Diggers move on to site of Wymondham Rugby Football Club’s future grounds
- Credit: Archant
Diggers are moving on to the site of Wymondham's future rugby club grounds.
It marks the start of more than a year of works that will see Wymondham Rugby Football Club's new £5.5m grounds built on 30 acres of farmland off Norwich Common, between the town and Hethersett.
Andrew Kilby, club chairman, said: 'It's fantastic to see work begin.
'It's been a long battle to get this far and there's a lot of hard work still to come, but now our dream is at last becoming a reality.'
The club's new site will have three full-sized natural pitches as well as further training pitches for youth and children's rugby.
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The first step will be to level the site before drainage systems are installed to ensure the club has high-quality pitches ready for the 2018 season.
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The main pitches will have deep drainage and two will have full floodlighting so they can be used in almost all conditions by the club's 22 different teams.
Mr Kilby said: 'We've only got two pitches at our current site on Tuttles Lane and no proper drainage.
'It means we're playing in a mud bath for months on end. We're going to swap that for some of the best playing surfaces in East Anglia.'
Work on a new two-storey clubhouse is due to begin later this year. The building will have six changing rooms, a rehab gym and meeting rooms as well as a bar, function room and balcony on the second floor overlooking the main pitch.
Mr Kilby said: 'This is going to be a fantastic facility that will take Wymondham Rugby into a new era.
'And it's not just for us – we want other local clubs and community groups to get involved. It's going to be a great asset for South Norfolk.'
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Coupled with the club's new home are plans to give its current Tuttles Lane site over to housing development, with 90 new homes to be built there.
An additional 300 homes are earmarked for a site to the south-east of the new rugby club off the B1172 Norwich Common, just to the west of the Elm Farm Business Park.
Access to the new rugby club will be through this new estate.
South Norfolk Council's planning committee unanimously rejected the vision in January 2014 in an effort to protect the strategic gap between Wymondham and Hethersett, and because of the extra pressure on education and other services the new homes would bring.
But Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for communities and local government, stepped in last September to overturn that decision.