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Mumbles Community Council to consider underwriting Underhill Park upgrade with £1.2m contribution

COMMUNITY councillors in Mumbles are to consider contributing £1.2 million to a long-awaited park project.

They will debate a motion which its supporters say will guarantee the delivery of four new changing rooms, public toilets, medical room, referees’ changing room and an all-weather pitch at Underhill Park.

The project is being taken forward by a local organisation, Mumbles Community Association (MCA).

The association has planning permission for these facilities, as well as for a community space with a cafe and a second block of changing rooms.

But, despite some grant funding, the project is stalling.

Community council vice-chairman Will Thomas, who has put forward the motion with two colleagues, said he feared the Underhill Park upgrade might not go ahead unless action was taken.

“This is a shovel-ready project that will transform our community – it is time for Mumbles Community Council to step up to the plate,” he said.

The proposal is to underwrite the project up to £1.2 million over three years, and also plug any future maintenance deficit of up to £15,000 per year for three years.

The £1.2 million would comprise a low-interest loan of £840,000, plus £200,000 already set aside by the community council and a further £160,000 in reallocated funds – and it would come with conditions.

The funding proposal said loan repayment costs should not exceed £89,250 per year over 10 years and that they could be incorporated into the existing community council precept without a budget increase.

It also calls for an immediate grant of £40,000 to MCA to enable it to go out to tender for the work.

The motion will be debated at a remote community council meeting on May 27.

MCA trustee David Wilson said it was applying for various grants and had been offered £25,000 by the Welsh Rugby Union, among other contributions.

But he said the financial backing proposed in the motion would be a “game-changer”.

He said: “If it’s approved, it would be a major breakthrough for us.”

Longer term, the MCA, which is to lease Underhill from Swansea Council for 125 years, wants to build a larger community building with a gym on the other side of the park.

Martin O’Neill, the community council’s new chairman, said: “This project is something that has been discussed and desperately needed for a long time and many on the community council want to make sure that it plays a central role in ensuring that it is delivered.”

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