'Exciting' £3million stadium redevelopment plan earns backing

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 January 2019

Weston RFC v Exmouth.        



Picture MARK ATHERTON

Weston RFC v Exmouth. Picture MARK ATHERTON

Archant

Weston Rugby Club’s multi-million-pound stadium redevelopment plans have been given ‘overwhelming’ support by members.

The club – which hopes to revamp the Recreation Ground in Sunnyside Road – held an extraordinary meeting on January 17 for players and fans to vote on ambitious proposals which bosses hope will unlock a bright future on and off the pitch.

The project will see huge investment poured into the club, with a £3million upgrade of facilities topping the wishlist.

A new clubhouse, changing rooms and spectator seating will be created if the project materialises, and the rugby club also hopes to harvest under-used parts of the site for lucrative housing development.

A spokesman said: “Members passed the resolution with an overwhelming majority and the exciting prospect of new facilities moved another step closer.”

The possibility of the rugby club sharing its ground with Weston Football Club and jointly redeveloping the Recreation Ground was explored last summer, but this has been ruled out and both organisations are pursuing separate projects.

The next stage of the rugby club’s development will see a planning application submitted to North Somerset Council in July, and the club hopes to receive a green light from planning officers by the end of the year.

If all goes to plan, builders could be on site by June 2020 with completion of the first phase of the project – which includes the new clubhouse – pencilled in for the summer of 2022.

The redevelopment will be underpinned by the creation of apartments, and council estimates suggest 163 homes could be built at the site.

Developer Studio Hive is working with the rugby club on the plans with intent to invest almost £30million in the project.

The rugby club has been negotiating with the council, which oversees public use of the playing field, and the authority agreed the development in principle subject to approval of the planning application.

The project ties in with the council’s need to build more housing to meet Government demands, and it is also obliged to create a primary school in the town centre – with land adjacent to the car park earmarked for the facility.

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