Take a look at Wymondham Rugby Club's new £4.5m HQ
PUBLISHED: 13:16 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:41 01 October 2018
After weeks of delays, months of anticipation, and years of planning, a rugby club's new home is finally on its way to completion.
Wymondham Rugby Football Club had hoped to move into the £4.5m building for the start of the autumn season, but bad weather put the works behind.
However, things are looking up for the club, which is one of the largest in the region, with 22 teams and 1,200 members.
Barnard Fields (named after Alan and Robert Barnard, who donated the land) has been handed over to the Club owners by the builders, and will be opening later in October.
The site has 30 acres of pitches and the new clubhouse, designed by Norwich architects Chaplin Farrant, has six changing rooms, two hospitality and dining areas, meeting rooms, a physio unit, bars and a kitchen. A balcony runs the length of the building so supporters can watch games on the first team pitch.
Andrew Kilby, club chairman, said: “It’s been a long and at times pretty bumpy road to get here but finally we’ve done it. For years we’ve been one of the largest rugby clubs in East Anglia in terms of our membership, but with some of the worst facilities. Now all of that is about to change.”
Wymondham’s old ground on Tuttles Lane had just two pitches which meant teams had to find space at Browick Park in the town or juggle kick-off times. Heavy clay soil with poor drainage also meant the ground was often too muddy.
“We used to joke about teams playing in the shallow end or the deep end,” said youth chairman Harry Harris. “Now though we’ve got properly laid pitches with deep drainage - it’s going to be like playing on a billiard table!”
Martin Lewis, club member and director of Chaplin Farrant, said: “It is going to be a great asset not just for the club but the whole community of Wymondham and South Norfolk. It builds on our history and provides much-needed sporting and social facilities.”
The new site is three times the size of the old one and will be used by other local groups including Wymondham Archers, Young Farmers and BAL Training.
Permission to build the club, off Norwich Common, was granted after a lengthy planning appeal. Funding came from a land development deal which will see new homes built on Tuttles Lane.