Plans for extending the club progressed well during 2014. These would give us a new room, primarily for training but which could also be used for other purposes, a much-needed large workshop/store, better facilities for storage of documents, enhanced toilet facilities and a high level race officers’ control box which would allow us a better view of the progress of boats on the river. A brochure including architect’s plans was sent to all members and is downloadable here.
However, in September 2014 we received news that our application to Sport England for a grant of £75,000 had been turned down (although with a comment encouraging us to make a few tweaks and try again in the next round of applications). Just after that we had our first detailed report of the cost of our new venture. Having been working with an estimate of approx. £250,000, we found that the actual cost was likely to be more in the nature of £360,000. This is mainly due to the facts that our clubhouse is built on reclaimed land, part of it a rubbish dump, and that it is a very difficult site to access with large machinery. The Management Committee decided to call a halt to the project and evaluate possible alternatives.
A new working party (The Way Forward Group) was set up to investigate ways of fundraising, possibly reducing the cost of the project, perhaps altering the design to bring it further in line with what members felt was necessary, and finding out what members thought via a questionnaire. Prior to this a letter was sent to all members in August 2015 (see below).
Currently the Management Committee is breathing new life into the project to grace the north wall of our clubhouse with an iconic tiled mural, which had been temporarily shelved for technical and financial reasons. The original prize-winning design has now been rendered, minus identifying symbols to avoid potential Planning issues, as a simplified 25 by 5 tile array. Our illustration shows how this attractive abstract mural, some five metres wide, will look.
We have a new project to put a storage building at the back of the club. This will hold all the equipment currently stored in the black lockers on the patio, together with much of what is in the “Bosun’s Store Room”, the toilets, etc. There will also be room in it to work on boats under cover. It is anticipated that this will be in place by midsummer 2018.