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Green light for 6m Eirias Park improvements; Project to bring top-class athletics, rugby and pop concerts to stadium.

Byline: RICHARD EVANS

A pounds 6m new sports complex and concert venue will be built in a move hoped to kick start the regeneration of Colwyn Bay.

Councillors yesterday granted planning permission for a new 2,000 all seater stand to be the new home for Welsh rugby at Eiras Park.

The development, paid for out of Assembly and European funding, will also include a new pitch cover system, indoor training centre containing four indoor football pitches, and a high-performance gym.

It is hoped it will attract North Wales top athletes, pop stars, international conferences, and kick-start Colwyn Bay's massive regeneration effort.

The complex is scheduled to be complete by December 2010-ready for preparation for the London 2012 Olympics.

A North Wales rugby academy has already been established at Eirias Park to hone top talent together with the Welsh Rugby Union.

Councillors were eager for the project to get the go-ahead and were excited at the prospect of Eirias Park's capacity being boosted to a 3,000 seater stadium, with room for 3,000 more standing.

The stadium will also include corporate VIP boxes and new floodlights.

Speaking after yesterday's planning meeting Cllr Brian Cossey said it was great news for the town and its image: "It will be a tremendous boost for Colwyn Bay. "To have what will be a regional rugby team playing out of Colwyn Bay will be a great benefit. Then there is the A group visited Arsenal's spin-off of all the other sports; having a regional sports centre will attract top athletes and open air concerts, so it isn't just sport, we could well have pop stars and opera stars performing in Colwyn Bay."

Cllr Abdul Khan agreed: "This is good news for Colwyn Bay, it is positive, it will put Colwyn Bay on the map and the Gogledd Cymru rugby team will make the town its home and bring more people into Colwyn Bay.

Rhiw ward councillor Trevor Stott added: "I think this is fantastic news. For a few years now there has been a bit of pessimism about Colwyn Bay so this just the thing we need.

training complex "This can be the forerunner for the regeneration of Colwyn Bay. We now need to look at the amenities and leisure facilities in terms of tourism and hotels providing first class accommodation and facilities for visitors."

As part of the planning process a visit was made to Arsenal Football Club's training facilities to get a feel for how the Eirias Park development would be.

CAPTION(S):

Artist impressions of the improvements to Eirias Park (main and insets) which yesterday had the green light for a pounds 6m improvement A group visited Arsenal's training complex
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 14, 2010
Words:450
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