The Cougarmania Foundation, the charity arm of Keighley Cougars, have submitted a planning application that would increase the Hard Ings Road ground’s capacity, allow TV crews to film matches and create new facilities that could be used by the wider community.
The existing stand at Cougar Park dates back to the 1930s, and would be demolished if the plans are approved. It would be replaced with a 2,000 seater stand with much better facilities and retain its title as the Danny Jones stand.
It would also create new community classrooms, a café, fitness studio and health suite that would be used by players, but also open to the public.
The club says the improvements are vital to the club’s ambitions to ascend to the Super League.
It is an interesting stance given the club’s avid opposition to IMG’s proposals.
It also comes at a time when the club are expected to allow star signing Luke Gale to leave.
It is expected that the scheme will be partly funded through the £33m Keighley Towns Fund.
The application says: “Due to the ambitions of the club and their endeavour to progress to the Super League, they are required to have a certain capacity and on-site facilities to meet the Rugby League requirements.
“As such, their current provisions are not considered to meet such requirements and there is a need for redevelopment of the ground to increase the capacity and provide vastly improved facilities.
“The existing stand which was constructed in 1935 comprises of steel portal frame with timber infill, whilst the rear parts of the stand are brick with ad hoc additions. The stand has a current capacity of 1,700.
“The existing stand is to be demolished and replaced with a new stand that will provide a capacity for 2,000 spectators.
“The stand will also provide modern changing facilities for both the home and away teams, along with a media room/pen, and function rooms. As part of any fixtures that the club may participate in at higher leagues, the games are televised, and as part of the operations a number of facilities are needed, thus the need to provide improved on-site facilities.
“The proposal also includes the provision of community facilities, including community classrooms, café, fitness studio and health suite.
“Consequently, the benefits associated with the development would extend beyond just the rugby club.
“The current provisions fall short of standards, and should the club be promoted, without sufficient facilities at Cougar Park, they may have to move elsewhere (or not be promoted) i.e., to another club’s venue and use their ground as a home venue, to the dismay of fans, and will subsequently adversely impact employees and the wider area, due to the lack of regular expenditure in the local area that arises as a result of the club playing at Cougar Park.”