A VITAL Amman Valley sports facility has been closed by Carmarthenshire County Council due to safety concerns – leaving hundreds of school pupils and members of local sports teams kicking their heels.

The condition of the Astro-Turf pitch located at the rear of Ammanford Leisure Centre and Ysgol Dyffryn Aman is said to have been deteriorating for some time.

First installed in 1992/3, providing essential play opportunities for local sports teams during the winter months, its overall state has prompted calls for a full replacement.

There are number of areas where the surface has been damaged and a large portion of the facility has a thick covering of moss causing players to slip when playing.

Local councillors say its plight highlights the lack of maintenance for Amman Valley facilities and now fear that its closure will have a major impact on local sports teams and pupils of Ysgol Dyffryn Aman.

“Having visited the AstroTurf and spoken with staff, I was shocked that such an important facility for the Amman Valley has been neglected in this way,” said Carmarthenshire Labour Leader Cllr Rob James.

“This AstroTurf has served the community for the last 30 years.

“However, it is clear that the council are no longer maintaining the facility and frankly, it is time that we had a full replacement.

“You can see from this closure, the lack of sports facilities in the Amman, not building new schools for Ammanford pupils and the state of Ammanford children’s park, that this area is constantly being treated as the poor relation of Carmarthenshire.”

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However, the Plaid Cymru group at County Hall maintains plans are already in place to upgrade the facility.

A spokesman said: “The existing all-weather pitch is due to be cleaned and treated over the coming days with a view to re-opening for the remaining winter months.

“It seems that Cllr Rob James is unaware of the next phase, which will be upgrading the all-weather pitch as part of the improvements planned for the outside facilities.

“Positive meetings are being held with the school, the FAW, and other funding agencies and governing bodies of sport in order to deliver this aspiration.”