Watersports clubs splash out on new base

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Watersports in Norfolk are set for a major boost if ambitious plans to create a new £800,000 rowing and canoeing clubhouse get the go-ahead. Norwich Rowing Club has joined forces with Norwich Canoe Club and boat clubs at the UEA, Norwich School, and Norwich High School to create the new state-of-the-art facility.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Watersports in Norfolk are set for a major boost if ambitious plans to create a new £800,000 rowing and canoeing clubhouse get the go-ahead.

Norwich Rowing Club has joined forces with Norwich Canoe Club and boat clubs at the UEA, Norwich School, and Norwich High School to create the new state-of-the-art facility.

Supporters believe the new clubhouse could provide the springboard to producing competitors able to compete at the highest level.

A planning application will be considered by the Broads Authority on July 22, which if successful would kickstart a major fundraising effort to build the scheme.

Max Heron, project manager, said the 500sq m building at Whitlingham County Park would house 200 boats, and has been designed to be in keeping with the local environment.

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“A new clubhouse will be a major step forward for the clubs and will enable even better support to be provided to people wanting to participate in these compelling water sports,” he

said.

“The plans have been discussed with Sport England, the Amateur Rowing Association and the British Canoe Union who have all confirmed their support.”

He said the aim was to see the clubhouse up and running by mid 2009, but the real work of securing the funding can only begin if

the planning application is successful.

“Once we know the outcome of the planning application, we will be applying to a range of sources for funding to support the development in addition to actively fundraising within the clubs,” he added.

“We are particularly keen to talk to local commercial organisations but we will also be approaching national and Lottery funding sources as well as Sport England along with the rowing and canoeing governing bodies.

The new facility will be close to existing outdoor sports facilities and Mr Heron said the clubs were actively developing their sports for the benefit of people of all ages and backgrounds.

Paul Hoey, advisor for outdoor education at Norfolk County Council, welcomed the plans.

“We hope it's successful and wish them well,” he said.

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