Housing group contributes £400,000 for North Somerset rugby club revamp

How the development in Engine Lane could look.

How the development in Engine Lane could look. - Credit: Archant

A housing developer will make a financial pledge to improve a rugby club's facilities as part of plans to build almost 200 homes in a town.

Barratt Homes is making a £400,000 contribution towards club house renovations, new changing facilities and replacement pitches for Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club. 

The UK's largest housebuilder is donating to the rugby club along with more than £1million investment into other community facilities.

The group will build 171 homes on land west of Engine Lane after North Somerset Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the scheme in June.

An aerial view of the rugby club site.

An aerial view of the rugby club site. - Credit: www.aeropeg.com

Nailsea Town Council agreed to sell the land to Barratt Homes in December 2015, and the developer was given permission to build 183 homes on the site in December 2017.

MORE: Reduction in number of homes planned for Engine Lane.

The applicant faced complications from a National Grid project to move power lines across the site underground and scaled back its proposals to 171 homes to create the necessary space.

National Grid did not object in principle but said it was imperative the amended plan did not compromise its ability to deliver the Hinkley connection project.

Work is expected to start on the development this summer. Engine Lane will offer a range of two, three and four-bedroom homes suitable for first-time buyers, growing families and people looking to downsize.

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The development will include 51 affordable homes and a selection of one-bedroom maisonettes. There will be a particular focus on new family homes in line with Nailsea Town Council's requirement for smaller family homes in order to help more people get onto the housing ladder.

The rugby club will use the financial contribution to upgrade its playing pitches and changing facilities as part of an extension and refurbishment of the club house.

This will mean dedicated female changing rooms can be provided to accommodate and encourage more women and girls to play, following the successful introduction of three girls' teams in recent years.

The first-floor bar and viewing area will be improved and extended and a lift installed to ensure the facilities are fully accessible for the use of both the rugby club and the wider community. Dedicated physiotherapy and technical training rooms will also be included.

MORE: Hundreds of homes to be built in town after years of delays.

Anthony Warren, honorary treasurer for Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club, says the contribution will help the club open up to the community, including the people who will be living at Engine Lane.

An aerial view of the rugby club site. 

An aerial view of the rugby club site. - Credit: www.aeropeg.com

Mr Warren said: "We're a community club so making sure the clubhouse and our facilities can be enjoyed by as many people as possible is really important to us and the extension and refurbishment will make a huge difference.

"We want to keep attracting more women and girls into the game too, so having modern, dedicated changing facilities is crucial.

"The wider pitch improvements and new physio and training rooms will help us attract not only more players, but more games to be played here in Nailsea as well as our existing club games. We're really grateful to Barratt Homes for helping us to finally get our plans off the ground."

The development will also include dedicated public open space and a broad range of sustainability measures including protected trees and hedgerows along with new meadow grassland and sustainable drainage ponds. A dedicated cycle path will connect the development with Engine Lane and the wider Sustrans cycle network.

Andrea Pilgrim, sales director for Barratt Homes, added: "We are really excited to bring so many much-needed new homes to Nailsea at Engine Lane and to support such a significant community and sports facility at Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club.

"We know there is a real call for homes for families in the area so we have designed the development with a range of sizes and styles to suit this growing community.

"We look forward to sharing our designs and in time, welcoming people to look around our show homes - either virtually or in person."

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