Ground developments at JRFC21/03/2012
In order to accommodate the growing numbers of spectators watching Jersey's 1st XV, the club hopes to make a series of improvements to facilities at St Peter.
Four planning applications were lodged with the States this week covering a proposed new terrace, significant improvements to the JRFC clubhouse, a new parking area for match-days and new road access to this parking area.
This season the club has averaged more than 2,000 spectators for home games in National League One and twice in recent months crowds have topped 3,000. The average figure is more than double the 1,027 average for last season, which in itself was significantly higher than any previous campaign.
JRFC Chairman Bill Dempsey said the club hoped to improve facilities so that it was possible to cope comfortably with crowds of 3,500, reflecting the current popularity of the game among supporters on the Island.
"We have accommodated big crowds in previous seasons for one-off matches such as play-offs or the Siam Cup, but now we are seeing crowds approaching that level for every home game," he said. "The club wants all spectators, whether they are local or visitors to the island, to have safe and comfortable access to the ground and facilities, hence we have some significant improvements on the drawing board, subject to planning consent."
The four applications cover:
* Terrace at eastern end of the ground. The plan is to remove the bank at this end of the ground and replace with a shallow terrace. This would have four steps with the highest step being 60cm above pitch level, and an approximate capacity of 1,000 people. Following discussion with the Transport & Technical Services department, the proposed work would also include ceding a small strip of land outside the ground along Rue des Landes to provide a pavement on a narrow stretch of road where pedestrians currently have to use the road itself.
* Extension to the clubhouse. The proposed improvements include enlarging the clubhouse to provide more space and better facilities. The plans include a larger bar area, new gym, members' area, increased office and kitchen space, plus accommodation for players.
* Change-of-use for the clubs Pitch 3 to allow parking on match-days.
* Plans for a new entrance to provide direct access to Pitch 3 from the main (airport) road on match-days, ensuring safe and convenient access for spectators and minimising disruption to traffic.
Bill Dempsey stressed that the application for planning permission was just part of the process.
"As a members' club we will also be seeking backing for these plans from our members at a general meeting, and we will also need to make sure that we have the necessary funding in place for the projects, particularly the plans for the clubhouse," he said.