Article by John Wilkinson
COVENTRY Rugby Limited is delighted to announce that it has secured the head lease for the entire eight-acre Butts Park Arena site.
Subject to the completion of formalities, the head lease will be placed with a new company majority-owned by and controlled by Coventry Rugby Ltd which places the future of the site in the club’s own hands.
The aim is to develop the site sympathetically with the principal objectives of improving facilities for spectators, players and other users; generating sustainable income to fund the club’s future development; and the engagement of the wider community in sporting and other events.
“Butts Park Arena is a massively underused facility with great potential and we intend to put it to good use,” said club chairman Jon Sharp (pictured).
“Of course, it will require significant investment over time, but initial studies have indicated that funds will be available for the right mix of commercial, sports and community development.
“This should secure the future for Coventry Rugby as well as providing a top class facility right in the centre of the City.”
The lease was originally granted to Coventry Rugby for the whole of BPA but, from its inception, had been divided into a head lease, for the whole site, and a sub lease for the pitch and stand.
When the club was rescued by the current board in 2010, with the support of the City Council and other benefactors a position was negotiated whereby the new club was granted a 125-year sub lease to the pitch and buildings, with rights of access via other parts of the site.
Over the following years the club has sought to regain the whole head lease which, happily, has now been achieved.
The board, led by Sharp, are determined that for the first time since the mid to late 1990s, the club should be the beneficiary of the development of the site. It will keep control of the head lease and ensure that it cannot be exposed to any attempted predatory action.
The aim will be to ensure that developments benefit the club in its professional and playing aspirations and that regular income will be generated to secure the very long term future of Coventry Rugby Club.
“The site has a great deal of potential and the options for its development will now be carefully examined to see which options are best for the club,” said Sharp.