THE proposal to bring an artificial 3G pitch to Barry's Jenner Park has met opposition from a local athletics club.
Barry and Vale Harriers Athletic Club have spelled out their anger at the proposal and the seemingly universal praise it has garnered ahead of a consultation phase launch by the Vale council.
Last week Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson gave his backing to the plans for a 3G pitch and said they would benefit a greater number of users from different sports. Councillor Gwyn John, cabinet member for sports development, also said that a synthetic surface would allow for greater use and make it accessible in all weathers.
The plans would see a £350,000 artificial pitch installed at Jenner Park, something that the council have said will enable more sporting opportunities at the ground.
However, in a joint statement from members of their committee, the athletics club have said that this is not the case and have explained that they will be opposing the proposal when the consultation begins.
The club say that they were only informed of the proposal three days before it went before the Vale council cabinet last week and that they will now have to wait until after Wednesday, June 25, to meet with cabinet member for leisure, parks, culture and sport development Gwyn John.
The club states: "If a 3G pitch was to go ahead at Jenner Park, we would lose our track and field facilities.
"Children would not be allowed on the field for throwing events and we would lose at least two lanes for drainage.
"The Vale council has stated that should it go ahead this facility would 'be for all' - we do not see how that can happen.
"If your child plays football there would only be three days of the week available for training. Barry Town and Rhoose FC would use weekends and we currently hold a licence for two days.
"Special shoes would need to be bought for your children to use the pitch for football training, an added expense for parents, and in order to cover the costs at Jenner Park we suspect payment to use a 3G pitch would be higher than the all-weather pitches already located at the sports centre and at Bryn Hafren Girls School.
"The primary and secondary schools within the community would also lose their sports days and athletics facilities, as would the cycling group and disability group."
Continuing, the Harriers point out that for years the club has sought to find funding from the council to improve their facilities, in light of a report in 2010 where the Welsh Athletic Association deemed the track unfit for purpose.
"We have been told time and again there was either no or very little money to do this," the statement reads.
"Yet they can now find £10K to fund a consultation and feasibility study. And we would also ask where the £360,000 plus to build a 3G pitch would come from, again bearing in mind we have been asking for a new track for many years and been told there is no money."
Cllr Gwyn John, cabinet member for sport, said: “The Vale of Glamorgan Council is keen to work with all users of Jenner Park, including the athletics community, to establish a top quality sports facility for the Vale.
"The feasibility study will consider the potential benefits to all current and potential users of Jenner Park and so the views of the athletics club will weigh heavily in the decision making process.
"The council has invited representatives of the club to meet to discuss the issue and to tour Jenner Park together so that the needs of the local athletics community can shape the future of Jenner Park.”