Athletics

A proposal to provide a running track and changing accommodation at Glebelands was first approved in late 1955, when it was estimated to cost not less than £12,000. A grant of £3,240 had been offered by the Ministry of Education.[1] Initially progress was delayed owing to restrictions on capital expenditure.[2] The Council also approached the National Playing Fields Association which offered £1,000 grant towards the cost of the scheme.[3]

In August 1958 the Parks Committee heard that the Welsh Department, Ministry of Education would sanction a loan for the capital cost of the project and the work would have to be completed by 31st March 1959 to receive grants promised by the Ministry totalling £3,240. The Committee decided that in view of the urgency to complete the work, no provision would be made for field events, but that contracts would be negotiated with En-Tout-Cas Limited to construct the running track and Woolaway Construction Limited for a prefabricated building.[4] A tender was accepted in October 1958 from Taverner (Contractors) Ltd, to lay the concrete base for the changing accommodation at a cost of £1,450.[5]

The running track was reported to be complete on December 19th 1958, except for obtaining a certificate of measurement from the Amateur Athletics Association, so that record performances could be officially recognised.[6] Construction of the prefabricated building for changing accommodation was still in progress in January 1959.[7] The inaugural athletics meeting was arranged for June 6th 1959, with the opening ceremony performed by the Chairman of the National Playing Fields Association, Lord Luke of Pavenham.[8] Later that year the Parks Committee agreed that a plaque stating that the facilities at St Julians running track were provided with help of a grant from the National Playing Fields Association would be placed in a prominent position of the changing accommodation.[9] The final cost of the running track was reported to be £17,687 and the total grant received from the Ministry of Education and the National Playing Fields Association was £4,240.[10]

By late 1960 planning was in progress for construction of a grandstand at the running track.[11] It was decided to build a stand in reinforced concrete to seat 872 persons, and provide partial cover for 500 standing. A tender for this work was accepted from Building and Construction Co. Ltd of Cardiff for £20,425.[12] In December 1964 the design was extended to include changing and shower facilities underneath the concrete stand structure at an additional estimated cost of £20,000.[13] It was not until February 1966 that the Parks Committee agreed to accept the tender of W. Cowlin & Co. of £51,070-5s-10d for this work, which was to be carried out immediately.[14]

In 1968 the Council agreed to a request from the Monmouthshire A.A.A. (Amateur Athletic Association), that the 1968 County Championships be held at the St Julians running track as in previous years.[15]

Alterations and improvements to the running track and playing area were approved in January 1974. Including the provision of floodlighting the total estimated cost was £14,000.[16]

In later years there was little mention in Council records of development of the Glebelands athletics facilities. In the early 1990s the Council approved plans for construction of a Newport Sports Stadium at Spytty Park, with particular reference to athletic facilities.[17]

Sources of Information

  1. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 21st October 1955
  2. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 20th April 1956
  3. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 30th April 1957
  4. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 1st August 1958
  5. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 17th October 1958
  6. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 19th December 1958
  7. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 16th January 1959
  8. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 15th May 1959
  9. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 28th November 1959
  10. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 19th April 1963
  11. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 18th November 1960
  12. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 17th March 1961
  13. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 18th December 1964
  14. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 18th February 1966
  15. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 19th January 1968
  16. Newport County Borough Council Amenity and Leisure Services Committee 3rd January 1974
  17. Newport Borough Council Leisure Services Committee 2nd July & 1st October 1991