WITH DIGGERS ready to break ground on a new community rugby facility for Hereford, a group of local residents has lodged another appeal to the High Court, delaying construction.
A hearing in May will review planning permission just five months after Hereford Rugby Club got the go-ahead from the High Court to relocate from its flood-prone Wyeside ground.
And, with a successful season drawing to end, the Midlands One club face entering another off-season with their off-field plans once again in limbo.
Club spokesman Robin Davies said: “We’re just waiting to see what happens again – there isn’t anything else we can do.”
In 2012 Hampton Bishop Parish Council applied for a judicial review of the planning permission granted for a new club – and 190 homes.
A High Court ruling last December rejected each point of contention but the parish council has been told that two of its objections may have grounds for appeal.
And now a hearing in May has been scheduled to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to overrule the High Court decision.
Taking a heavy financial toll on both sides, the lengthy process of appeals has been running since Herefordshire Council gave the city rugby club its backing in 2011.
While there is some concern that another win for the club would only be met with a further appeal to the European Court of Justice , club spokesman Guy Griffiths insisted that as should this hearing be passed, work will begin on the site in Hampton Park immediately.
Set to feature four rugby pitches, an all-weather pitch, a clubhouse, a stand and a car park, the new ground would be a significant upgrade on the club’s current facilities and give it a secure base for the future.
It would also allow the club to hold the type of functions and pre-match dinners for sponsors that are necessary for clubs to finance themselves at National League level.
The homes attached to the planning application, to be built by Bloor, would help fund the project.
And the club’s ground on the banks of the River Wye would then be sold to Herefordshire Council for £1 – a point of contention for the parish council, who believe that part of the deal should have not been taken into consideration when approving planning permission.