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Home > News > Sevenoaks Rugby Announce Expansion
Your News Sevenoaks Rugby Announce Expansion

Sevenoaks Rugby club has passed a major hurdle in its development plans with the granting of planning permission for a clubhouse extension by Sevenoaks District Council.

The club, already a centre of excellence for sport in the local community, needs to improve its facilities to keep pace with demand driven by the success of its inclusive recruitment policies, particularly within the junior section.

The planning permission marks the successful conclusion of the initial phase of the project, but the club recognises that there is still a massive amount of work to do. Club Chairman Lee Adamson said “This is a significant step forward for us, but it’s really only the end of the beginning.”

The extension plans include provision for disabled access, increased space for changing and showering, better catering facilities and a larger and more flexible club room. Externally, the design remains in keeping with the existing building, with no addition to the roof height. Adamson explained “We looked at some more radical options but opted in the end for a more conservative approach as we were keen to have as minimal an impact as possible on our neighbours.” The club held two open meetings, prior to submitting its planning application, at which residents were invited to discuss the plan. “We’re pleased that we’ve done all we can to incorporate their concerns,” said Adamson.

From the club’s perspective, the next step will be to appoint a project supremo and a steering committee. “Until now,” said Adamson, “the work has been done by a relatively small team but, with the planning application achieved, it now becomes a much bigger project altogether.”

Fundraising will be a key issue. Initial estimates suggest the club will need to raise in excess of £0.5 million. The club will be concentrating on three primary sources of funding – grants and loans from bodies such as Sport England and the Rugby Football Union, commercial sponsorship and, most importantly, the club’s own membership. “Although we’ve presented the project in embryo at successive Annual General Meetings, it’s been largely a hypothetical concept, until now” said Adamson. “Now we need to engage and enthuse the entire club membership, from the parents of the U7s right through to the 1st XV.”

The club has high hopes that local business will be keen to back the project, seizing the opportunity to become associated with what is now well established as a central part of the local community. It has more than 200 adult members, over 400 junior members and more than 60 coaches, and is actively engaged in taking rugby to local schools, concentrating on those which do not normally offer the sport as part of their curriculum. “We are firmly embedded in the fabric of Sevenoaks, providing a valuable opportunity for children and adults to participate in a team sport.”

The club has an enviable track record of developing high-quality performers. At the moment, no fewer than six former junior members of Sevenoaks RFC are full time professional rugby players and two of these are full England internationals. Of the current crop of youngsters, three are training with the Saracens Elite Player Development Squad and five are in the Kent U-16 team. “We have a genuine need to update and expand our facilities so that we can continue to improve the service we provide to the local community,” said Adamson.

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