A sports club has submitted plans to move to a new home to support the development of its athletes.
Rhymney Valley Athletics Club has supported hundreds of athletes from its current base at Blackwood Comprehensive School since 2014.
But the construction of an all-weather 3G pitch, due to be completed in the spring, means the site is no longer suitable for the amateur club’s training facilities.
The club has 220 athletes between the ages of six and 18 who are trained by 35 volunteer coaches and further supported by ten unpaid administrators and officials.
A planning application has now been lodged with Caerphilly council to create what is believed to be the first skills, strength and condition centre in the county borough.
“We aim to be recognised as the leading community athletics club in the region providing a high-quality coaching experience from grass roots to elite level,” a statement from the club reads.
“While the club aspires to develop full track and field facilities in the longer term, it has immediate needs for a permanent base to facilitate technical skills in jumps and throws.
“[The club] will bring these together with strength and conditioning facilities to complement its use of other facilities in the Blackwood area for running and summer competition.”
The proposed centre would be established on Newbridge Road Industrial Estate in Pontllanfraith. It would mainly open during evenings and weekends, though school groups could be allowed to use the facility during daytime.
Running lanes with training surfaces for track spikes, long jump and high jump training spaces, throwing circles and a strength and condition area are planned.
Parents would be able to watch their children train from a new mezzanine floor complete with a counter area serving cold snacks, teas and coffees.
Access for athletes and visitors with mobility impairments will be provided at ground floor level.
Rhymney Valley Athletics Club say its proposals support the authority’s sports and active recreation strategy, which was passed in November.
The club’s statement continues: “The authority’s future role will be less about directly delivering services and more about enabling the many other organisations who already provide excellent opportunities across our communities.”
The strategy’s plans to rationalise the borough’s leisure centres, leaving several facilities facing potential closure, has proved controversial amongst many residents, councillors and politicians.