Never-say-die spirit Wasps Kent home plans



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Wasps maybe on the move to a new stadium in Kent Image: Wasps

In a groundbreaking move forward, the professional rugby union team Wasps RFC recently announced its intention to establish a long-term home in Kent (UK).

‘WASPS’ stated that the club is actively engaged with the Sevenoaks District Council in West Kent, England (UK) to identify a suitable location and ensure that the development meets both the needs of the club and the broader community.

The Wasps Rugby Football Club was a professional rugby union team. They last played in Premiership Rugby, the top division of English rugby, until being suspended on October 12th, 2022. On October 17th, 2022, the club entered administration, resulting in relegation from the league and all staff being made redundant. They exited administration on December 16th, 2022. The Ricoh Arena is the home ground of the Wasps Rugby Football Club.

The club is planning a new ‘Wasps Nest Stadium’ and a return to Premiership by 2025-2026.

The Sevenoaks District Council is a local Council in Southeast England that provides district-level services. The Council serves a population of around 114,000 people across a large area of West Kent.

‘WASPS’ further stated that building on the rich 156-year history of Wasps, this move signifies a new chapter in the club’s journey, reaffirming its commitment to professional rugby. In a statement on October 17th, the club discussed its strategic journey since October 2022. Having faced significant challenges with regulation and funding, the club has persisted with its determination to revive Wasps at the highest possible level.

As the development progresses through its planning stages, Wasps will be actively exploring temporary facilities to underpin its operations in Kent. Whilst determined to establish a base in the Southeast of England, the club has also agreed an option of utilizing the former professional rugby union club Worcester Warriors’ Sixways ground for both training and playing purposes, without in anyway replacing Worcester Warriors RFC and indeed committed to assisting their return to competitive rugby.

The Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club was a professional rugby union club founded in 1871 that played in the top division of the sport in England, Premiership Rugby. In May 2023, it was announced that the Atlas Group had completed the purchase of Worcester Warriors.

The Sixways Stadium is a stadium in Worcester, England (UK) with a capacity of 12,067. It opened in 1998 and is used for rugby union and association football matches.

A Wasps spokesperson said, “The journey of Wasps has been one of passion, resilience and commitment to the game. Our determination to secure a new, sustainable future for the club has never been stronger. By working with the Sevenoaks District Council, we hope to build a long-lasting legacy that acknowledges our storied past and charts an ambitious future.”
 

Stadium and Training Ground Proposal

The Wasps Rugby Football Club has put forward an early proposal for a new multiuse stadium, training ground and a hotel as part of its Local Plan ‘Call for Sites’.

‘Sevenoaks DISTRICT COUNCIL’ stated that the Local Plan sets out what could be built and where in the next 15 years and the ‘Call for sites’ identifies potential development sites that could be included in our new Local Plan.

The location of the proposed stadium, training ground and hotel is the Pedham Place area on the outskirts of Swanley, Kent.

‘Sevenoaks District Council’ further stated that one will have an opportunity to comment on Wasps’ proposal (and all other ‘Call for Sites’ proposals) at its next Local Plan consultation from November 23rd, 2023 to January 11th, 2024 (this consultation is subject to Cabinet approval on November 9th, 2023).

As a top-tier club with an international profile, the Sevenoaks District Council believes this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Wasps would bring unparalleled economic, sports development, health, education, skills, and cultural benefits to the district and the Sevenoaks District Council are keen to explore how that could be achieved.

However, the public and partners will all need to have their say on Wasps’ proposals before it could be considered for inclusion in the new Local Plan.

The Wasps’ proposals would also require planning permission, which again would give the public an opportunity to have their say and actively engage in the process.

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