MALVERN Rugby Club have agreed a new long-term extension on the lease of their Spring Lane ground for the next 25 years.
The deal struck with Malvern Hills District Council will allow the club to apply for funding to improve facilities including the clubhouse and changing rooms.
The council has also agreed to work with the club to secure funding to install an artificial grass pitch within five years.
This will be paid for from s106 funding, which is money paid by developers linked to new house building.
The artificial surface will meet Rugby Football Union guidelines and will replace one of the club’s three traditional grass pitches.
This will allow age groups to play successive matches on Sunday mornings as well as enabling league and North Midlands matches to be played on it.
There is also the hope that the surface can be hired out to local sporting clubs to provide income for the club.
Everyone at the club will welcome the news as it has long been an issue at Spring Lane that the pitches struggle with water.
The addition of a new artificial surface will benefit the club in a considerable way.
Malvern club secretary Kevin Purcell said: “The MRFC committee are delighted to have in principal reached this agreement, subject to sign off at our upcoming annual general meeting.
“We are grateful to Malvern Hills District Council for their actions matching their commitment to healthy living and using the outdoors to keep people fit and healthy.
“Their agreement to this long-term lease and the artificial grass pitch will mean we can continue to offer our sport to anyone who wants to play.
“It also means we can work with North Midlands Rugby Football Union to bring our changing facilities up to modern standards.”
Councillor Sarah Rouse, leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: “This agreement gives the club the security it needs to expand and extend the excellent work it does in the community.
“It will also contribute to one of our five-year plan priorities to improve people’s health and wellbeing by opening up the game of rugby union to even more people.”
The rugby club will eventually join the town’s football side in securing an artificial pitch after Malvern Town had one installed this season as part of a £1million development of the HDanywhere Community Stadium.
Town chairman Chris Pinder said on Twitter: “Well done to all involved at the rugby club from the footballers!
“The positive power of clubs and sport cannot be underestimated!
“Credit to Malvern Hills District Council who totally get that too. #UpTheVern”