When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Blackburn rugby club set to sell ground for new housing
BLACKBURN Rugby Club are ready to sell their 80-year-old home to meet the borough’s need for greenfield housing sites and raise £500,000 for a new clubhouse and changing room complex.
Their 19-acre site, with five pitches, was identified as suitable for 200 executive country homes in the council’s new strategy to build 4,000 high-class rural properties last week.
President Paul Westhead said the inclusion of the Ramsgreave Drive land was made with the agreement of the 136-year-old club.
The site, 11 acres in Blackburn with Darwen and eight acres in the Ribble Valley, could raise enough money for the club to move to a new site, build an upgraded clubhouse, changing rooms, and gym complex, and provide a financial cushion for future years.
Mr Westhead said: “We are in full agreement with the council’s aims in terms of new executive homes in the borough. “This would be an ideal site with country views and we are considering selling to a housing developer and moving, if we can find a suitable home elsewhere in the borough.
“We are in the early stages of looking at two others possible sites but we have not taken any decisions yet.
“The club is struggling to keep its head above water at the moment but is managing. We need to improve our clubhouse and upgrade our changing rooms, which are not fit for purpose in the modern age.
“We need new ones to accommodate our three senior teams and our expanding mini-rugby and junior squads and we would like to have a women’s team as well.
“That would cost in the region of £500,000 which we do not have.
“If we can sell the land at a good price and find a suitable site for at least five pitches, we could build a new clubhouse and expand the club. We play at level seven at the moment but want to play better sides. That would expand our membership of 200 seniors and 200 juniors, bring in better players and encourage sponsorship.” Club chairman John Dickinson said: “This is not just about money. It is about having a vision for the club.
“We want to grow the club and its membership, play better rugby and provide better facilities. “If we can do that by selling our current home and relocating to a new one with a better clubhouse, changing room and gym complex that would be a great outcome.”