After my (over?) emotional post about the demise of Farrar Road last season, I decided to take a closer look at the proposed new stadium at Nantporth. I have heard on the grapevine that my concerns about training facilities might be premature, and with the club moving in at the end of the 2011/12 season, I wanted to see for myself how the development was progressing.
The first consideration is the location of the stadium. It sits in an idyllic spot on the banks of the Menai Straits, just over a mile from Bangor train station, and about a mile and half from Bangor Town Centre. By car, it’s just a few minutes off the main A55 trunk road. The nearest pubs and cafes are in Upper Bangor, a busy student area, about 15 minutes walk from the new stadium.
I was surprised to look over the fence and see the pitch had already taken shape. This is the access route, which takes you through the proposed car park/training pitch.
The banking is already in place for the Main Grandstand at Nantporth which will hold between 600-3,000 seats depending on who you speak to. In this image , which is taken from the Bangor Town end of the ground, you can see the old brown changing rooms, which is where the access route enters the ground. In the distance you can just make out the famous Britannia Bridge which crosses the Menai Straits.
Much discussion has taken place about the lack of width on the Menai Straits side of the ground, opposite the main stand. Optimists complain that this limited space will deter further ground development. Realists accept that further development will be unlikely. It is a shame that the new stadium will be lopsided, with standing area only at the side of the Menai Straits End, but at least those trees give a pleasing view.
One of the things that struck me most about my visit today was the quality of the surface already prepared for the club. I have long campaigned for better pitches in the Welsh Premier League, and Bangor will have no excuses for persevering with a long ball game on this carpet.
From the Main Stand looking towards the Bangor Town End, you can see the glistening waters of the Menai Straits with the village of Menai Bridge in the distance.
I came away from my visit much more optimistic about the new stadium, and there’s no doubt that if this is done properly, it could be one of the best little grounds in Wales. Yes, it’s a bind to leave Farrar Road, but the more I see of Nantporth, the more I like it.