Major plans for Weston Rugby Club ground revealed - including 182 homes and health centre
- Credit: Studio Hive
Major redevelopment plans for Weston-super-Mare Rugby Club - including 182 flats and a health centre - have been submitted.
The club needs to “raise its game”, so teamed up with Studio Hive on proposals to secure its future and a £3 million investment to replace “completely substandard” facilities.
Due to viability constraints recognised by North Somerset Council, none of the one- and two-bed apartments in five- and six-storey buildings will be classed as “affordable”.
The new health centre, in the bottom two floors of a five-storey block below offices, will replace the Graham Road surgery after NHS bosses searched across the town for the best location.
Plans submitted by rugby club trustees and Atlas Hive Weston say: “The club has been exploring development options for part of their freehold ownership over a number of years.
“Previous attempts have been made to sell part of the freehold ownership for retail development. For a number of reasons, no deliverable proposal has been forthcoming.
“Studio Hive and Atlas Land approached the club in early 2018 with a compelling proposition to realise value from the club’s land while generating funds to reinvest in new facilities.”
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The partners said the project will deliver benefits including “sustainable development on brownfield land within the town centre, maximising efficient use of land, the delivery of residential dwellings, office and commercial floorspace and a new GP surgery, and the regeneration of a site which will attract further inward investment into the town centre.
“Chief among these is also the potential to secure the long-term future of the rugby club itself through the redevelopment proposals.”
The plans add: “The existing clubhouse and grandstand date from the early 1960s and are completely substandard for a club of this importance; it’s essential that the facilities are improved and brought into line with other clubs in the top-flight of the Southwest Premier League.
“As a sporting destination the facilities will be vastly superior to that which currently exists; the new facilities will help establish a new standard for the rugby club and will be appropriate for the league in which they play, providing improved club facilities in a well-connected location, close to the centre of Weston-super-Mare and the train station.”
The new facilities will include a two-storey clubhouse, a catering standard kitchen, a 260-seat grandstand, a gym and changing rooms.
The application says significant investment in the new club facilities of circa £3million is required to enable the development to proceed.
While most of the application is for outline consent with details to be finalised later, the applicants are seeking full planning permission for the new surgery with 15,000 sqft of office space above.
The plans say the uses will add “much needed diversity to the mix of the development which, together with the sporting and leisure facilities, provide a unique environment in which to live.
“It is our hope that the new development will contribute to the regeneration of the area and will provide sufficient activity and a diverse mix of uses to create a resilient, sustainable community in a central location.”
The application says: “The Graham Road surgery is moving from its existing accommodation, which is no longer able to accommodate the functional requirements of the users and meet modern standards such as the equality act
“Seventeen other sites within the town centre have been investigated with the conclusion that a purpose-built facility at WSM RFC would best serve the needs of the community.”
A new bus layby is proposed next to the building.
Meanwhile, the club says it wants to “realise the potential of underutilised land” and create a new residential quarter for the town.
The 182 “sustainable” apartments will be arranged across four buildings standing up to six storeys high.
The applicants said none of the new flats would be classed as “affordable” due to the location of the site and the scheme’s “marginal viability”.
They said it was in a zone where the council did not require developments to provide any on-site affordable housing, contributions or further viability evidence.
Some 29 of the flats will be accessible.
Across the site there will be 223 parking bays for cars and secure spaces for 332 bikes.
The club wholly owns the site and, while subject to covenants, initial conversations with the council have indicated that these can be overcome to facilitate redevelopment.
The plans say the project depends on an agreement with the could to enable a primary school to be built that can only be accessed by land owned by the rugby club.
North Somerset Council will decide the fate of the application, reference 21/P/3368/OUT.