Community takeover bid for Wrexham playing field

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

A GROUP of sports enthusiasts are looking at the possibility of taking over the council-run playing field in Coedpoeth.

About 40 people attended a public meeting in the community council offices to discuss details of the plan.

And an official of Coedpoeth United Football Club believes it might be better if there were a community takeover of the Penygelli sports field, claiming it is not currently being well maintained and is unplayable for much of the season.

Wrexham Council is currently consulting all community councils about the possible leasing of council-owned pitches to groups which use them.

In Coedpoeth, the community council owns a quarter of the field and the changing-rooms and would need to sign these over to Wrexham Council, which owns the rest, before any leasing arrangement could go ahead.

Community council member Carole Edwards said: “We have answered ‘yes’ to all the questions asked about a leasing arrangement and are now waiting for them to get back to us.”

Mark Hughes is treasurer of United, which has nine senior and two junior teams relying on the field as their home ground.

He said: “Because of poor drainage and inadequate maintenance, the field is often waterlogged, which means our teams can’t play on it for about four months of the season.

“They have to play their home games at Broughton or Brynteg.

“About 18 months ago we came up with a business plan for Coedpoeth Sports Association to take it over and run it, but the council, without giving any real reason, wouldn’t agree it because they said the plan was unsustainable.

“Now we hear the council would be willing to lease the ground to us, so we have decided to tweak our original business plan and think about having another go.

“If possible we would also take over the changing rooms and put in a tearoom.

“We could then allow the field to be used not just by football clubs but other sports such as rugby.”

He added: “Before we do anything, we need to know the cost of maintaining the ground.

“We estimate it could be about £8,000-£9,000 a year on top of the leasing costs and things like insurance if we also take over the changing rooms. We held the meeting because we had come to the point where we needed to get together and decide what should be done.”

John Bradbury, Wrexham’s chief environment officer, said: “Wrexham Council is fully aware of the problems on the site and has undertaken regular maintenance works to help improve the drainage.

“Staff regularly ‘verti drain’ and spike the pitches to improve drainage and further works will be carried out once the pitches dry out, including sanding the pitches to help improve the drainage.

“Wrexham Council is currently consulting all community councils on their views about the leasing of council owned pitches.”

See full story in the Leader

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