Plans for a new £1.7million club house and sporting facility unveiled at consultation event.

SPORTS in Ilfracombe could be about to receive the biggest boost in living memory if exciting £1.7million plans for the town’s rugby club can go ahead.

Visitors to a consultation event on Friday heard how the old clubhouse would be demolished and a new state-of-the-art facility built into the bank overlooking the pitch.

Club president Paul Crabb said plans for the club site at Brimlands had to be ‘the biggest and most extensive development of sports facilities in Ilfracombe in living memory’.

The new building would have three floors, with a ‘basement’ floor containing full changing facilities, gym and treatment room, while the first floor would boast a large members’ bar and function room area, with full view of the pitch.

A smaller third floor would include office space and a ‘media area’, that along with function room would be available for other local clubs, schools and community groups to use.

The plans would also include a smaller training pitch that could be used for youth rugby, five-a-side football and other sports.

“I’m tremendously excited by these plans, which would be a massive asset to both our club and the town,” said Mr Crabb.

“There’s a number of groups in the town that have come up with ideas, but that’s as far as they’ve got. At the moment we are driving this forward with our own money and although nothing has gone out to tender yet, in like for like terms it is a £1.7million development.”

Club chairman Miles Higginson said the proposed scheme was primarily about providing sports and facilities for the town and its youth.

“But it’s also about providing facilities for the building, that enable it to be self-sustaining into the future,” he said.

“The land we have at this club is one of the finest spots anywhere and this is about trying to recognise what we have and make the most of it.”

Mr Crabb said the RFU (Rugby Football Union) had already pledged some funding and there were a number of grant pots out there to apply for.

“We have already had some success attracting big clubs such as Bristol, which came down to use this as a training pitch for the weekend, but with a new facility we will be able to do a lot more and offer it to a range of clubs, including premiership ones,” he said.

“When they come down, they would train with our players, which will be a fantastic boost for local rugby.

“We think we can make this successful to the extent we’re not frightened of commercial funding either.”