Aberystwyth Town's 3G project has been almost three years in the planning and has been an off the field roller coaster ride to rival the First Team's fortunes on the field over the same period. Club Chairman Tony Bates takes us through the process:
"The opportunity to lay a 3G field presented itself, via the FAW's Project 3G Programme (funded via UEFA's Hat-Trick facilities investment initiative), which was formally launched at Dragon Park, Newport on 27th June 2013.
Already in May 2013 we had started initial discussions with the University and Ysgol Gyfun Penglais about the possibility of developing an off site facility. However the Education Authority made it clear that funding for such a project would not be available, and the plans with the University also fell through. At this point we received a lot of help from Just Solutions who carried out an initial appraisal on 21st May 2013 and ultimately assisted us to frame a successful bid to the FAW.
We had always felt that selling the astroturf area for a building development might be a goer for the Club, so we then started informal discussions with Tai Ceredigion along those lines. They then came back to us with an amazing 88 flat project which would have encompassed the whole of that side of the ground, and provided us with a new Stand, dressing rooms, office space, a restaurant and a Youth Centre. This project was presented to the Board on 8th November 2013, unanimously endorsed, and subsequently presented to the Public at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Club on 19th February 2014" (please see photos right, and below).
"In reality the funding environment at that particular time made a £13M social housing project unviable for Tai Ceredigion, so the Club went back to look in earnest at its original proposal of a 33 flat development on the astroturf area.
Meanwhile the Club's bid to the FAW for the 3G Funding was approved in February 2015 and this was announced by the Club and the FAW. Incidentally this bid, which was earmarked for May-September 2015, was renewed when the initial time scale ran out.
We were also successful in accessing a grant from the Sports Council for Wales to support the project, however of course the entire project depended on clinching the deal with Tai Ceredigion which would provide our financial contribution to the project."
Aber Town's 3G Project: The Full Story will conclude later in the week