Westcliff RFC has started 2020 with a bang, relocating to brand new purpose-built facilities, hot on the heels of its recent promotion to National League 2 South.
A non-profit community sports club, Westcliff prides itself on its inclusive environment. Named ‘Club of the Year’ by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, it starts 2020 with a 10,000 sq. ft. new state of the art building, with four senior rugby pitches and a further six junior pitches and training areas.
The move comes courtesy of property developer HBD and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council who are currently delivering the 21 ha, multi-use Airport Business Park Southend, which the Club borders, supported by £23m funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and £8m from the Council.
Overall, £150m is being invested in delivering high-quality space and infrastructure, building a collaborative ecosystem that acts as a catalyst for growth.
The club’s new home was built by local firm, AW Hardy, underlining HBD’s commitment to working with local contractors wherever possible.
Harry Bunbury, Director at HBD, said: “2019 was a fantastic year for Westcliff RFC – we’re very pleased to be able to support them in delivering this brilliant new facility, which will be enjoyed for many years to come and will be central in supporting their efforts as the club continues to grow.”
Pete Jones, Chairman of Westcliff Rugby Football Club, said: “2019 was a great year for Westcliff RFC, topped off with the move to our new ground – the team involved in making it happen have done a fantastic job, and we’re looking forward to a successful future in our new home.”
Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “This is an exciting new chapter for the newly promoted club and local rugby fans, and it is also an exciting next step in the development of the Airport Business Park Southend. The site is vital to drive opportunity, prosperity and economic growth of both Southend-on-Sea and the wider region. It will create more local employment, and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs, local business to expand and new ones to invest.”
Leader of Rochford District Council, Cllr Mike Steptoe, said: “I would like to wish Westcliff Rugby Club all the best in their new purpose-built facilities; it was great to see their new home which offers exciting opportunities for the years ahead.
“This is a significant step in the Airport Business Park project, with IPECO holdings due to move into its new home early in the New Year. This site offers a world-class industrial park designed to attract businesses that want opportunities for growth, while bringing economic prosperity to both Rochford District and Southend.”
Airport Business Park Southend forms a central part of an ambitious new vision for the area. It will comprise flexible business space, large-scale industrial and warehousing facilities, along with a hotel. Infrastructure works are continuing on site, with construction underway for IPECO Holdings’ 124,000 sq. ft. unit. Planning has also been approved for the Launchpad by Rochford District Council, a dedicated facility designed to champion innovation in the area for start-ups and SMEs. A procurement process will take place this year to select an operator for the building, and £180,000 of sustainable cities funding has also been secured by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s energy team to improve the building’s environmental credentials.
A detailed report on the progress of the project will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on Thursday 16th January 2020.