Great news for Ledbury as a more secure future for sport is established in the town. Under a deal signed Monday 23 February, Herefordshire council as part of the ‘Community asset transfer scheme’ has agreed to transfer ownership of the Ross Road playing fields to the rugby club.
As well as ensuring the sports club has complete control over the site the move also ensures that the facilities will never be the subject of housing or commercial development
‘This is a huge managerial and financial commitment which the Club is taking on’
said chairman of Ledbury Rugby Club Jeremy Thomas.
‘Our partnership with the council has been excellent and we will be sorry to see it end. They have provided great support over the years. However, with increasing pressure on discretionary spend, the level of future support from the council was likely to be threatened by the need to divert resources to areas of critical need’.
‘The hard work starts now, but we are confident that we can step up a gear and in doing so safeguard the facilities for all the users of the site
‘The rugby club is largely run by volunteers and no players are paid. However, running a club with the excellent facilities we have is a hugely challenging job and we call on all sponsors, members and their families to continue their great support.
‘The Club is having a very successful season, running three senior teams with the first XV currently fifth in the League. The junior membership stands at 350 and for the second year in succession we have an under 16 player in the England squad.’
‘At timeswe are bulging at the seams’ says Mr Thomas, ‘but what a great position to be in’. ‘With England hosting the Rugby World Cup this year we are anticipating a big rise in membership. We look forward to giving more local rugby players and supporters the chance to play and enjoy the game at Ross Road.’
Councillor Harry Bramer, cabinet member for contracts and assets said
’The council is always looking for ways to transfer public assets to local groups and communities where it is appropriate. We are committed to encouraging individuals, communities and organisations do more for themselves and for their local area.
The rugby club already owns the majority of the building at Ross Road, having developed the site extensively over the last 20 years and managed the whole site as tenants. We are more than happy the great work will carry on and ensure that the playing fields continue to provide public use and enjoyment.’