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Games off at Underhill Park in Mumbles as frogs take over flooded pitches

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

Underhill Park

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IS it a park, or is it a pond?

These pitches in Mumbles should be spawning top class rugby and football players, but are home instead to budding tadpoles.

The past few months have been so wet that nine patches of frog spawn have been found at Underhill Park, and safely relocated.

Historic drainage problems on the park — a natural basin — have compounded the problem.

Previously, ducks have been spotted merrily swimming across the pond-like venue.

While nobody can do anything about the weather, Mumbles Rugby Club and Mumbles Rangers Football Cub are urging Swansea Council to improve its maintenance of the park.

The rugby club has lost seven home matches this season which, according to chairman Martin Rodwell, means around £7,000 in lost revenue from gate, programme and bar receipts.

Volunteers spread one-and-a-half tonnes of sand on the pitch to help ensure a fixture could go ahead on February 9 — the first playable home match since last October.

Mr Rodwell said: "I am trying to arrange a meeting with Swansea Council to get to grips with this."

Several reports into the drainage problems have been carried out.

The rugby club has teamed up with the football club to commission one of their own, undertaken by the Institute of Groundsmanship. "If you dig down one to one-and-a-half metres the ground is a dry as a bone," said Mr Rodwell.

The problem, he said, was that the ground had compacted.

Mr Rodwell said aerating it — a relatively simple spiking process — would alleviate the surface floodwater issues. A more expensive solution would be installing two drainage tanks to collect water when it flows down from Newton Road. The rugby club has around 12 teams, with its 1st XI playing in the Swalec Division 3 South West.

Mumbles Rangers FC, meanwhile, has 33 teams, including its large youth set-up.

Club secretary Mike Podbielski said: "We have lost almost half of our home fixtures this season. Now it seems that the local wildlife have decided the park is their permanent home."

Mumbles Community Council and Swansea Council have put money towards investigating the problem.

Ex-community councillor Roger Beynon said aerating the ground, addressing the Newton Road surface water and re-designing the park drainage system so water could soak away would solve the problem. "I was born and bred playing on that park and, this may be looking through rose-tinted spectacles, it never flooded as much as it does now," said the retired chartered civil engineer.

"One of the problems is that we are getting much more intense rainfall events."

The community council has pledged more money to investigate the flooding.

A Swansea Council spokesman said grounds maintenance work was carried out regularly at Underhill Park.

He added: "We will be meeting the local ward member to discuss how we can help improve the situation so that local sports clubs are not inconvenienced too much."

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  • tawse57  |  February 19 2013, 11:33AM

    I hear on the grapevine that there have been lots of flooded basements in Mumbles this winter due to the heavy rainfall. I never realised that there are numerous small streams running down the hill from Newton through the park and underneath the area where the shops and houses are. Apparently the fire brigade have even been called out to pump out some of the houses.

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