Rugby club gets approval to build extra pitch at village training base

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 May 2020

Staff at the Bristol Bears training ground. Picture: Bristol Bears

Staff at the Bristol Bears training ground. Picture: Bristol Bears

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A professional rugby club is to expand its training facilities.

An artist’s impression of the training complex. Picture: Bristol BearsAn artist’s impression of the training complex. Picture: Bristol Bears

North Somerset Council has granted Bristol Bears permission to create an additional rugby pitch and training grids and to also build groundsman facilities at Kingcott Farm, Abbots Leigh.

The training base, in Beggar Bush Lane, was granted permission in 2017 and was due to open for 2020/21 pre-season.

Planning officers have given the club an additional period of time to commence the development due to coronavirus.

The Bears believe the extra facilities will bolster their training centre offer and single-storey cabins will provide facilities for the groundsman who will manage the site, which will be located to the rear of the training barn.

The plan also includes a two-storey pavilion with a state-of-the-art gym and weight-training area, a medical centre and treatment room, a hydrotherapy room, and changing facilities, while the first floor will feature a team meeting and analysis room, a player breakout room, plus a canteen and kitchen, as well as offices and boardroom space.

The training base is designed to accommodate 94 players across the various Bears teams, along with the associated club staff.

Council officers stated principal planning issues included the development being on greenbelt land, its impact upon the character of the area, parking and highway safety considerations, flood risk and drainage and the impact on nearby homeowners.

The use of land in the greenbelt for recreational purposes is however recognised in the national planning policy framework and local plan.

Abbots Leigh Parish Council had initial concerns regarding the position of the proposed playing pitch and drainage details, but these were discussed with the rugby club who responded positively with revised plans.

North Somerset’s planning officer said: “This is generally a well-detailed application submission which has been revised in response to the concerns of the parish council, which was concerned about the initial layout of the proposed playing pitch.”


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