Extra time for clubhouse?

SUPPORTERS of a popular sporting club in Nailsea are hoping to get the starters whistle on plans to extend the opening hours of its clubhouse. Bosses at Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club at West End Lane have applied for an amendment to its planning conditi

SUPPORTERS of a popular sporting club in Nailsea are hoping to get the starters whistle on plans to extend the opening hours of its clubhouse.Bosses at Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club at West End Lane have applied for an amendment to its planning conditions which means facilities on the site cannot currently be used after 11.30pm Monday to Saturday and until 11pm on a Sunday.They want to change the conditions to allow them to open an hour later on Friday and Saturday nights a number of times through the year so they can hold functions.Club officials say the extra hour will allow them to hold more events to help raise cash to plough back into the clubThe club, which is home to three senior sides and has 300 junior players and a membership of more than 500, is a charitable organisation and relies on fund-raising to keep its activities afloat.It is also home to Nailsea Boxing Club, Nailsea Running Club, a ladies hockey club, three skittles teams and hosts the Nailsea Junior Football Club summer tournament.It claims in the last year it has lost 20 bookings - and potential revenue of £20,000 - because of the opening hours restrictions.Club chairman Jeff Morris said: "We have consulted the local residents and as a result of their concerns will not be hosting 18th birthday parties. Any 21st parties will be restricted to members of the club."We are only applying for permission to open later on a Friday and Saturday night to allow us to have functions, which in turn will generate more funds for the club."We are one of only 10 clubs in the country to have a level three seal of approval and we put a great deal of investment into the club to make sure we provide a professional and safe environment for our young players. These planning conditions have been a real millstone around our neck."We are a successful club but we need to continue to improve and move forward."But the news of later opening hours has not been welcomed by all with a number of local residents writing letters to North Somerset Council objecting to the plans.They say they have encountered problems with rowdy revellers leaving the club damaging their homes and vomiting in the street.One resident said: "Any increase in hours can only bring an increase in anti social behaviour. I would point out that this is a sports club, not a night club."The application will be decided by North Somerset Council later this month.


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