Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Football club given permission to build £400,000 clubhouse

A FOOTBALL club has been given the go-ahead to build a £400,000 clubhouse.

A FOOTBALL club has been given the go-ahead to build a £400,000 clubhouse.

Rotherfield United has received planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council for the facility at Bishopswood Sports Ground in Gallowstree Common.

It will include four changing rooms, an officials’ changing room, a social space, function room and toilets.

The club needs to raise about £60,000 towards the cost and hopes other funding will come from Sport England, the Football Foundation and council grants.

Paul Lucas, the district council’s leisure and economic development officer, said the new clubhouse would improve the facilities for the clubs that already use the ground and attract new ones.

He said: “From a sports development perspective, it is extremely important to support existing football, cricket and tennis clubs and encourage continued participation and the development of new teams.” A planning officer said the development would preserve the natural beauty of the area and would not “materially harm” the living conditions of nearby residents.

The application was backed by Sonning Common Parish Council and received dozens of letters of support with no objections.

Darren Hartin, from Caversham Heights, said the clubhouse would be a “fantastic asset” to the club as well as providing a meeting place for the community.

“It also has the potential to allow training courses and other commercial activities, if required, to benefit the community,” he said.

Tom Ruiz, of Rowan Close, Sonning Common, said the building would help Rotherfield United become a “serious” club.

He said it was important to support local clubs following the folding of AFC Peppard in 2010.

Mr Ruiz added: “Kids in the area need a good football foundation with good facilities — something to be proud of and say ‘I play for Rotherfield United’ and not a shanty shed.

“Let’s hope at some point permission is also granted for a 3G facility, which will help the club make money.”

Club chairman Andy Davies said: “The clubhouse allows the club to continue to grow.

“It will be an asset for the club for generations to come and it will help us reach our potential.”

Two of the changing rooms will be of the standard required for the senior team to play in the Hellenic League Premier Division, while the other two will be for grassroots level players.

Mr Davies said: “We’re building a ground for the Hellenic League and there will be space for a stand, should we need one. The facility allows the younger players to be coached properly.

“If it’s raining, they can go into the function room and watch some training videos. You wouldn’t want them near the current changing rooms.”

Last month, the club raised almost £8,000 with a 13-and-a-half game of five-a-side over two days involving almost 600 players.

To make a donation or suggest fund-raising ideas, email Mr Davies at andy.davies@rotherfieldfc.com

Meanwhile, a golf day will be held to raise money for Rotherfield United at Badgemore Park Golf Club on Saturday, June 22.

Teams of three will take part in the Stableford competition and there will be prizes for the best three ball, longest drive and shot nearest the pin.

A dinner and prize-giving ceremony will take place in the evening.

The club’s presentation day will be on Saturday July 6.

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