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£2.1m Mumbles sports ground revamp finally gets under way

04 Jan 2022 4 minute read
The rugby pitch at Underhill Park, Mumbles – the park is getting a £2.1m upgrade (pic by Richard Youle).

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

A £2.1 million revamp of the main recreation ground in Mumbles, which has been years in the making, will finally get under way this month.

The dozens of sports teams which use Underhill Park, off Newton Road, will benefit from a refurbished pavilion and new changing rooms. There will also be a new cafe and community hub, and public toilets.

Mumbles Community Association (MCA) – the group spearheading the project – has appointed TAD Builders Ltd, of Llanelli, to do the work.

The construction cost, though, has risen from an original budget of just under £1.6 million a year-and-a-half ago to £2.1 million. It means the scope of the work has been scaled back slightly for now.

Mumbles Community Council, which is to sub-lease Underhill Park to MCA, is underwriting much of the cost.

Simon Tse, the chairman of MCA, said everyone involved in the project, called Go Underhill, had “a huge mix of emotions” at the moment.

He said: “We are ecstatic that we’ve been able to let the construction contract, even though this is not as comprehensive as we had hoped for. We are relieved that we are finally going to see the first part of the plans delivered, grateful to all our funders but in particular to Mumbles Community Council, and so excited for the people of Mumbles.”

How the new-look changing rooms, pavilion and cafe, plus a new all-weather pitch at the rear, will look (pic courtesy of Mumbles Community Assoication).

The plan from the outset was to have six changing rooms. Due to the rise in cost, four will be built and the base put in place for the other two, pending MCA securing an extra £200,000 to pay for them.

The final element of the project is a floodlit, all-weather pitch, but there is a separate budget for this.

Mr Tse said MCA’s trustees would now focus on securing the money needed for the two changing rooms and all-weather pitch.

He added: “The efforts made to get to this point have been incredible and I can’t thank everyone who has been involved enough. This development truly will be by the community, for everyone.”

The existing pavilion at Underhill Park, Mumbles (pic by Richard Youle).

Mumbles Community Council has announced it will cover a £365,000 shortfall in costs, on top of a previously agreed sum of £875,000. Funding has also come from the National Lottery, the Welsh Government and the Welsh Rugby Union.

Community council chairman Dr Martin O’Neill said: “As local residents with a long enough memory will recall this project has been some 20 years in gestation, and the fact that we have finally got there is testament to the incredible work put in by all those involved.

“The increase to the final build cost precipitated by factors outside of our control and which no one could have foreseen was the final hurdle on this long journey, but with commitment and co-operation we managed to address this issue.”

The council’s vice-chairman Will Thomas said: “It is fantastic to see the last piece of the puzzle put in.”

Work is due to start on January 17 and take a year to complete. The hope is that funding will be in place at that point for the all-weather pitch.

TAD Builders’ commercial director Delwyn Jones said: “TAD Builders Ltd are delighted to be a part of this community project, and able to assist Mumbles Community Association to achieve their vision by transforming the green heart of Mumbles so it is fit for the future.”

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