A bitter row has broken out between the council and residents over plans to create a new playing field at Sue Noake Leisure Centre in Ystrad Mynach.
The new pitch will replace one that looks set to be lost at Penallta RFC when the council expands nearby Trinity Fields School, which is for pupils with additional learning needs.
The school expansion plans have not yet been given the go-ahead, but look likely to be passed after they were backed by the council’s education scrutiny committee last year. It would boost the number of places at the school by 80.
Residents, already angry at the potential loss of the pitch, are unhappy because of a long-standing problem with leaking sewage from a manhole at the site of the planned pitch at Sue Noake.
Ystrad Mynach resident Phil Morris told Caerphilly Observer the site usually floods after a storm, often spilling sewage.
Mr Morris said: “It’s a high risk flood plain. There are concerns the sewage could spread onto the pitch.”
Residents have vented their frustrations on social media – which led to the council publishing a “Setting the Record Straight” article on its website trying to calm fears, claiming it had a record of just two instances of spilled sewage in a ten-year period – something disputed by Mr Morris and other members of the community.
The council, in its article, said Welsh Water, which has responsibility for drainage, is working to fix the issue, which it believes is caused by a build-up of silt.
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In a statement to Caerphilly Observer, Penallta Rugby Club said: “We are aware of the strength of feeling regarding the effects that the school extension will have on the local community and our rugby club.
“We are meeting with the council later to discuss all issues and will provide a public statement thereafter.”
In a statement on the council’s website, Cllr Ross Whiting, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “The council is working directly with Penallta RFC to agree the optimum configuration of the two pitches and are also developing options to safeguard against future breaches, even though there have only been two such recorded incidents in the last decade.”
He added: “Any works required will be undertaken to fully address any such issues before any plans are progressed at the site.”
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