Wasps confirm new training base in Henley-in-Arden
WASPS Rugby are set to move to a new high-performance centre in Henley-in-Arden after the sale of a 13-acre site close to the town.
The Premiership side, who play at the Ricoh Arena, have not had a training base of its own since moving to the region in December 2014, but WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) has agreed a deal to sell the site on Stratford Road.
Contracts have been exchanged, subject to planning approval, and the deal will see a new training base for the first-team and Academy set-ups, complete with two grass pitches, an all-weather surface, skills area and gymnasium.
The Club will shortly be submitting all applications with the aim of operating from the site for the start of the 2020/21 season.
Stephen Vaughan, chief executive (sports) at Wasps, said: “It is no secret that we have been searching for the right location to create a high-performance centre that we can call home and the site in Henley-in-Arden ticks all the boxes.
“It is important to have long-term stability around our training base location and owning our own centre will bring a number of advantages to the Club.”
Wasps’ first-team and academy currently train at Broadstreet Rugby Club and have been in discussions with Old Leamingtonians Rugby Club for several months about potentially creating a training base adjacent to its ground.
Vaughan added: “We have discussed the proposed move with our friends at Old Leamingtonians and Broadstreet and we look forward to maintaining strong working relationships with them as two strong local clubs.
“We would like to thank them for their understanding and co-operation, and they appreciate that the opportunity to have our own dedicated performance centre is the best option for the future of the Club.
“We will continue to liaise with WCG, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and other stakeholders throughout the planning process, in a move we believe will benefit not just Wasps but also the wider community.”
The site was previously a sports-focused college and preparatory school, but for the last three years has been run by WCG as a commercial sports centre.
Angela Joyce, chief executive of WCG, added: “As part of Wasps’ search for a training ground it became apparent that our Henley-in-Arden site could provide them with a state-of-the-art performance centre.
“The proceeds will be invested in supporting our students across Warwickshire and Worcestershire, and importantly to also develop a new partnership with Wasps which will benefit both organisations going forward.
“We are also working with current sports centre clients and we hope they will use our sports facilities at other nearby sites.“We believe this is a major opportunity for both organisations and we are looking forward to seeing the project progress and our partnership develop.”