Work starts on artificial grass pitch to bring "world-class" facilities to Cheltenham RFC
PUBLISHED: 10:51 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:23 26 March 2018
Copyright © Morgan Harlow 2018
"The new pitch is the first of its kind in North Gloucestershire and it was a pleasure for Willans to be involved in the legal work facilitating its opening, which will doubtless encourage more groups and clubs to participate in the sport
Cheltenham RFC is to be the latest club to benefit from a new, RFU-funded artificial grass pitch (AGP), with construction work starting Monday March 26. Due for official opening later this summer, the pitch is part of the RFU’s Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy of delivering more than £50m investment over four years, via the development of 100 AGPs across England.
The all-weather, floodlit surface will enable additional training sessions and more flexibility in playing times for the club. It will also be available to local clubs who will have the chance to benefit from year-round rugby as a direct result of the facility. As a result, the AGP is expected to increase rugby participation across clubs and community groups in the region, further growing the sport.
Local dignitaries and supporters celebrated the commencement of the construction work at a President’s Day on Saturday March 24, thought to be the last match on the existing grass pitch.
“We are absolutely delighted that works are finally starting. The club obtained planning permission for an artificial pitch in May 2010, it has been a hard slog to get to this stage. Everyone associated with the club are really excited to be hosting a World Rugby Compliant pitch. This facility will be a massive boost to rugby development in the Cheltenham and surrounding areas”, Stephen Ratcliffe- Chairman, Cheltenham Rugby Club.
Commercial property experts at Gloucestershire law firm Willans LLP negotiated the documents on behalf of Cheltenham Rugby Club leading to the construction of the new pitch. Commenting on Willans’ involvement, partner of the firm and rugby fan Paul Gordon said: “The new pitch is the first of its kind in North Gloucestershire and it was a pleasure for Willans to be involved in the legal work facilitating its opening, which will doubtless encourage more groups and clubs to participate in the sport. As a Gloucestershire firm (with many rugby fans among our staff) we are particularly pleased to be involved in the introduction of world-class sporting facilities to this part of the county”.
Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director, commented: “We hope the local community will embrace the new AGP and take advantage of the additional opportunities it provides people to play year-round rugby. Since launching our first sites in January we have seen local clubs, schools and teams from across the local areas all embracing the opportunity to play on the world-class facilities without weather, darkness or lack of pitch access limiting their ability to enjoy this great game”.
The opening of the artificial grass pitch is scheduled for July this year.