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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 16 June, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development

 

Feasibility Study - Installation of Synthetic Sports Pitch, Jenner Park Stadium

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek the authority of Cabinet to undertake a feasibility study into the possible installation of a 3rd Generation (3G) synthetic sports pitch at Jenner Park Stadium, Barry. 

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet authorise the appointment of suitable consultants to undertake a detailed study to identify all costs and income opportunities relating to the construction, hire and maintenance of a 3G facility at Jenner Park, including consultation with potential stakeholders, local clubs and schools, to assess demand.

2.         That on conclusion of the study and prior to the end of this calendar year, a further report is tabled at Cabinet proposing a way forward based on the data received.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To authorise a feasibility study to consider whether a 3G synthetic sports pitch would be both appropriate and cost effective at the Jenner Park, Stadium.  

2.         To allow Cabinet to take a decision on any proposal with the benefit of all available data in time for possible construction during 2015/16.    

 

Background

2.         Jenner Park is the Council's premier sporting venue with considerable history and a prominent place within the local community and the wider Vale. Management of the entire facility now rests with the Council and consideration needs to be given to attracting wider use, to promote Jenner Park as the Vale's centre of sporting excellence.

3.         Cabinet received a report concerning the ownership issues with the clubhouse on 18th November 2013 and it was resolved:

(1)          T H A T the current position regarding the surrender of the Lease of the Club House at Jenner Park by Barry Town AFC Ltd be noted.

(2)          T H A T authority be granted to the Director of Visible Services and Housing, in consultation with the Director of Resources, Leader and the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development, to consider options for the future use of the Club House.

(3)          THAT following full consideration of the possible options referred to in recommendation 2 above, a further report be produced for Cabinet outlining recommendations for the building's future.

Reasons for decisions

(1)          To ensure that Cabinet were aware of recent events involving the lease for the Club House at Jenner Park.

(2)          To ensure that any recommendations regarding the future use of the Club House had been fully considered.

(3)          To enable Cabinet to take a decision on the future use of the property with the benefit of all relevant information.

4.         The management of the clubhouse facility will be the subject of a future report to Cabinet and the rationale for this will be explained later in this report.

5.         The current pitch is laid to grass and features an under pitch drainage and irrigation system. The pitch is able to accept a wide range of field sports including; rugby, football and athletics throwing events. The pitch reliability can however be affected by prolonged periods of wet weather, despite the drainage system, and it also suffers from damage caused by excessive use, particularly senior football matches played in quick succession when the ground surface is wet. There can be significant time periods during the winter when the pitch is unplayable due to either damage or excessive standing water.   

6.         One of the ways of increasing the use of the stadium and providing a much larger playing window is to change from grass to a synthetic playing surface.            

7.         Research indicates that grass pitches which have been converted to a synthetic   surface provide greater opportunities for consistent use and can be accessed in all weathers. The income generated by these facilities at other locations is proven to offset initial capital costs as well as long term maintenance. 

8.         Technology with such surfaces has moved on considerably since the creation of the 'astro' turf surface at Barry Sports Centre, over 15 years ago. The third generation synthetic sports pitches, or '3G' as they are commonly known, have characteristics similar to that of playing on grass and the use of 3G synthetic sports surfaces for competitive football is now endorsed by  Federation International Football Association (FIFA) and by the International Rugby Board (IRB) for competitive rugby.  

Relevant Issues and Options

9.         The Council is now in full control of the Jenner Park Stadium site and there is potential to progress development of the stadium buildings and pitch in tandem to maximise their use for a wide range of sporting and community operations in the future. As a synthetic pitch would allow many more hours of sport to be played attracting larger numbers to the venue it is suggested that any decisions on the future use of the stadium buildings be deferred until Cabinet has taken a decision on the future of the pitch. As a 'product' the stadium buildings are likely to be in much greater demand from a wider range of interested parties should the artificial pitch option be progressed, and whilst this will delay any agreement on the future of the buildings somewhat, this can only be positive for the future of sport at the stadium and its contribution towards the local community.  

10.      Initial surveys indicate that, due to size constraints, the creation of a full size rugby pitch may not be feasible, this will however be considered as part of the study. A Football Association of Wales (FAW) compliant synthetic football pitch could be built subject to discussions with FAW regarding a proposed increase in run-off dimensions. The inside track to track area has a width of 68.9m rather than the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF's) recommended 73m. This takes the proposed pitch marginally onto the athletics zone (see pitch layouts attached at Appendices Ai and Aii).  Appendix Ai shows the proposed football pitch dimensions and run off area and Appendix Aii shows the same for rugby.  The hatched areas in Aii indicate where the "run off" requirements are compromised by the existing running track.

11.      If the football pitch was to be provided with a shock pad then full contact rugby training could be offered to local clubs and schools (assuming that a full size rugby pitch was not an option). Given existing floodlighting provision this could provide an additional opportunity for income generation.

12.      In order to comply with FIFA 1* (FIFA 1* is the standard of surface for community and amateur use, and is FAW compliant) and rugby training requirements, the pitch would need to be 60mm long pile monofilament grass laid onto a specialist shockpad layer which in turn is laid onto the prepared base construction. The carpet is partially sand-filled, while the remaining pile is filled with loose rubber crumb to provide player comfort and the necessary performance characteristics for football and rugby.  The Feasibility Study would also consider the possibility of establishing a FIFA 2* surface, which is the standard recommended for the highest playing performance, including professional level football.

13.      The surface is specifically designed to replicate real turf as closely as possible and therefore to allow the players to wear studded footwear. The rubber infill allows the players to slide with less risk of burns and abrasions. The shockpad is installed specifically to moderate contact during competitive rugby.

14.      Whilst the surface would meet football and rugby training standards it would not be suitable as a hockey or multi sports surface. The surface would also not be suitable for athletics throwing events and the consultation work will involve discussions with the Barry Harriers Athletics Club to establish if these events could either be relocated to another area of the stadium or moved elsewhere.

15.      The long pile and loose infill nature of the surface requires regular maintenance to ensure playing characteristics are properly maintained. The proposed feasibility study will examine these aspects in detail, including the additional costs of any specialist machinery.  

16.      The existing pitch is level and would therefore require minimal preparatory works. There is also a comprehensive drainage system which is likely to be sufficient to serve the synthetic pitch. This will be investigated along with ground conditions, generally to inform the construction specification. A condition survey will also be carried out on the existing infrastructure i.e. floodlighting, changing rooms and access routes.

17.      Timescales for delivery will be examined as part of the proposed feasibility study. This will identify any potential construction problems, though given existing and new season bookings, the earliest possible construction date would be during the summer of 2015/16. 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

18.      A desk top estimate of pre-tender costs for a fully compliant FIFA I* football / rugby pitch is £349,600 - £358,900 excluding contingencies and VAT. Full details are given in the report attached at Appendix B. These costs are based on the optimum footprint of 106m x 70m to comply with FIFA and IRB requirements for competitive matches. There are leasing options available for this type of facility and these will be considered as part of the study, as will the potential for any grant funding to assist.

19.      If it is not possible to transfer the athletics throwing events to another venue consideration will be given to accommodating these in another area of the stadium.  However, if this is the case, the costs of doing so will have to be factored in to the feasibility study.

20.      A desk top assessment has been undertaken on possible income levels for 3G pitches and this is attached at Appendix C. Further work will be required in this area which will include assessing the need for such a facility in Barry.

21.      Maintenance costs will be fully detailed in the proposed feasibility study but examples from similar facilities indicate annual costs in the order of £4,500 for power sweeping and decompaction by specialist machinery. Weekly drag brushing is required and this would be better facilitated in-house with initial outlay required to purchase small tractor and equipment.  This is likely to cost in the region of £7,000 with on-costs.   The costs of any attendants and administration for the collecting of fees etc. will be in addition to this and these costs will be established as part of the study.

22.      Specialist consultants will be engaged to undertake the feasibility study and its is proposed that a sum of up to £10k be allocated from the Visible Services Reserve for this work.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

23.      The provision of local facilities reduces the need to travel hence reducing the carbon footprint.  Increased sporting opportunities would also help to regenerate the local community in the vicinity of the stadium.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

24.      There are no direct legal implications arising out of this report as present time.  However, should the proposal to install the new 3G facility go ahead, Legal Services and estates will be consulted as appropriate regarding the terms and conditions of hire, use, management and maintenance of the new facility.

25.      Generally, under Section 19 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, the Council has power to provide a wide range of recreational facilities and may impose such charges as it sees fit. 

Crime and Disorder Implications

26.      The provision of good community facilities will serve to reduce crime in the area and provide security for the facility.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

27.      The proposed new pitch surface could help to address a number of sporting and recreational needs for a range of sectors within the community and wider vale area.

Corporate/Service Objectives

28.      The Corporate Priority and Service aim is to: "To achieve a quality of the environment through the promotion and use of sustainable practices and by making the best use of current and future resources".

29.      The Service Objective is "To provide, manage and maintain Parks, open spaces and play areas".

Policy Framework and Budget

30.      Any decision to progress with a synthetic pitch surface option would be a matter for the Executive.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

31.      The feasibility study will include local stakeholder engagement and consultation with existing users.  Surveys will be carried out with potential user groups, local clubs and schools to ascertain likely demand and uptake for the facility. This can range from 5-a-side to full competitive league matches. Feedback will also be obtained with regard to proposed hire rates for the various sports activities proposed.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

32.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing - Tel: 02920 673 204.

 

Officers Consulted

Financial Accountant - Visible Services

Committee Reports

Estates

Operational Manager, Leisure and Tourism

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

 

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