Llandeilo volunteers aim to keep sports facilities open on closed Tregib campus
See the Carmarthenshire Herald, August 26 2016, p.8. New comment after the text.
A group of community-minded sports enthusiasts in Llandeilo hope they are just days away from acquiring the sports field, all-weather playing surface, sports hall, gym and changing rooms on the closed Tregib school campus, on a four-year lease from owners Carmarthenshire County Council.
The replacement Bro Dinefwr campus at Love Lodge Farm currently has fewer sports amenities – no hard running track or floodlights at the artificial-surfaced pitch — and the field and sports hall will not at present be available to sports clubs or the public.
When the lease is agreed, a new not-for-profit company, Tregib Sports Facilities Ltd, will take over responsibility for running the sports venues at the old school.
“Discussions are being finalised on a four year lease of the playing facilities, gymnasium and changing rooms to Tregib Sports Facilities Ltd. The council will be undertaking works to isolate the utilities and services from the remainder of the former school site to allow the community to continue to use the facilities via the new arrangements,” said a county council statement.
The changes have been complicated to make, because utilities for the leased lights and buildings, like electricity and water, have to be separated from the services supplied to the empty school.
Nick Weed, a director of the new company alongside Roderick Davies and Llandeilo’s county councillor Edward Thomas, and chair of Clwb Peldroed Teigrod Teilo Football Club, said that the town’s football, hockey, rugby, cricket and gymnastics clubs, among other groups, faced the sudden loss of the pitches and hall they used for training or matches or both.
“Many key people in local sports organisations are working very hard to achieve a seamless transfer of the facilities from the school to the community,” said Mr Weed.
“We hope that the lease will be agreed in time for clubs to start training in September, and we aim to keep hire fees the same” said Mr Weed. “A four-year lease will give us a breathing space. The county council still has to decide what to do with the Tregib site, and so a longer lease is not possible at present.”
The county council says that there are currently no plans to install a hard running track at Bro Dinefwr. There is a 3G synthetic pitch, not floodlit, and a multi-use games area, which is floodlit.
“It is for the school’s governing body to decide what sports facilities will be made available for community use and as far as we are aware nothing has been decided as yet,” said the council’s statement.
The decision to select a 3G pitch, which has a pile to resemble grass, instead of traditional AstroTurf is potentially problematic because 3G is much better suited to rugby and football than to hockey, which requires a smoother surface.
As Matthew Paul wrote in The Herald last week (August 26, p.16), musing that Sir Steve Redgrave’s old school at Great Marlow has its own boat club, “Ysgol Bro Dinefwr would be well placed to copy this innovation, as it is frequently possible, if you move the sandbags, to row straight out of the classroom”. Just a hint of exaggeration, maybe, but aquatic sports would compensate a little for the way in which pupils have been sold down the river in other sporting respects. The old Tregib School had a swimming pool! All right, it has been removed, but why not include one at the still-shiny new school? Maybe pumping out the water would have been a repetitive and costly task on the low-lying flood plain.
Now the hockey players. GB won the women’s hockey at the Olympics, and Bro Dinefwr reached the final of the Wales under-16 tournament this year, to lose narrowly in a penalty shoot-out. I understand that the new synthetic 3G pitch at Bro Dinefwr is fine for rugby and football, but useless for hockey because the pile is too long. I looked it up, and there does not appear to be a 3G pitch which serves for all three sports.
Practice after school? Not in winter, because there are no floodlights at the pitch.
The athletes are badly served, too. Tregib has a proper running track, but there isn’t one at Bro Dinefwr. I think there is a plan to mark out lanes on grass. Wellington boots are likely to become part of the PE kit.
OK, Bro Dinefwr is not five-star when it comes to sporting facilities, but surely community clubs will have access to them? No, apparently not.
So a big round of applause for the volunteers who have formed the not-for-profit Tregib Sports Facilities Ltd. If they had not stepped forward to take over, on a four-year lease, the all-weather pitch, gym, sports hall and field, and the changing rooms, on the now-empty Tregib site, sport in Llandeilo would have taken a giant step backwards.
Once the lease is signed, there will be four years to sort out what happens next.