‘We want to stay put’

Mark Westley Photography'Newmarket Rugby Club  v Crusaders'Harvey Bell ANL-150223-132817009
Mark Westley Photography'Newmarket Rugby Club v Crusaders'Harvey Bell ANL-150223-132817009

Newmarket Rugby Club are adamant they have no interest in relocating amid growing uncertainty over the future of their Scaltback home.

The Greene King Eastern Counties League Division One-outfit are still waiting on a final decision to be made on whether the lease at their current home on the Scaltback Middle School site will be extended beyond 2019 with no decision set to made until at least the end of next month.

Suffolk County Council have confirmed to the Journal a report has been commissioned into the existing 
site, while it is understood other locations — such as the unused St Felix Middle School site — have been put under consideration as a possible new permanent base for the club.

However, director of rugby Gareth Godfrey — pictured right — has made the club’s feelings clear on where they see their future.

“We want to stay where we are and that is our objective,” he said. “We know our lease is expiring and there are other options out there, but we want to ensure a long-term home and for us that is where we are.

“As far as I am aware there has been no objection to our plan of staying at Scaltback but there has been no concrete confirmation that we can, that is what we are waiting for.

“If we can secure a new lease then we can build a new clubhouse and look to develop — a delay in a final decision is holding us back.

“With that we could improve the level of rugby in Newmarket and certainly look to move the club forward.

“The most important thing is that it would give us certainty, and that is all the club really wants.”

Meanwhile in a statement to the Journal on the matter of the club’s expiring lease at Scaltback, councillor Jenny Antill — Suffolk County Council cabinet member responsible for resource management — said: “We have commissioned a report to look at how the Scaltback site can provide a long term, sustainable sporting facility in Newmarket.

“Our aim is to retain existing uses on site where possible, whilst increasing potential of the site to maximise benefit for the community.

“We are working closely with Newmarket Rugby Club and the Newmarket Sports Development Association as part of this study; the options being explored ensure the rugby club will continue to be able to use the open spaces.

“Detailed options for the site are being worked up and the final report is due to be published at the end of March.”