PLANS to upgrade Jenner Park are in motion, with the council launching a feasibility study into the possibility of bringing a £350,000 artificial pitch to Barry.

An artificial 3G surface would allow the pitch to be used more frequently for more sports generating income and providing more sporting opportunities for the town, according to a report put before the Vale council.

In the report Councillor Gwyn John, cabinet member for sports development, says: "One of the ways of increasing the use of the stadium and providing a much larger playing window is to change from grass to a synthetic playing surface.

“Research indicates that grass pitches which have been converted to a synthetic surface provide greater opportunities for consistent use and can be accessed in all weathers.

"The income generated by these facilities at other locations is proven to offset initial capital costs as well as long-term maintenance.”

Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson, who has also called for the council's Court Road Depot to be used for additional sporting facilities rather than new housing as is currently planned, has welcomed the proposals.

"Developing and maintaining high quality sporting facilities for Barry is important for both spectator and participant sports in Barry<" he said.

“Having played on Jenner Park many times as a youngster, everybody in Barry should be given the opportunity to play in the best possible stadium.

“Plans for a 3G pitch would make Jenner Park open to far greater numbers of users, from different sports.

“However, we must do our best to make sure that nobody, or no sport, loses out, because of improvements for another group.

“Far too often, though, the council policy in the Vale has been very short-sighted, but this is an opportunity for us to show some ambition and genuinely make our facilities world-class.

“To do this, we also need to consider the council-owned Court Road Depot that is currently earmarked for housing. Extra space for community sports would allow even greater development and create more opportunities for young people in Barry to play sport and keep fit."

Councillor Johnson has also expressed concerns about delays in bringing the stadium clubhouse back into use, saying that the council was missing out on rent and business rates since it was left empty at the end of last summer.

“The Council consistently tell us that cuts need to be made but are not effectively managing their own properties," he said.

“The clubhouse buildings at Jenner Park have been lying empty for the best part of a year, and in that time the council has not been receiving the rents or rates that you would expect.

“A vibrant and viable clubhouse at Jenner Park is important to the whole feel of the ground, and I hope that it can be quickly brought back into use."