Club House Development News Update July 2009

A letter form the club President.

Dear Friends and Colleagues

We have at last some positive news with regard to the club’s development plans. For those who couldn’t make the club’s AGM I will try to bring you up to date and for those who did the latest position as we seem to be progressing towards our goals.

Hugh, Merrik, Dave Stubley from the RFU and I had another meeting with a very reluctant Peter Amies, Head of Sport and Leisure at Rushmoor on the 5 June. Peter tried to put us off having the meeting saying there was nothing to add, no more money at this stage and unless we were bringing £600k to the table there was no point, but we insisted.

We began the meeting by confirming that the promised new pavilion was indeed the purpose of discussions. We pointed out that A & F had met and exceeded all the promises and targets set when we moved, but that all the hard work by the council and the club, particularly the junior section is in danger of declining due to the appalling state of the changing rooms, toilets facilities and lack of a club room / bar. It was acknowledged that the club continued to undertake running repairs of the existing facility but that they are now well beyond that point. Something needs to be done.

Peter stated that due to the current economic climate, the section 106 money that was expected to fund the proposed new development was no longer available at this time. As a Council they are fully behind the new development but currently they only have available £400K, with a possible £300K from the Football foundation totalling £700K. This gives a shortfall of £500K for a facility similar to the Southwood pavilion which has 8 changing rooms, a large function room, offices, store and kitchen finished to a high quality, total construction cost £1.2M.

We then proposed some alternatives including looking at fully modernising the existing changing rooms and building an extension out to the front giving the social space or providing this by way of a temporary building. This could cost £200K

Peter’s response to that was this would not be a favoured position for Rushmoor as this cost would mean that the funding set aside, would be used and the ideal solution of the new pavilion would not happen.

Dave Stubley stated that the RFU do have some funding but not £500K, he also confirmed that A&F RFC is on the RFU’s list of clubs that require funding to maintain the club development.

Dave suggested that a middle ground could be achieved by reducing the scope of the proposed construction but leave the building with the ability to extend (constructed in modules) when more funding becomes available. It was suggested that this could be a social space with toilet, bar & kitchen facilities together with 2 full size rugby changing rooms with showers etc., and an officials changing room for at least 3 people. This facility will be for rugby and therefore will not attract funding from the football foundation. This was discussed and agreed as a way forward, with A&F RFC taking an action to get some initial sketches drawn up and costed. These draft proposals to comply with the RFU guidelines and all statutory requirements, Peter agreed we could have the plans of the Southwood Pavilion as a guide. Dave also suggested we get the RFU’s architect involved as he is a Hampshire official, there should be no cost to the club and any RFU funding we may attract will be depending on the new facility meeting RFU requirements.

The proposals will be reviewed by Rushmoor and if acceptable and affordable they will provide funding up to the full £400K and start the planning process. If we can gain a licence or long term tenancy, funding may also be available from the RFU. Peter said that that could cause problems but the council would sign a letter to the fact that if the club was re sited the amount funded by RFU would be refunded on a pro-rata basis, this is the agreement set for floodlight funding so there is a precedent from both the Council and the RFU to this arrangement.

With a possible way forward the condition of the existing changing rooms was then discussed. Peter agreed that he would be willing to arrange an inspection of the changing rooms with Hugh and also fund the repairs or minor modifications up to a value of £25K. This inspection took place on Friday 5 July 2009 with Hugh, Merrik and Darren in attendance. An agreed list of works is being produced and submitted to Peter Amies for consideration. One of our long standing sponsors Hartley Services have pledged help and I am sure we can count on all members of the club to pull together.

What do we aim to achieve?

In the existing pavilion, a Ladies, Gents and Disabled toilets without entering the changing rooms. Clean re tiled efficient showers, changing facilities and toilets. A store/shop area, in short a Pavilion we are not ashamed of, one which we can use for the medium term.

New build, a club room, kitchen and bar for the Rugby Club plus two changing rooms for match days and an opportunity to have our own revenue source to build for ourselves the full project with the council as money becomes available.

I am sure you will all agree we are in a position to move the club forward and we can count on everyone’s support to make it happen.

Kindest regards

Malcolm Thomas
President

Where next?

Club House 2 Club House Update 30th March 2009 We have been informed that due to the current economic climate

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