OTLEY Rugby Union Football Club have confirmed that they will be playing at Cross Green for the whole of next season.

There was a possibility, if things moved forward swiftly with the East of Otley Relief Road, that the National League Two North club may have moved away from their headquarters as early as next Christmas, with their ground becoming retirement flats built by McCarthy & Stone.

However, Otley RUFC members were told at a meeting in their clubhouse on Tuesday night that Leeds City Council had not yet submitted a planning application for the relief road.

Otley RUFC chairman Paul Mackie told members: “We will submit our planning application to move next to the relief road at the same time, but the catalyst is the East of Otley Relief Road.

“The likelihood now is that it will be late summer when the planning applications go in.

“We will be playing at Cross Green for the whole of next season but will need to find somewhere else to play from August 2020 to August 2021 while the building work takes place at our new ground. We are talking to several local clubs about using their facilities, and we are very close with one club, but I am not prepared to say more at this stage.”

Ilkley-based Halliday Clark Architects then showed Otley RUFC members updates of the initial proposals for the new club, which is adjacent to Old Otliensians, with tweaks having been made to fit in with Otley RUFC members’ requests.

While the proposed new clubhouse is three times bigger than the one at Cross Green (2,270 square metres compared to 764), the architects, represented by David Halliday and Richard Arthur, have been mindful to try and keep the general feel of what the members currently have.

There will be four full-size pitches (12 pitches in all, including those for juniors), stands either side of the first-team pitch with seating for 370 (200 and 170), covered terracing, an outside bar, a café for cyclists, a bike store and parking (193 spaces).

Inside there will be a large function room suitable for gala dinners, weddings and funerals, meeting rooms, a dance floor and stage, a long bar area incorporating an open fire, a kitchen, a café, medical rooms, a club shop, a general office and toilets.

A manager’s flat is incorporated as it is envisaged running the premises will be a full-time job.

There could be as many as eight changing rooms (two-and-a-half times as big as at Cross Green in terms of area), although six was also mentioned; exercise rooms that can be used, for example by Otley Karate Club; a weights room, a gym (possibly for public use), kit rooms and a physio area.

The new Otley RUFC premises will be for use by the community rather than just for club members, with karate, pilates, hockey, gym, badminton and netball being possible options, although it will be a rugby club at heart.

Mackie added: “Over the next few weeks it is vital that we set up three committees – finance and cash flow; marketing and business development and design and operational structure – so we need volunteers to come forward.”

Otley RUFC also want to change to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation or a Charitable Company Limited by guarantee.

The club would then be run by trustees who would be answerable to an executive committee.

There were too many unknowns for members to take a vote on the night – but they did give the club’s executive committee the go-ahead to keep working towards this goal, with a view to holding a special general meeting, possibly in early summer, to take a binding vote.