Home of their own

Joseph Bulmer

Bideford Rugby Football Club has taken ownership of its ground thanks to a community transfer from Torridge District Council.

Torridge District Councillors on the Community and Resources Committee agreed to approve the community transfer of the Bideford Rugby Ground to Bideford Rugby Football Club freehold for the sum of �40,000 after the Rugby Club had submitted a Community Transfer request with a detailed business plan for the site.

Council Leader James Morrish said, “As leader of Torridge District Council I am extremely pleased that we have been able to come to an agreement with Bideford Rugby Club which will allow them to expand their activities and benefit so many people in the community. We all recognise the huge contribution to the local community that the Club makes, particularly where the development of young people is concerned. It is right as a council we look at empowering local constituted organisations to follow their dream and it is obvious to me that so many people connected to the rugby club have worked so hard to be a leading example in the region of a community benefit. I’m really pleased that we have been able to successfully finalise the arrangements.”

Bideford Rugby Club Chairman Steve Massie said, “We classify ourselves as an active community club by providing facilities for over 200 young people between the ages of 7 to 18 and beyond. The club recently invested �400,000 in building new changing room facilities to enable a child safety environment and is now in the process of refurbishing the clubhouse to provide a new kitchen, disabled toilets and increased ladies and gents toilets. The asset transfer of the freehold of the ground has given security of tenure to those investments and has secured the future of Bideford RFC at King George’s Field for many generations to come. It has been a pleasure to work with the councillors and officers of Torridge District Council in this process and satisfying to see their commitment to supporting genuine community sports clubs throughout the area.”

This is the third community transfer Torridge has actioned in the last 12 months, all at below market value to reflect the level of support they provide within the community; land at Burrough Farm, Northam (adjacent to Torridge Pool) – the football pitch, open space and allotment sites – and land adjacent to the Seagate Hotel (car park and gig store) in Appledore – were transferred to Northam Town Council for �68,500 and �25,000 respectively in November last year.