Rugby club '95 per cent confident' on selling ground for housing
PUBLISHED: 11:20 11 August 2018
A village rugby club which has been running for 50 years faces a difficult future if the club does not sell to a housing developer, according to its chairman.
Yatton Rugby Club has for the past three years been mulling over the idea of leaving its North End home which is prime for housing.
Chairman Nick Williams feels it is in the club’s interest to move grounds.
Hundreds of homes are being built in Yatton, and the prospect of more are on the horizon.
One such development is at Moor Road, where Persimmon Homes is eyeing up houses where junior rugby used to be played and the adjoining orchard.
The idea is opposed by Yatton Parish Council but North Somerset Council has the final say.
The club used to lease the land off Children’s Hospice South West, but has been forced to move to fields near The Bridge Inn.
Mr Williams said having the juniors detached and off site has had an approximate £7,000 per year hit on takings at the clubhouse and makes it harder for players to graduate into the senior team.
Yatton relies on its youth players to grow the club as last season 16 or the 18 regulars in the first XV had represented it at youth level.
Mr Williams said: “We’ve found ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place as we are stuck.”
Moving all the teams to be based north of the village would solve those problems, he says, and prevent other issues developing.
The Oxford Instruments site, which is opposite the club, has permission to be turned into houses but its car park is used by spectators. Mr Williams said if that development was to go-ahead, more than 150 fans each matchday would have to park on surrounding roads.
Club members have voted in favour of exploring the options of a move and a steering group will liaise with Strongvox Homes.
Mr Williams said: “I’m 95-96 per cent sure if it comes together we will move, but I can’t reiterate enough nothing is set in stone.
“If we had to stay where we are, it will be very hard, but not impossible.
“But I would worry about our future in 25 years’ time with a lack of juniors.”
Even if members vote for a move north, planning permission would still be needed for a new ground and the housing estate at North End.