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. Last week we learned how the Club developed a successful 3G bid to the FAW which hung on a deal to sell Tai Ceredigion the astroturf area for a building development.
Club Chairman Tony Bates takes us through the next stage of the process:
"A big hurdle for the development appeared when the application to the Local Authority Planning Department for access via our Car Park was rejected. After a site meeting we decided to look at providing access via the other side of the ground, adjacent to the Police Station, and although this brought some extra work, it was agreed, and we ceded a small strip of land necessary for that access road. At this point the Local Authority Planning Officers recommended refusal of the project, but at a meeting in April 2015 the Planning Committee approved it pending amendments to the Access Route and we received planning permission.
The funding for Tai Ceredigion's Social Housing development was also an important factor. They received a grant from Aberystwyth's Development Fund and a crucial extra grant from the Welsh Office in March 2016.
On February 23rd 2016 Ceredigion County Council finally agreed to sell the Astroturf area to Tai Ceredigion, which made the last piece in the jigsaw, the final tranche of funding a real hair raiser. Following the approval the Council had a 10 day moritorium which meant they were unable to sign the contracts until March 4th. This date also happened to be the exact deadline for applications to the Welsh Office fund!"
On the morning of the 4th the Contracts had to be delivered to Aberystwyth from Tai Ceredigion's Office in Lampeter for signing, and it was snowing! Thankfully though the crucial papers made it through and the Contracts were finally signed off at 10.27am - a time which will be forever etched in the memory of Tony Bates who had carried out a phenomenal amount of work on the project.
Finally around lunchtime a group of Club Directors met in Harry's Bar to celebrate with a few light ales what was hopefully a momentous day in the history of Aberystwyth Town Football Club.
Aberystwyth Town Football Club hopes to put on some end of season events to bid farewell to the Park Avenue pitch, before the 3G Pitch is laid around mid May, and it should be operational in time for the start of the 2016/7 season. Note that the Housing Development construction is not expected to cause any significant disruption to the use of the 3G Facility once it has been laid.
Incidentally The Club has also applied for planning permission for a further 24 flats and complete upgrade of Club facilities, and if successful will be looking for a developer in the future.