Diggers move in to make start on £8m Frenchay sports centre

Published on: 28 Mar 2016

WORK is finally under way on the new Shaftesbury Park community sports centre at Frenchay, which will become the new home for Dings Crusaders RFC.
The £8 million development on Frenchay Park Road, opposite the old hospital site, will include a new clubhouse with gym; two full size rugby pitches, one of which will be an artificial surface; junior rugby pitches and meadowlands, all set in 26 acres.
Planning permission was granted in September but the approval of the Secretary of State was required before the diggers could move on to the former market garden site, which is in the Green Belt.
Initial works will include demolition of the buildings on the site, archaeological and ecology investigations and further site clearance. Some trees and hedgerows were cleared last month before the bird nesting season starting. No more landscaping will be removed and a massive landscape planting programme forms part of the project.
The development is funded by the Lockleaze Recreation Ground Charity following the sale of its current ground in Landseer Avenue, which has been the Dings Crusaders’ base for more than 60 years.
Ray Bowden, of the charity, said: “The new ground has been a long time coming and with works now getting under way, it’s a significant moment in both the charity’s and club’s history. This will be only our third home in our long history - over 110 years!
“We have been looking for a suitable site for over ten years and have considered many locations as the current facilities are rapidly deteriorating and it would only have been a matter of time until we had no option but to leave Lockleaze.
“As it is, with hard work and determination from all involved, we will soon have one of the best sporting facilities in the west country, if not the south west. This will allow us to focus on developing the charity’s business case so that we have a vibrant and successful centre, allowing Dings to concentrate on recruiting new players at all levels and enhancing its depth of rugby talent and on-field activities – in parallel with what we hope will be a thriving community sports hub.”
After site clearance, the build programme - new clubhouse and pitch laying - will start in early summer and will be finished by next summer so that Dings Crusaders can settle in before the start of the 2017/8 season.
Once the transition is complete, Redrow Homes will begin work almost immediately on a housing development at Landseer Avenue.

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