Setback for rugby club’s pitch move

PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 November 2015

Housing developer Persimmon Homes wants to build 83 homes on land used by Yatton Rugby Club.

Housing developer Persimmon Homes wants to build 83 homes on land used by Yatton Rugby Club.

Copyright Archant Ltd

A VILLAGE rugby club has revealed plans to build a new training area have been scrapped for ‘a number of reasons’.

Yatton Rugby Club trains in fields off Moor Road, which housing developer Persimmon Homes wants to build 83 homes on.

If Persimmon’s application is approved by North Somerset Council, it will mean the club would lose its junior training pitches.

Persimmon had agreed to provide the club with an alternative site on rhyne land which runs alongside its second pitch, but a statement released by the club said the deal has now fallen through.

That setback has prompted club leaders to call a members’ meeting on December 3 to discuss its revised plans and explore any available options.

In an online statement, a club spokesman said: “I made a statement (in June) regarding the relocation of the junior pitches – the intention at that time was that Persimmon Homes would develop land over the rhyne which would be available to the club to replace the junior fields.

“Unfortunately this has not materialised for a number of reasons.

“An ex-RFU (rugby football union) groundsman has undertaken an assessment of the land and considers it to require substantial remedial work, in order for it to be acceptable to RFU and Sport England standards. Persimmon Homes has a limited budget to spend on remedial work.

“In addition, any work would require additional soil to be brought to the site. This requires permission which we understand the council would be reluctant to grant and the use of the land would probably require a change-of-use application.

“We have also been informed the landowner is not prepared to lease the land to Persimmon or the club unless it is connected to an eventual full relocation of the club.”

The fields where the club currently trains are owned by Children’s Hospice South West.

However, Persimmon has struck a deal with the charity to buy the land if the development is granted planning permission and the club had been asked to vacate the land by April 2016 – the end of the 2015/16 season.

The spokesman said: “We are still working on the basis that we will be asked to vacate the hospice’s land at the end of the 2015/16 season.

“This means we will have to use our senior pitches to accommodate the juniors as well as look for other suitable locations in the village.”

The members meeting will take place at the club at 7.30pm on December 3.

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