Rugby club displaced by HS2 given permission for new ground

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A Warwickshire rugby club faced with having to relocate because of the construction of the new HS2 high speed rail line has been given the go ahead to construct a new ground and clubhouse.

North Warwickshire Borough Council has given Old Saltleians conditional planning permission to relocate to its new home on a 16-acre site off Coleshill Road, Water Orton. The site is a short distance from its existing ground on Watton Lane.

Old Salts, which plays in the Midlands 2 West (North) Division, has been based at Watton Lane since 1954. The club applied for planning permission in December 2016 in anticipation of having to relocate due to the planned route of the new HS2 line, which will intersect the site of its current ground.

The new ground, which should be ready in 2019, will enable Old Salts to provide new facilities for players, fans and the local community. Measures include a 9,000 sq ft clubhouse, complete with bar, clubroom and lounge, men’s and women’s changing rooms, three full size senior pitches, (one floodlit), three junior pitches and a mini pitch, as well as 177 car parking spaces.

Phased construction of the new development is scheduled to start in May 2018 with completion in August 2019.  Rugby at the new ground should commence during the 2018/19 season.

Julian Harradence, a director of Old Saltleians RFC, said: “After many years pursuing the case for relocation, the club is pleased to have achieved a significant stage forward in achieving its objective.”

A plan of the new Old Salts ground

Property consultants Bruton Knowles advised Old Salts on the acquisition of the new site.

Ian Mercer, partner and head of development at Bruton Knowles in Birmingham, said: “The project has had its challenges and doubtless others remain to be resolved. However, it has been a real privilege to work with the club on such an important project, which will bring a great many benefits to the local community.”

Other advisers on the project include: AJA Architects; Nolan Associates, Civils; RLF Property & Construction Consultants; Couch Perry Wilkes, Environmental Engineers; Phil Jones Associates, Transport Planning Consultants; RammSanderson Ecology; Graceful Solutions, Project Manager; Bruton Knowles, Property Consultants and Squire Patton Boggs, Legal Advisers.

Club members also played a key role in directing the project since the initial HS2 announcement was made in 2009.