GRASS has recovered under rainy skies this summer after a particularly dry May and June, so a swathe of brown on playing fields in Sketty seems somewhat baffling.
The land encompasses two Swansea University sports pitches and change is afoot. Work on a new all-weather pitch, replacing the rugby pitch by the athletics track is due to get under way shortly. The pitch alongside, nearer Mumbles Road, will be resurfaced and improved. The grass on both pitches has been treated to stop new growth ahead of the work.
The university secured planning permission for the full-sized all-weather pitch, new floodlights, and fencing in June and said it will meet World Rugby and Football Association of Wales training and competition requirements.
The pitches, off Sketty Lane, are part of Swansea Bay Sports Park, which the university wants to expand. A new sports and medical technology building is proposed there as one of several projects being taken forward under the umbrella of the city deal of the Swansea Bay City Region.
Ben Lucas, associate director of commercial services at the university, said: “The imminent development of our outdoor sports provision at Swansea Bay Sports Park, including an elite specification 3G artificial pitch, additional floodlighting, and enhanced grass playing surfaces are part of a bigger, long-term vision to develop this site into a world-class destination for sport and physical activity.
“The new developments will improve both the quality and capacity of facilities meaning we can support additional university, community, and performance sport activity throughout the year.”
The sports park is also home to the Wales National Pool, hockey pitches, a sports hall, and gym.
One planning condition is that the all-weather pitch floodlights can’t be on after 9.15pm in the spring and summer or after 10.15pm in the autumn and winter in the interest and protection of bats. The grass pitch will have floodlights on one side. Council planning officers said the pitches would become “more formalised” via the fencing but also said they would be available for non-university groups.
The university has received significant funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales for the project.