An artificial pitch used by hundreds of children was labelled “dangerous” by users after coaches and children found themselves slipping over on its surface.

The all weather pitch at Monmouth Leisure Centre was closed recently and an inspection by independent contractors has assessed the condition of the artificial pitch and gave advice on its life span.

Melvin Green, a coach for Monmouth Town FC’s Under 13 girls’ team said: “Recently the playing area has been covered in a very slippery muddy surface and has made it very hard for the children to train and play sport. We have had have accidents with people slipping and falling over including myself last week”.

But it’s good news for the clubs as the site was re-opened yesterday, Tuesday 3rd December by the leisure centre following a clear-up operation by their grounds team.

Melvin Green added that the three artificial pitch facilities for winter practice in the town: Monmouth Leisure Centre, Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth School for Girls are not enough to cope with the growing requests for training facilities.

“These are not only from the 300-strong Monmouth Town FC but from associations from outside the area in Coleford, Ross and Broadwell and they all have to compete at the moment for the two remaining pitches now at the Haberdashers’ schools,” he said.

He added his girls had to miss out on their vital training session recently as there was nothing available. “We have a crucial match next week and desperately need to train somewhere,” he said.

The leisure centre does have indoor facilities where they have to compete with other groups for booking on a popular Friday night however Mr Green said these are “not really suitable for training for a game on grass”.

“We sometimes can use Chippenham for training on grass, but we are trying to save the grass for match events.”

It had come at the worst time of the year for the clubs as they often gave up training on Chippenham in the winter months and moved to the artificial pitches until the spring.

But manager of the county’s leisure services, Nick Butler has told the Beacon that following an inspection yesterday, Tuesday 3rd December, he has now re-opened the pitch.

“I can confirm that a week ago I took the decision to cancel all our bookings on the pitch due to safety concerns,” he said.

“As you will know we have had some unprecedented  wet weather in the past month and this has resulted in leaving the pitch with large areas of mud/silt. These patches are particular slippery when used for sports such as football and the safety of our users is paramount.

“Over the past month our grounds team have on several occasions cleaned and remedied these issues, only to find that an overnight down pour has caused these patches to return.

“Last Friday and Saturday our grounds team worked tirelessly to clean, sweep and sort the pitch. On inspection today, I am pleased to say that the pitch is now useable and we will be contacting our bookings to invite them back immediately.

“I must add that whilst the pitch is currently useable, if we have another prolonged wet period this may result in the pitch being temporarily closed again.”

Ben Gouldingay, U11s girls’ coach said that they need a surface for hockey too. 

“They should scrap the tennis court conversion and look to develop both a new full size 3G and an artificial surface for hockey that can resist the flood waters in the space that is left and pinch some from the playground or car parks as need be!” he said.

“They will definitely be losing by having such a sub standard surface.” 

Coach Matt Meredith said there are a few teams not training because of it and said they had been trying to get all age groups off it as the surface was so poor, it was actually dangerous.

“It’s basically had its day,” he said. “It needs ripping up and money spent on a 3G pitch like in Caldicot leisure centre.”