Rugby league club puts forward scheme to open redeveloped base to community

Keighley News: Keighley Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett with plans for the Lawkholme Lane ground and, far right, how it looks at present Keighley Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett with plans for the Lawkholme Lane ground and, far right, how it looks at present

Keighley Cougars have unveiled a £5 million plan to revamp their stadium Ambitious blueprints have been put forward by the town’s rugby league club to redevelop its Cougar Park base.

New state-of-the-art facilities would be opened up to the community as part of the pulsating project.

A planning application for the first phase of the scheme – to rebuild the main stand – should be submitted to Bradford Council before Christmas.

Further work will then include the provision of modern changing rooms and redevelopment of the gym, education facilities and function suites.

The initiative has been welcomed by community leaders, who say it will provide a massive boost not just to the club but to the whole town.

Keighley Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett said the existing main stand dated from the 1930s and was in desperate need of major refurbishment.

“It has received a lick of paint over the years but otherwise has remained untouched,” he said.

“The plan is to completely strip back the wooden structure to the original steel frame and use that as the basis for a new design.

“We will be increasing the capacity of the stand, with covered seating for 870 and new terrace space to the front.”

The whole scheme would be carried out in nine phases, over about five years.

Funding would be obtained through a combination of grants and loans, and from public donations.

Mr Fawcett said the new stadium would provide a focal point for the town, and the benefits of the improved facilities would be felt by many people.

“It will give us more education space to work with schoolchildren from across the area,” he said. We already have a number of groups – such as toddlers and dancers – who use the facilities. It will improve provision for them but also provide an excellent, modern environment for other people looking for a venue.”

The venture has the support of the Rugby Football League, whose chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said: “The stadium already holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Keighley and this redevelopment will enhance its place as the focal point of the local community.

“The RFL will offer what practical help it can to assist Keighley Cougars realise their goal of providing a 21st-century facility that I am sure will encourage more people to become involved in rugby league.”

Keighley MP, Kris Hopkins, also welcomed the scheme.

"Cougar Park – where I am proud to say I have played myself – is looking tired now and is certainly deserving of a major upgrade,” he said.

“I hope the planned improvements will give a significant boost to the team on the field and encourage more spectators to go along and support the club.

“Better facilities will also enable the stadium to play an even greater role as a community resource. I know the club takes its community work very seriously and does a terrific job in bringing people together and encouraging an active lifestyle.

”The Cougars deserve great credit for these efforts and I hope the plans are able to proceed."

Riverside Design Studio Architects, based at Saltaire, said it had worked closely with the club, construction professionals and the council over the plans.

Spokesman James Robinson said: “Early discussions with Bradford Council’s planning department have been extremely supportive and a finalised proposal for the early phase will be submitted formally very shortly.

“It is an important first step to make the improvements necessary for the club to take forward its vision in respect of modern facilities for players, fans, education partners and the community as a whole.”

Comments (7)

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4:33pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Mixter says...

What are the chances of this original steel frame being in dire need of replacement along with the rest of the structure? I hope it all goes to plan, as the ground is indeed now 'tired' as suggested.
What are the chances of this original steel frame being in dire need of replacement along with the rest of the structure? I hope it all goes to plan, as the ground is indeed now 'tired' as suggested. Mixter

2:50am Fri 13 Dec 13

Martyn Sadler says...

£5 million will also get you a neat and tidy little stadium like Boston Utd Soccer Club have now. Consider that.
£5 million will also get you a neat and tidy little stadium like Boston Utd Soccer Club have now. Consider that. Martyn Sadler

11:24am Fri 13 Dec 13

audal says...

BUT. Will I be able to cross Hardings Road from Lawkholme Lane without putting my life at risk ?
BUT. Will I be able to cross Hardings Road from Lawkholme Lane without putting my life at risk ? audal

1:57pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Stevo54 says...

audal. just get a skin full of beer then close your eyes and run for it. Are they going to go back to an entrance on Hardings?
audal. just get a skin full of beer then close your eyes and run for it. Are they going to go back to an entrance on Hardings? Stevo54

8:14pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Dalecavasse says...

Fantastic prospect for the town and the keighley people, wish more people in general would get behind their home town club instead of it being a bit of a mockery and most people supporting Leeds Rhino's or The Bradford Bulls If even being interested in the fantastic game that is rugby league at all. The Rugby league World Cup that has just been hosted in England, Wales & France was a great taste of the game for those not interested in the sport. The fans, the tournament directors and indeed the players made it thrilling to watch and a very memorable tournament to have seen and to of been involved in. Great sport and this club deserves all the support, funding and help it can get to get cougarmania back buzzing through the town! Good luck for the new season and fingers crossed these plans go ahead!!
Fantastic prospect for the town and the keighley people, wish more people in general would get behind their home town club instead of it being a bit of a mockery and most people supporting Leeds Rhino's or The Bradford Bulls If even being interested in the fantastic game that is rugby league at all. The Rugby league World Cup that has just been hosted in England, Wales & France was a great taste of the game for those not interested in the sport. The fans, the tournament directors and indeed the players made it thrilling to watch and a very memorable tournament to have seen and to of been involved in. Great sport and this club deserves all the support, funding and help it can get to get cougarmania back buzzing through the town! Good luck for the new season and fingers crossed these plans go ahead!! Dalecavasse

3:27am Sat 14 Dec 13

nzbantam says...

Good to read something positive about my home town. As a young teen in the early 50s I spent many Saturdays afternoons down at Lawkholme, mainly behind the top goal posts or if the weather was real bad they might let us into the "scrattin" shed. We could never afford to go into the main stand, only grown ups went in there! I remember players like Jacky Mills, the wee fullback who could slot the goals over from the sideline with little effort it seemed. Len Ward on the wing with the best sidestep in the League. Melville de Lloyd, Freddy Barrett, George Elias, and BIG Chris Brereton in the front row are just some of the players I fondly remember. Keep it up Keighley-from down under it is really nice to read good things about my home town.
Good to read something positive about my home town. As a young teen in the early 50s I spent many Saturdays afternoons down at Lawkholme, mainly behind the top goal posts or if the weather was real bad they might let us into the "scrattin" shed. We could never afford to go into the main stand, only grown ups went in there! I remember players like Jacky Mills, the wee fullback who could slot the goals over from the sideline with little effort it seemed. Len Ward on the wing with the best sidestep in the League. Melville de Lloyd, Freddy Barrett, George Elias, and BIG Chris Brereton in the front row are just some of the players I fondly remember. Keep it up Keighley-from down under it is really nice to read good things about my home town. nzbantam

8:43pm Tue 17 Dec 13

billys says...

Great news for the Cougars and the town, and hopefully more schoolchildren will become more involved in such a great sport.
Great news for the Cougars and the town, and hopefully more schoolchildren will become more involved in such a great sport. billys

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