Development plans unveiled by clubs
Development plans which will give a major boost to two sporting clubs in Stone but will see more houses built in Walton have been unveiled.
Planning applications for 73 homes on the former Stone Rugby Club site in Tilling Drive, Walton, and a new clubhouse at Stone Hockey Club in Enson Lane, Aston, have now been submitted to Stafford Borough Council.
The schemes are linked as Stone Rugby Club plan to move from their inadequate Tilling Drive ground and share improved facilities at the town’s hockey club. It is feared that the rugby club would not survive if the move does not go ahead.
Funds for the proposed new club house and five new rugby pitches (two for adults, three for juniors) at the Enson Lane site will be provided from the sale of Tilling Drive for housing. A payment to the rugby club of £400,000 has been agreed.
Midlands-based property consultancy Harris Lamb is working with the two sporting clubs on the planning application. John Williams from Harris Lamb said: “Stone Rugby Club’s current facilities consist of just one pitch and a prefab in which the players can change. These poor facilities represent a major block on the club’s development and the site is not big enough to run more than one adult team or rugby for children. The club needs to look elsewhere. The new facilities planned for Enson Lane will also represent a step forward for Stone Hockey Club.
“When we explained these proposals to the local community, there were concerns about traffic generation and the use of Tilling Drive. Our proposals are to access the new housing from the A34 with only a handful of properties accessed via Tilling Drive. Furthermore, our plans provide new parking and a turning area for school buses which will alleviate the impact they currently have on Tilling Drive.”
The plans are supported by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and England Hockey, the national governing bodies for the two sports.
The RFU warn: “It is clear that the rugby club is unsustainable in the Tilling Drive area with no access to social facilities. The movement to Stone Hockey Club will provide a more sustainable venue with two new rugby pitches and the opportunity to grow a junior section. It will undoubtedly also contribute to a more sustainable structure for the hockey club with improved facilities and visibility.”
Michael Topley, chairman of Stone Hockey Club, said: “There will be a significant sporting gain if these plans are approved. The clubs are in the process of amalgamating based upon a business plan which will deliver improved sporting facilities at Enson Lane and which are crucial to the long-term development and survival of both clubs.”