Cheshire: Club seeks investment for new boathouse and community asset

Runcorn Rowing Club was granted planning permission in 2022 for the proposed new £2m facility, and has so far raised £150,000. Its existing boat house has up to 400 visitors a week, including club members, sea cadets, university and school students.

The club was founded in 1894 and is affiliated to British Rowing – the national governing body for the sport – but says its existing site is no longer fit for purpose.

The new-build clubhouse would be located on the banks of the River Weaver Navigation and feature a large boat storage area on the ground floor for canoes and rowing boats, an area for storage of launch boats, changing room and toilet facilities, weights and indoor rowing training area.

There would also be a first-floor club social area, a meeting room and storage area, a bar area and kitchen, car parking and a new water treatment plant.

Runcorn Rowing Club development coordinator Sue Sljivic said it was keen for the boathouse to become a resource available to local community groups, something that was not feasible with its existing inadequate facilities.

The club also wants to secure corporate sponsorship and donations and plans to continue to offer team-building days for businesses.

She said:  “This is designed to really serve the broader community, something the club has been committed to since it began 130 years ago.  We want to offer dedicated facilities that really are fit for purpose and be able to meet the community demand, while significantly increasing participation in the sport.”

Sue said new facilities would help the club to support the sport’s Olympic stars of the future, while also opening the club to new users and providing space for social and community activities.

She added the money raised to date had enabled the club to obtain planning consent, undertake technical studies and employ architects with experience in boathouse design.

She said: “We have undertaken site investigation and are preparing construction tender documents for the new build. We are short of about £1.8m to complete the project we would like to achieve. We anticipate that the entire project would take six to nine months to complete.”

The RSK Group, based in Helsby, Cheshire, is supporting the initiative with environmental, engineering and technical services and as a key sponsor. The club has also received support from the Marshes Community Benefit Fund and Canal and River Trust. Applications are pending with the National Lottery Fund.

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