Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Swansea's old Vetch football ground is up for sale


Historian and fan Prof Huw Bowen on what made the Vetch a special place

Swansea City's former Vetch football ground has finally been put up for sale more than four years after it staged its last match.

Design, consultation and legal issues have been blamed for delays in selling the site near the city centre.

The city council said it had already attracted interest from developers with 120 houses, children's play area and community centre planned for the land.

Bids for the redevelopment must be submitted by March.

Local councillor Alan Lloyd said residents would be pleased to see the site brought back to life.

"We had a consultation - it came out very strongly that we had to have a community facility," he added.

"There is going to be £1m set aside for a community facility for the people of the Sandfields."

The last game at the Vetch
The Vetch was always distinctly odd, eccentric and idiosyncratic in its architecture
Professor Huw Bowen

The Swans played their final match there at the close of the 2004/05 season and moved to the new Liberty Stadium on the other side of the city.

Huw Bowen, a professor of modern history at Swansea University who wrote a history of the Vetch, said it held many memories for football fans in the city.

"It's very sad to see the ground dilapidated, decaying and falling apart now," he said.

"It was never a thing of beauty and I think its time is well and truly up and I'm pleased something positive is now happening because there has been a rather deafening silence about the future of the ground.

"The key now is to make sure that we respect the wishes of the residents but also do something bold and imaginative to connect the Vetch with its footballing past.

"The Vetch was always distinctly odd, eccentric and idiosyncratic in its architecture."

He said he hoped that would be reflected in the plans for the future.

Swansea council said after bids closed in March it hoped to announce the successful developer in the summer.

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