A row has broken out between Carmarthenshire Labour and the Carmarthenshire Plaid Cymru group over an astroturf facility in Ammanford.
The Leader of Carmarthenshire labour says that the AstroTurf in Ammanford has been closed by Carmarthenshire Council over public safety concerns, impacting hundreds of pupils and members of local sports teams.
Cllr James claims that the sports facility located at the rear of Ammanford Leisure Centre and Ysgol Dyffryn Aman has been closed by Carmarthenshire Council after individuals raised concerns about its condition.
The AstroTurf was first installed in 1992/3, providing essential play opportunities for local sports teams during the winter months.
Cllr James claims that the facility has deteriorated to the stage where it is argued a full replacement is needed. he said that there are number of areas where the surface has been damaged and a large portion of the facility has a thick covering of moss causing players to slip when playing.
Local Councillors argue that the issue highlights the lack of maintenance for Amman Valley facilities and raises concerns that the closure will have a major impact on local sports teams and pupils of Ysgol Dyffryn Aman.
Cllr Rob James, Carmarthenshire Labour Leader, stated “Having visited the AstroTurf and spoken with staff, I was shocked that such an important facility for the Amman Valley has neglected in this way.
“This AstroTurf has served the community for the last 30 years. However, it is clear that the Council are no longer maintaining the facility and frankly, it is time that we had a full replacement of the AstroTurf.
“You can see from this closure of the AstroTurf, lack of sports facilities in the Amman, not building new schools for Ammanford pupils and the state of Ammanford children’s park, this area is constantly being treated as the poor relation of Carmarthenshire by this Plaid Cymru administration.
“We have written to Carmarthenshire Council to call for a full replacement of the AstroTurf with a maintenance budget attached immediately.”
Responding to the claims by Cllr James a spokesperson for the Carmarthenshire Plaid Cymru Group said:
“The existing all-weather pitch is due to be cleaned and treated over the coming days with a view to re-opening for the remaining Winter months. It seems that Cllr Rob James is unaware of the next phase, which will be upgrading the all-weather pitch as part of the improvements planned for the outside facilities. Positive meetings are being held with the school, the FAW, and other funding agencies and governing bodies of sport in order to deliver this aspiration.
“This supports the extensive development work that has been undertaken by the council’s Actif Community Sports Development team that has seen the emergence of popular new activities such as walking football, as we continue to work closely with local clubs and community groups.
“And this should be seen in an even wider context. The Plaid-led County Council has set aside capital funding to develop a site masterplan for Amman Valley Leisure Centre, building on the £20m already invested in the school itself.
“Very recently over £600k was spent on upgrading the inside of the leisure centre, including new wet-side changing facilities and air handling systems.
“It’s sad that Cllr James should jump on a temporary situation, out of apparent ignorance of the wider picture, in a desperate attempt at political gain.”
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