Works set to begin to provide Peterborough Rugby Club with ‘some of the best pitches in the country’

Major improvement works are set to begin at Peterborough Rugby Club to create ‘some of the best pitches in the country.’

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 4:58 am
Peterborough Rugby Union Football Club president Andrew Burgess (centre) with Councillors Jackie Allen and  Samantha  Hemraj, former player Neil Duffield from London Rock, Tom Downer, Ian Hamilton and Archie Bennett from the club at the launch of new improvement plans for the venue.
Peterborough Rugby Union Football Club president Andrew Burgess (centre) with Councillors Jackie Allen and Samantha Hemraj, former player Neil Duffield from London Rock, Tom Downer, Ian Hamilton and Archie Bennett from the club at the launch of new improvement plans for the venue.

The club, based at Second Drove in Fengate has joined forces with London Rock Supplies Ltd and Contour Golf in a major project to improve and modernise the facilities at Fortress Fengate.

The project will see the club benefit from one of the other major building projects going on in the city right now, the building of the Werrington Dive Under.

The new rail tunnel is set to provide an alternative route for slower freight trains, meaning they will not have to cross the East Coast Mainline at Werrington Junction and create a bottleneck for passenger trains north of Peterborough station.

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Artistc imppressions of the club once the renovations are finished.

This will require around 300,000m3 of inert (clean) clay to be dug out of the ground. As part of the deal, 70,000m3 of this will now be donated to the club to re-grade a number of the pitches.

The existing topsoil will be stripped so the imported clay can be placed down and while this is being done, drainage will be installed before the topsoil is laid and seeded.

The clay will help level out the main pitch, which has a slope of 1.6m from the left to the right, pitches three and four will be raised by 1.3m and the veterans pitch will be raised by a meter.

The results should see the club set up with some of the best pitches in the country.

Artistc imppressions of the club once the renovations are finished.

The plans also include the building of 24 new floodlight columns and ducting to allow further pitches to be used at night, a relandscaping of the grounds and the installation of a perimeter fence.

An ex-Peterborough RUFC player has actually helped to get plans off the ground, Neil Duffield, who now works for London Rock helped to come up with the idea in a conversation with Club President Andrew Burgess.

Andrew said: “The project came out of a chance conversation with Neil and when I heard about the amount of clay they were removing, I thought this could be a match made in heaven. A chance for the Werrington project to do some good in another part of the city as well.

“The final result will hopefully leave us with pitches that are kinder in the summer and that allow us to grow better grass in the winter. We hope they will be among the best in the midlands, if not the best in the country.

“In the future we will be looking to provide the facilities to match and in the next five or six years we will be looking at building a new club house but that is way off in the distance right now.

“The one thing this club will remain is the heart of the community. We have over 900 members from children the age of four, to the first team, ladies and girls, which is the fastest growing section, and touch rugby.

“We are a completely amatuer club, playing at the highest level we are likely to but we are all about our community and our members reflect the buzzing diverse nature of the city as a whole. We plan to go from strength to strength.”

The entirely volunteer-run club is in the final stages of securing planning permission, with preparatory work getting underway this week.

From start to finish, the work is expected to take around sixteen weeks in what will be the first major improvement to the pitches since the club made the move from the area which is now the East of England Showground 45 years ago.

The current grounds are on the site of a former council waste site, and although kept in good condition during the club’s time there, have not seen any upgrades and that was at the forefront of the club’s mind.

They are also keen to provide the best facilities for all of their members, which range from their Little Scrummers on a Saturday morning, up to the veteran sides known as the Juggers. They also have a quickly expanding ladies and girls section, many of whom progress onto the first team.

Vice Chairman Archie Bennett added: “This development will make a huge difference to us. The pitches are deteriorating rapidly and now will need to be levelled, re-drained and seeded with pitches being on their own separate levels.

“The project is environmentally friendly and a win-win situation for all parties involved. This is the biggest project the club has embarked on in many years and will elevate the facility to a new level. It is believed to be the largest amatuer sports ground improvement being carried out at the moment within the city.

“Our aim is to encourage the community to join us at Fengate and our main goal is to provide them with the most enjoyable experience we can and by improving the facility, we go a long way to doing that. We believe that this improvement will be the envy of all the visiting teams who arrive at the club.

“We have long term plans to build a new clubhouse and the drive to do this is enhanced by this latest venture. The club would like to thank London Rock and Contour Golf for giving us the opportunity to work with us, and we look forward to delivering this project to our members and the larger community within the city.”

The club have asked anyone who may wish to sponsor the building of the new floodlights to get in touch. Visit the club website at: https://peterboroughrufc.rfu.club/.