Monday, July 31, 2006

Deepings Rugby Club find new home?

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Things seem to have gone quiet on the drive to find a much-needed new home for Deepings Rugby Club.

For a long time, the driving force behind the potential move has been Chris Witcomb, who was club President until he stepped down recently.

The portacabin club house on Deepings School playing field is well past its sell by date, but Lincolnshire County Council don't want a new contract because there is a chance that a new comprehensive school could be provided under the Government's Building Schools for the Future scheme.

The favourite site for the new school has to be the current playing field.

It won't happen for at least a decade, but meantime, the club needs a permanent home.

The rugby club continues to grow from strength to strength - with more than a dozen teams of all ages turning out on a regular fixture list.

Deepings Showground - owned by the county council - was the obvious site. But the idea was quickly kicked into touch by county council leader Martin Hill who made it clear he considers the showground far more valuable as a site for a housing site.

(My personal view is that local councils have a responsibility to build infrastructure and strong communities, and should not just sell land off at maximimum profit for housing).

The county council offered to flog the rugby club a piece of land on the other side of the by-pass - hardly suitable to encourage youngsters on foot or bikes crossing the by-pass.

I was hopeful that we could negotiate letting the rugby club have the top corner of the school playing field - behind the skateboard park. Our MP John Hayes joined the campaign to support the rugby club.

But all seems to have gone quiet on the idea.

However, at the parish council meeting this week, a colleague said he'd heard there was a fresh prospect of a solution.

A parcel of land near Deeping St James railway crossing has recently been sold off and the word is that the new landowner has offered ther rugby club a plot which may be suitable for a new clubhouse along with a couple of pitches.

I don't know if this is a runner.

Whatever happens, it's bound to take a few years for a new clubhouse to be built.

And while the club is in a state of limbo, I see they have decided to tart up the old clubhouse with a lick of paint and new flooring.

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