Ambitious plans to build a £6million sports centre of excellence at Ystrad Mynach have been unveiled by the council.
The centre, to be constructed on the site of the old Ystrad Mynach Hospital, will have state-of-the-art all-weather rugby and football pitches, grandstands and floodlights as well as parking for 200 cars. There will also be a gym, changing rooms, sports classrooms and conferencing facilities.
It is hoped the new centre, which the council wants open by 2013, will be used by local sports teams, Ystrad Mynach College and professional sports organisations.
The ambitious proposals by Caerphilly County Borough Council have the backing of the WRU, Newport Gwent Dragon, Cardiff City FC, the Welsh Football Trust.
All of the organisations involved plan to use the centre as a means to reach out and engage with the community through various initiatives.
Speaking at a press conference about the plans on Monday, council leader Allan Pritchard said: “This proposal is right in the heart of the Valleys. I can say openly that quite often you see things go to the M4 corridor.
“This is going to where the supply is – the supply is in the Valleys. If you look at the history of soccer and rugby, the majority of the people who go to the top come from the Valleys area.”
Roger Lewis, chief executive of the WRU, said: “We congratulate and compliment Caerphilly County Borough Council for their ambition and vision with this project.
“It’s particularly timely and catches the Zeitgeist of today, and that is about working together. It’s a pleasure for the Welsh Rugby Union to be sitting alongside our colleagues from Cardiff City and the FAW as well.
“In these changing times, we’ve got to be working together, and we’ve got to be working together for the greater good. This project is an exemplar for how we can work together.”
Most of the funding for the project over the next two years has already been set aside by the council and includes £2.3m the authority got through a Section 106 agreement when Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr was built.
All that remains is a funding gap of £900,000.
Asked where the shortfall was coming from, Cllr Pritchard said the authority, backed by its partners, would be lobbying the Welsh Government for funding.
Despite the WRU not financially backing the project, Mr Lewis gave a commitment for his organisation to also lobby Cardiff Bay for the money.
He added: “What we can bring to Caerphilly is expertise and resources. In addition to that, we can bring some further leverage to unlock money for the project. I will work with Caerphilly to lobby the Welsh Government.”
Next year’s council budget, which includes funding for the sports complex, will be submitted for approval to full council on February 23 2012.