Hopes of new ground for Caerphilly football clubs dashed following opposition from residents
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Caerphilly County Borough Council has said current plans to develop Virginia Park will not go ahead, following opposition from residents.
Two football clubs in Caerphilly want to create a new ground in Virginia Park, including stands, changing rooms and public toilets.
This would allow Caerphilly Castle Ladies and Girls Football Club and Caerphilly Athletic FC to progress as clubs.
Both teams came together to form the Virginia Park Community Group, and submitted an expression of interest in Virginia Park as the proposed location for Welsh Football League (WFL) approved facilities.
But, Virginia Park residents have opposed the plans, stating they are “dead against” the football teams’ proposals.
A spokesperson for the council has now confirmed that the plans are not going to go ahead in their current form.
In May 2022, a public meeting was held where the football teams announced their plans to submit a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) request for the field.
A CAT happens when a public sector body, such as the council, transfers the management and/or ownership of a property asset to a community council or community group.
This means the community council or group that take on the asset would be responsible for running it and maintaining it.
The council has confirmed that Virginia Park is listed as a site as part of the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) programme.
Morgan Jones ward councillor Shayne Cook has said he is backing the residents, and added: “On this occasion during the public consultation it was apparent that there was no support for a development of any kind on the site.”
Fellow local councillors Jamie Pritchard and Anne Broughton-Petit are also against the proposals.
Labour councillor Cook said: “There is no doubt that as an authority we seek to empower community groups and the CAT model is just one example of how we do that, however this has to be balanced with the needs of the entire community.”
A council spokesperson said: “Enquiries into a CAT at Virginia Park had been made by three groups prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, closing the process down in March 2020.
“An expression of interest in a CAT for Virginia Park was submitted earlier this year by a newly-formed Virginia Park Community Group – a third sector group formed by representatives from two of the three clubs that had expressed an interest previously.
“The applications have to follow due process set out by Welsh Government. Part of that is to engage with the community, on this occasion the public consultation documents differed from what was discussed with the authority and the community have not responded in favour of the development.
“We believe the CAT model can work where there is community appetite for proposals.”
A meeting is being held this week between council officers and the football teams.
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