04 June 2020 / Club News

Club Update – RE: Proposed Trinity Fields School Expansion

Back in late November 2019, club officers were called to a meeting with the council and were notified of plans to expand the Trinity Fields school adjacent to the clubhouse.

The need for expansion was explained in the context of increasing demand for the specialist services the school provides and the desire to allow school users to have a consistent educational journey at one site – whilst other options were considered (including building from scratch on a new site), after taking into account economics, pupil wellbeing and outcomes -  it was made clear that the recommended option was extending the existing school premises by building on and taking in entirety the clubs main pitch (Trinity 1).

At that point the project was very much in its early stages and still subject to formal planning approval as well as a Welsh Government consultation process. The formal planning approval was not due to be sought until later in 2020. But we were advised to assume that the pitch would not be available beyond the end of the 19/20 season (i.e. May 20).

As you are no doubt aware – the hardwork over the years by so many continues to pay dividends and the club continues to go from strength to strength. From humble beginnings we have grown into one of the largest player bases in Wales (c450 senior and junior players) providing rugby to the local community from 3 years of age via the Mini Miners and all age groups through to our senior section.

In line with this growth - the clubs main focus/headache in recent seasons has been on increasing access to pitches/training venues. At present, in a typical season, across the club we play over 50% of our games (c60 fixtures) on Trinity 1. With that statistic in mind – the prospect of losing the pitch is a massive blow and is made all the more poignant with us recently passing the 10 year anniversary of losing our old Senior and M&J pitches to the police station and hospital developments respectively.

Club representatives have met with the council twice since the initial meeting where we discussed the potential impacts on the club and the potential solutions to help mitigate those impacts.

The councils initial proposal was to use the pitch at Sue Noakes Leisure Centre as our main pitch. However, given the distance of the pitch from the clubhouse and the issues this would cause with players/spectators not returning to the clubhouse, lost revenue etc - this option was clearly not viable.

The current option being explored is for the club to adopt Trinity 2 (current back pitch) as our main pitch and the very back pitch (the old college pitch over the bund) will be brought up to standard to act as a second pitch, in theory leaving us with two pitches at Trinity Fields and the Sue Noakes pitch as a third pitch if required as a last resort.


Current Concerns

As a club our concerns with the current proposal at this stage are as follows:

1 – Drainage

As most will be aware – Trinity 2 currently spends much of its time under water due to the ongoing drainage issues associated with the area that also affects the YMCSE and houses near the Coopers Arms pub. Our main concern is that unless this is resolved this pitch will be unusable for large periods of the season.

Current state of play: The council have instructed a study on all three pitches to see if the drainage can be improved. This study will hopefully be completed in the next month or two.

2 – Pitch Dimensions

The current Trinity 2 pitch is considerably smaller than the main field and would need to be expanded in order for it to be like for like – both in terms of playing dimensions as well as having a barrier, pitchside tarmac path and high ball fence (given the proximity to the woods and new school).

Current state of play: We have provided drawings showing the area of land that we would need in order to ensure a like for like replacement of Trinity 1. The council have commissioned a topographic survey of all three pitches accordingly.

3 – Access to and dimensions of the proposed Trinity 3 pitch

At present the access to the back field is poor and often subject to flooding. The ability of emergency vehicles to gain access to the pitch would need to be ensured.

Given the land available - the dimensions of the pitch would also be smaller than the current second pitch (Trinity 2).

Current state of play: We have made this requirement clear and the topographic survey mentioned above will help progress this.


Next Steps

In terms of next steps,  exploratory works for the school which will involve, amongst other things, bore holes being  sunk in the main pitch and surrounding area to aid with planning, have been brought forward with the Club’s agreement  The Club requested that the ground investigation works be fully complete and the pitch available to use from the start of the season (1st Saturday in Sept) and the council has committed to  use best endeavours to achieve this.

The Covid pandemic has obviously shed some uncertainty on the whole situation and it is likely that the timescales for this proposed development may be pushed back. It is worth noting again that the proposed extension to the school is still subject to planning permission and a full consultation in line with Welsh Government legislation.  At this stage it is still unclear when a formal planning application will be submitted. Although if planning is sought and approved, we will likely lose the pitch from May 2021 (end of next season) as work begins on construction.

In terms of the clubs position – we continue to work with the council who have committed to help mitigate the impact of the potential loss of a pitch within the confines of what is available. On that basis, we are confident that our concerns will be listened to and acted upon in terms of the facilities we are left with.

We will keep club members and supporters updated with any developments at the appropriate time. We appreciate that this will be seen by some as a worrying development, so in the interim, if you have any specific questions then please contact Club Secretary Wayne Jones (07854 055780) or Club Treasurer Scott Lowe (07811 982169).

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