8 Mar '24

Artificial Grass Pitch

On Thursday 7th March 2024 at 6pm, supported by club Chair David Leworthy, junior Chair Rob Parish & club President Phil Crouch, Jamie Morris outlined the history, stages and needs for Bideford RFC to establish an Artifical Grass Pitch (AGP) for use by the club and the wider community

In a room full of club coaches, players and parents Jamie outlined the key elements within the 5 topics, relating to the club and our ongoing growth.

The club has an envious problem to solve. How to fulfil all of the planned fixtures for our ever growing junior section.

The junior section has 315+ players registered and as such has planned for 156 home maches in the 2023/2024 season. Sadly, mostly due to bad weather and pitch resource availability around 40% of these have been cancelled.

In summary…

  1. Main pitch
    1. Club owns
    2. To turn into an AGP would be >£1m
    3. 1st Team want a grass pitch
  2. Outside pitch (es)
    1. King George V land
    2. >£100k to make any real improvements
  3. Cattle Market
    1. Announced on Monday through the BBC that the club will be asigned this land by the council
    2. Process started in summer 2020
    3. Could be an 80% size pitch 
    4. Would need around £1,2m to complete
    5. Would be a community facility 
    6. 5-10 year fund raising project 
  4. Kingsley AGP
    1. Existing 3G pitch to be developed 
    2. 50/50 relationship to take a long lease on the use
    3. Club funds £300k for the new AGP pitch
    4. Trusts / Funds / Donations needed to raise the money
    5. Bideford RFC & Kingsley School pre allocate use slots, the rest of the time it can be rented to other groups
    6. Opportunity to allow community groups to also use 
  5. Kingsley Partnership
    1. Guarantees winter pitch resources
    2. Changing facilities etc can be used
    3. Still return to the club house post games
    4. Also have access to grass pitches
    5. Share resources for maintenance ongoing
    6. A full partnership to increase the amount of rugby that can be played in Bideford
    7. The Kingsley teams may want to play some evening games on the main pitch 

Following the presentation it was opened up to the audience for questions:

  1. Is the club doing ALL of the projects? 
    1. Not all at once, priority is for the AGP
  2. What if we did not do the Kingsley pitch?
    1. Nothing would change from where we are now.  Other options have been exhausted, including finding playable flat land are not available
    2. Worst case we may need to restrict numbers partaking 
  3. Is the 15-20 year lease long enough for grants?
    1. We will have a lease that meets the grant requirements.  To be confirmed
    2. There is a hope that the partnership can be setup in a way to meet all funding needs and maximise support for the wider community 
  4. Is the Kingsley pitch full size?
    1. No.  It is 6m short for adult first team games but suitable for all age group games
  5. Is there scope to add flood lights to the grass pitches at Kingsley
    1. Maybe in the future
  6. How will we ensure the club always gets enough access to the facilities?
    1. It will be a long term 50/50 relationship and we will agree mutually what is best for all parties
  7. How will we manage parking with multiple teams on a Sunday?
    1. There are 140 spaces within 80 yards of the pitch
  8. What are the next steps?
    1. Bideford RFC and Kingsley school to take the inputs from tonight and work through funding opportunities
    2. Fund raising 
  9. Is it 3G or 4G?
    1. Pitch specification is to be confirmed.  It will however meet IRB regulations 
    2. The correct (IRB) reference to this type of pitch is Artificial surface or AGP
  10. Will there be regulations on kit, boots etc?
    1. Yes there will be, but you can wear clean stud boots
  11. Is the maintenance considerable for these types of pitch, have we looked into this?
    1. Once we have more detailed conversations with the manufacturers we will know this detail
  12. Junior Sunday matches, how confident are we that the travelling players and parents will come to the club house after a fixture?
    1. It is our desire and we will work on ways to help make it happen

Rob Parish asked the room, through show of hands, who was in favour of the approach being proposed – the overwhelming majority raised their hands in a show of support

Following the meeting, the pitch co-ordinator for the club, said:

“We have struggled to support even 60% of our planned home games, going to extremes of renting other club pitches, in the area, even as far as playing junior cup games at West Buckland school. We need an urgent resolution and this sounds like just the thing”

Some resources and additional reading:




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