler fans at Pontypool Park.

A consultation with the community, park users and stakeholders on the ‘Playing Field Regulations’ has been launched over the plan today.

Following the consultation, the council will make a decision on the club’s application.

Both the club and the council wished to express their “sincerest gratitude” to the vendors of the 1920s covenant for their support in facilitating the amendment.

The rest of Pontypool Park will continue to be managed under the existing terms of the covenant, which requires all areas to remain accessible to the public.

The club aims to resolve the legal issues surrounding the proposed upgrades to the ground by June 2019.