£1.3m conversion plans for rugby club get the nod in Preston

Artist's impression of how the new clubhouse will look (by DC & MG Associates).
Artist's impression of how the new clubhouse will look (by DC & MG Associates).

One of England’s oldest rugby clubs is to undergo a 21st century conversion costing almost £1.3m.

Preston Grasshoppers RUFC has been given the go-ahead to extend its clubhouse and also create a community cycle hub and cafe to make it a focal point for the Guild Wheel.

Plans for the ambitious project have been given the thumbs up by the city council. Work could start in March and is scheduled to take up to six months.

Planners say the current clubhouse at Lightfoor Green has “a generally tired and outdated appearance.”

The main entrance is “understated and even uninviting.” Its main bar is also too small to accommodate match day visitors.

Local architects DC&MG Associates say its is proposed “to make the club entrance and reception areas more open and welcoming to the general community.”

The plans submitted involve the partial demolition of the existing building and the erection of a single storey extension comprising an enlargement of the existing bar area, a new beer cellar, new cafe, a new beer garden and a children’s play area.

The car park will also be reconfigured with the addition of 34 new cycle spaces.

Hoppers want their headquarters to become a community hub to serve the new housing developments across the north of the city.

They also want to provide a cycle hub because of its close proximity to the popular Guild Wheel.

“Whilst a cafe facility is available in Avenham Park at the south end of the Guild Wheel, there is no such facility available at the northern end,” says a report to the council.

“The club makes an ideal start or finish point. It is anticipated the facility will stock a range of cycling accessories and spares.”