Multi-million pound plans to develop club
Plans to develop new multi-million pound facilities at Worcester Norton Sports Club (WNSC) have taken a major step forward.
The club has ambitions to develop a new £2 million building, offering state-of-the-art facilities to the local community.
During an extraordinary general meeting at the club members voted overwhelmingly to allow directors to take first steps towards setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC) to develop the site.
That will allow directors to work with legal experts to form a CIC structure, needed to take the project forward. Founded in 1983, the 15-acre site on Brockhill Lane is home to Worcester Norton Shooting Club and Worcester Cricket Club which, between them, have more than 800 members.
The facility, which was once home to the Worcestershire Regiment, also hosts Worcester Croquet Club.
Initial plans are to build a new sports hall with changing facilities and community meeting space. Work will also be needed to improve access and on-site parking.
Mike Goode, WNSC chairman, said: “Our buildings are currently sprawled across the middle of the site and the new facility will occupy approximately one third of the current footprint.
“We have a few challenges to overcome, such as asbestos removal and the many mature trees on site which used to line the old parade square. These are an intrinsic aspect of our playing space, as is the backdrop of Norton Barracks Keep.”
He added: “We have already carried out some preliminary work to prove the feasibility of the project but the real hard work starts now.
“We are fortunate to have a team of committed and skilled individuals determined to bring our plans to fruition and our doors are always open for anyone interested in becoming involved in this scheme or simply to enjoy the facilities which come with membership.”
Over recent years WNSC has been in discussions with Wychavon District Council and Worcestershire Cricket Board about grant funding to build a new combined sports and community facility at Norton.
With recent house building, improvements to the A4440 highway and construction of a new footbridge linking the club to St Peter’s, Battenhall and Whittington, the club wants to make sure it makes the most of the grant funding opportunity the construction work presents.
Worcester Norton Cricket Club has seen participation in the sport increase dramatically in the last five years, with four senior teams playing each Saturday and the club home to youth teams at every age group.
It has two pitches at Norton which are in constant use throughout the summer, drawing players from Worcester city and the Wychavon area.
The shooting club has five ranges used for airgun, rifle and archery, with a practical shotgun area.
Teams successfully compete in European and world shooting competitions and are planning to take part in the world shoot next year in the Far East.
“We already host a number of community events,” added Mr Goode, “including a weekly youth club, hiring out football pitches, community games, charity fundraising events, our Picnic on the Pitch event and an annual fireworks display.
“We now have ambitions to offer much more throughout the year and not just focussed around the cricket season.
“Our facilities are essentially based around the old Sergeants Mess and ancillary buildings built around 1900 and have suffered from a lack of investment.
“With the exception of our four-lane all-weather nets, the rest of our facilities are in desperate need of modernisation to meet the needs of our community.”