Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Rowing club plans new £350,000 base

THE organisers of Goring and Streatley Regatta have put forward plans for a permanent new home.

THE organisers of Goring and Streatley Regatta have put forward plans for a permanent new home.

Goring Gap Boat Club has applied for planning permission to build a boathouse and moorings on the banks of the Thames.

Since it was founded in 1991, the club has operated from temporary premises.

For the past eight years it has been based at the Oratory School Boat Club, off Hardwick Road, Whitchurch.

It wants to set up a headquarters by Gatehampton railway bridge in Lower Basildon, just over two miles upstream from Whitchurch and on the opposite side of the river.

If West Berkshire Council gives consent, the boathouse will be built on a 0.81 hectare site immediately upstream from the bridge.

The site, owned by the Yattendon Trust, is currently agricultural land but a map dating from the 1890s shows a boathouse nearby.

The two-storey building would be screened from view by an earth bank and a row of trees.

It would have a covered store with racking for all its boats and a workshop with a generator for carrying out repairs.

There would also be space for eight rowing machines and a pontoon at the water’s edge with enough room to launch an eight as well as 15m of moorings along the banks plus parking for up to 20 cars, including two disabled spaces.

The work is expected to cost £350,000 and the club has launched an appeal.

It currently has enough money and pledges to cover more than half of the cost, including the planning application and initial site work.

It hopes to construct the building in stages according to how quickly it can raise the rest of the money.

The club says it needs a new home because it does not have indoor storage space at the Oratory site.

It was offered a seven-year lease on a site owned by the Hardwick Estate in Whitchurch but said this was unaffordable.

The Lower Basildon site was suggested last year by a club member who works for the Yattendon Trust.

In its planning application, the club says: “We are excited by what we have found and are unanimous in believing that building a permanent home at Lower Basildon is both desirable and feasible.”

The club resurrected the Goring and Streatley Regatta, which was scrapped at the outbreak of the First World War, in 1992. About 200 rowers, including more than 40 novices, took part in this year’s regatta in July.

Last week, GB rower and Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover visited the club and took part in one of its regular open sessions.

She offered advice to novice rowers, some of whom were trying it for the first time, and helped to serve tea afterwards.

Her visit was organised by the Join In Trust, which was set up after the London 2012 to get more people involved in sport.

Club chairman Hugh Baker-Smith said: “We have been able to give local people the most fantastic introduction to the sport.

“Helen’s involvement is immense in raising the profile of recreational rowing, of our club and of our plans for the future.”

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