A 3D image of a proposed spectator stand i
A 3D image of a proposed spectator stand included in plans for a 3G pitch at Abersychan School. Credit: Torfaen County Borough Council planning file

Story by Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

STANDS for spectators are included in plans for a new 3G sports pitch at a Torfaen secondary school. 

The borough council agreed to fund a replacement artificial football and rugby pitch for Abersychan Comphensive in June last year with a budget of £2.65 million.  

Plans have now been submitted, by the council, to its planning department which show the pitch will also include spectator stands, dugouts, fencing and goal storage areas as well as floodlighting for the pitch and existing tennis/netball courts. 

When the council approved using £2.3 million from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund and a further £350,000 from its own Community Focused Schools programme for the project it was hoped the tennis/netball courts could be replaced and new changing rooms also added if it could be achieved within the budget. 

The pitch, which will have an overall footprint of 114 metres x 69m to meet national governing body regulations, will replace an existing grass pitch which a statement, submitted with the planning application, describes as “in effect redundant due to poor drainage”. 

It will be on plateau at a level dictated by new drainage requirements and will also cover a larger area than the existing pitch. 

The pitch and courts will be used from 9am to 10pm, seven days a week, and a curfew will control the use of the dimmable floodlights which can provide a lower level of illumination for training and higher levels if required for competitive fixtures. The facilities will be run by the school and the borough council. 

It will also be surrounded by steel-mesh fencing up to eight metres high on the side of the pitch next to residential housing, and where existing trees allow, to minimise the risk of balls landing in neigbouring gardens. 

No details on the number of spectator seats to be provided are included but an image showing a small stand has been produced and according to the planning statement there will be little change to the appearance of the area “apart from the inclusion of the spectator stands”. 

There are around 70 spaces in the school’s existing car park which will also serve the pitch and isn’t expected to be in use when the pitch is hired out to community teams. 

A pre-application consultation found residents of Ffrwd Road and nearby streets had concerns over excessive traffic and inadequate parking.