A 99-YEAR lease of the pitch and grandstand in Pontypool Park to long-time tenants Pontypool RFC has been recommended for approval.

The ground has hosted Pooler players and supporters since 1945, but last year the club threatened to leave amid growing antisocial behaviour concerns.

Plans to fence off the ground had also been prevented by a covenant, but permission was secured by Torfaen council to change its conditions to allow the club to secure its facilities.

Successful talks between the club and council led to the community, park users and stakeholders being consulted on the proposed changes.


Pontypool RFC are set to stay at Pontypool Park after making "significant progress" in talks with Torfaen County Borough Council to fence off vandalism-hit ground

A total of 124 responses were received, with 106 fully supporting proposals to grant Pontypool RFC exclusive possession of the ground through a lease.

One consultee said the move would protect a “beacon to the community” from vandalism, while others said the club’s decision to stay at its historic home would boost Pontypool’s economy.

“What a joy for the people of Pontypool to have such a famous landmark and to have it enhanced and protected,” added another supporter.

Some taking part in the consultation, which ran from January through to March, raised concerns about the loss of the pitch to community groups and organisations.

Pontypool RFC says it fully intends to allow the ground to be used by Pont-y-Pwl and District Runners, Torfaen Smallbore Rifle Club and the Cancer Research Relay for Life.

But the public will no longer have free access into the rugby field outside of match days once the fences are installed.


Pontypool RFC's hopes of staying at its famous Pontypool Park ground have been given a huge boost

Another objector said the existing iron railings were “part and parcel” of the park’s history and replacing them with a fence would be “regrettable”.

Planning permission has already been granted for a 2.4-metre fence enclosing the grandstand, pitch and terrace.

The final terms of the lease are expected to be finalised within 12 weeks of Torfaen council’s cabinet approving the disposal of the land on May 14.