0 £660k school sports ground nears finish line - five months late

Caldicot SchoolSports grounds in Caldicot that will have cost £660,000 will finally be completed next month - five months late.

Based at Caldicot School, they were initially meant to cost £440,000 but will end up costing Monmouthshire council more than £200,000 more than that.

The budget for the pitches was increased by the authority last year by £55,000 and they were originally meant to be completed last October.

Work was originally going to start in 2012 but unchartered sewer and water pipes were found under the pitch site. Work to divert them was funded with a further £300,000 from Monmouthshire council in May 2013.

The pitches are regarded as a regional facility for all schools in south Monmouthshire and make up part of the town's regeneration project.

Work to build them was further delayed when unstable ground was found under 95 per cent of where the pitches have been built.

In an effort to make back some of the money spent on the pitches, the authority will look to make back £30,000 next year through charging.

Councillor John Marshall, who represents Green Lane on Monmouthshire council, said: "As a local member, the sooner it happens the better but I can understand the position of the authority.

"It has been dragging on for quite a while now. As members we want things to happen as soon as possible but you are coming into very, very difficult times with the authority and they are going to have to cut their budget."

But the secretary and captain at Magor Rugby Club said he was keen to use the facility if prices were within the club's budget.

Patrick Whitehouse said: "I think there is almost certainly a call for it with the weather. If we could use it, we would."

But Mill Councillor Frances Taylor said the council showed it had "no understanding" of the "long-standing" need for community facilities in Magor and Undy when it drafted £35,000 originally meant for those areas into the project last year.

A Monmouthshire council spokesman said: "The contract for Caldicot's 3G pitch is nearing completion and works are likely to be completed by early February 2015. The original date of late October was rescheduled due to problems with ground conditions."

Read the Free Press article here.

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