A NEW partnership has set out to deliver £1million plans to create modern sports facilities in Barnard Castle.

Barnard Castle Rugby Club has teamed up with The TCR Hub, Teesdale School and Durham County Council to provide a new site for the whole community including new rugby pitches, a clubhouse, additional car parking and changing facilities on land near to Teesdale School.

The project has been named the Teesdale Sports Wheel.

Project lead and chairman of the rugby club's junior rugby academy, Andy Howard, said teams currently play at pitches on the Demesnes, which is far away from their club headquarters in Birch Road. He said a lack of a clubhouse and outdated changing facilities also hindered the club.

"It's been the same for many years and has caused a variety of issues, for example on a Saturday, when the adults are playing, the spectators don't have anywhere to go and get food or drink so the club is losing out on revenue," Mr Howard said. "There's been real success in the club in the last couple of years especially in the junior and ladies' section but there's safeguarding issues there getting children down to the pitches.

"We have also become precluded from hosting matches because we don't have health and welfare facilities at pitch side."

Mr Howard said the team had already started talking to stakeholders and will be holding an open public meeting at The Hub, on Thursday, February 28, at 8pm.

Rachel Tweddle, of the Hub, said: "We are excited to see where this project goes. We can see some real positives for the whole community.’

Steve Howell, Durham County Council’s head of culture and sport, said: “We are always happy to support exciting projects like this which are looking to get more people involved in sport and physical activity and we have been giving advice to those looking to set up the Teesdale Sports Wheel.”

Andrew Crosby, head of estates for Teesdale School added: “We are delighted to be working together with the other project partners to deliver better school and community facilities. It’s an ambitious development and one that I know our students in particular are going to be really excited about.”