Rugby club in talks with developer about selling for housing

PUBLISHED: 06:26 10 August 2018

Yatton Rugby Club.

Yatton Rugby Club.

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Yatton Rugby Club has begun talks with a developer about selling its ground for housing and moving to a new home.

Yatton Rugby Club.Yatton Rugby Club.

Rumours of a deal have circulated for several years and the club’s chairman says there is a ‘95 or 96 per cent’ chance of it happening.

Nick Williams said the future of the club did not depend on a deal, but a switch would allow it to flourish.

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 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 says it is now harder for young players to progress.

Yatton Parish Council is against the plan but North Somerset Council will have the final say.

Yatton relies on its youth players to grow the club as last season 16 of the 18 regulars in the first XV had represented it at youth level.

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.

He added: “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 planning permission to be turned into houses but its car park is used by rugby spectators. Mr Williams said if that development was to go-ahead, more than 150 fans each matchday would have to park on surrounding roads and that could cause traffic problems.

Club members have voted in favour of exploring the options.

Mr Williams stresses nothing is decided.

He 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 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.”

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