Orrell RU and Winstanley Park aim to set-up home
Orrell Rugby Union will share a new home with Winstanley Park Cricket Club under 'exciting' new plans drawn up.
The proposed facility includes two rugby pitches, a cricket pitch, a sports pavilion and a 100-space carpark on 13 acres of farmland next to Winstanley College, off Winstanley Road.
A planning application has been submitted and club officials are hopeful the venture will get the green-light.
If so, it will end Orrell’s near-decade long hunt for a permanent home.
Chairman Tony Havlin, who has submitted the planning application, said: “It’s exciting, because we have been without a home for nearly 10 years.
“We have done a very professional job with the application and we are hopeful and quietly confident about it.
“We also recognise there’s a long way to go and there’s a lot of fundraising which needs to be done, but we’re ready for the hard work which will lie ahead.”
The Black and Ambers left Edge Hall Road in 2007 after a failed promotion bid to the top-flight.
Since then, they have been playing as an amateur outfit on pitches at St John Rigby College on Gathurst Road, while searching for a site to put down roots. Winstanley Park were also looking for a new home after their landlords asked the cricket club to consider relocating from its base.
The two clubs decide to go into partnership to create a “sports centre that will also be open to the local community for a variety of other activities”.
They secured a 99-year lease on farmland just south of Winstanley College, and representatives from both clubs have formed a steering group for the ambitious project.
They have met with their respective sports governing bodies, and held talks with the management at Winstanley College about forging a ‘sporting hub’ at their purpose-built facility.
The propospal is now with the council’s planning department.
Neighbours have already been contacted and been asked to raise any concerns by the end of this month.
But it has been listed as ‘delegated’, meaning planning officers – rather than a committee of councillors – are expected to decide whether to grant permission or not.
A decision is expected early in the new year and, if the scheme gets the green-light, club officials hope to start work on their new home in 2018.
Wigan architects NPS has drawn up plans and drawings of a proposed new pavilion/clubhouse, which is scheduled to be built in two phases.
They are attached to the planning application and can be seen via the council’s website.
Orrell – one of the country’s top rugby union club sides 25 years ago – currently have two open-age teams, a Colts side and a bustling junior section.
Winstanley Park have been operating on an annual lease on their current home, also on Winstanley Road, since 2003.
They run two adult sides and four junior teams.
Between them, both clubs already boast 450 members.