THE rugby club's plans for much-needed refurbishments have been strongly supported by Salisbury City Council.

The council's planning and transportation committee unanimously voted in favour of the planning application at a meeting on December 12.

Salisbury Rugby Club submitted plans to demolish the existing changing rooms, and replace them with six changing rooms, kit stores, a physio room, a laundry room and a match officials changing room, as well as a roof terrace, entrance canopy and access steps. The project, which they are fundraising for, is called All Change Initiative.

Councillor Margaret Willmot said the plans seemed to be "a necessary step to bring the club up to date" as it would be adding "the ability to host women at the same time as men" with additional changing rooms for women.

Other councillors were in support of the plans with Cllr Atiqul Hoque deeming it a "great idea" and Cllr Penny Brown adding: "I do commend the club and all its members for all of their hard work they are still putting into this."

The committee voted unanimously to strongly support the application.

Salisbury RFC chairman Richard Larcombe, whose first team play in National League 3 South West, said: "Salisbury RFC was officially formed in 1923 when players used to change in the back rooms of pubs in town, including the Red Lion. In the 1960s, we moved to a new prefab clubhouse at Stratford Road with timber built changing rooms close to our pitch.

"In the late 1970s the then Salisbury DC granted us a long lease and we built our existing clubhouse just off Castle Road, with bars and changing room space. However, since then, we have seen the introduction of mini and junior rugby and more recently the growth of girls and women's rugby and our changing rooms simply cannot provide the necessary private space for men, women, boys, girls and match officials to change in comfort and with the necessary privacy.

"We are committed to provide rugby for all members of Salisbury and south Wiltshire community and we are very grateful for Salisbury's overwhelming support for our initiative."

Wiltshire Council will decide on the application at a later date.