Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has now fully demolished the old Michael Sobell Sports Centre in Aberdare, which will make way for a £3m athletics track.
The new athletics track will complete the significant investment on the site which has already seen the new Aberdare Community School, leisure centre, 3G pitch and skate park delivered – transforming education provision and leisure facilities in the area as part of a £67m investment.
While the new school and leisure facilities continue to benefit the community, the final phases of the wider development were delayed due to a significant presence of asbestos at the old sports centre. The building, which will make way for the athletics track, was felled in a necessary brick by brick process.
It has proven to be one of the most complex asbestos removal and demolition schemes in the country, which in itself cost £17m. The Health and Safety Executive was consulted every step of the way and the asbestos was removed and disposed of safely and without any problems – which was the biggest priority for the Council with education and leisure facilities continuing to operate on the same site.
Now, work is well underway on providing state-of-the-art athletics facilities at the Ynys. They will support track and field events, while a new 172-seat spectator stand and changing rooms will be built.
Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure, said:
“The local community will I’m sure welcome the news that the complex demolition of the old sports centre in Aberdare has now been completed by the Council.
“When the demolition process started the Council’s contractor discovered the presence of asbestos, which led to the biggest, most complex demolition challenge the Council has ever faced. It required a painstaking, brick by brick process to ensure safety, which was the biggest priority for the Council.
“The process was completed safely with no disruption to the ‘live’ Ynys site, which has been kept open throughout the demolition. The new school, leisure centre, 3G pitch, sports fields and car park have not suffered disruption.
“Having started, the Council was committed to seeing this process through to the end, and we are now in a position where construction of the athletics facility is progressing well as part of the wider £67m investment – which will leave a legacy for the future generations of Aberdare and the Cynon Valley.
“Education and Leisure provision are key areas in the £200m #RCTinvest programme, from which the Cynon Valley has significantly benefited. Primary education has been transformed in Abercynon, Cwmbach and Ynysboeth with new community primary schools. Meanwhile, significant investment in Abercynon Sports Centre, as well as new 3G sports pitches built in Mountain Ash, and planned for Abercynon, provide all-weather sports opportunities.”