The plan to give Priory Lane a major facelift has been officially called “Securing the club’s future” and according to Rosslyn Park’s managing director Shaun Justice, that is no understatement.

Park submitted a planning application to Wandsworth Council last month for proposals costing up to £1.5m.

The work would include new digital advertising displays and a new stand on the Upper Richmond Road, as well as a new artificial pitch.

Central to the application was the desire to create a hub for community use, and the council – faced with a 95 per cent approval rating from an online poll – granted permission last month.

Park have up to five years to complete the work, but Justice believes the advertising displays, which can display a different message every six seconds, and pitch will be in place by May, and the revenue generated will fund the remaining work.

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It is estimated that revenue from the advertising displays, which would form part of a redeveloped landscape, would reach around £170,000 every year.

Justice said: “We’ve been having discussions about this plan as far back as five years ago, but for the past two years it has started gathering momentum.

“We worked so hard to make sure the application was as comprehensive as it could be, we did not want to give the council any reason to turn it down.

“When the decision was announced, it was probably the most significant day in the club’s history.

"I have to admit to having some sleepless nights as we waited on the decision, so when it was announced it was a relief and we had a good night.”

He added: “The whole idea of the artificial surface is that, on days like last weekend for the Richmond game, we’d have games on the pitch from nine o’clock in the morning all leading in to the showcase game.

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Big draw: Games, like last weekend's win over Richmond featuring a Mark Ireland, far right, try, can be preceded with build-up games on an artifical surface          Picture: David Whittam

“The place would be packed out with players and families, and we’d really be able to build that one club atmosphere.

“It would also enable us to do so much more in the community. We have so many schools and clubs around that simply don’t have the resource for good rugby coaching.

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“We have players who want to get involved in that respect, and the problem is at the moment we do not have the funds or the facilities – these proposals change all that.”

Rosslyn Park, who were established in 1879, remain a part-time side and currently sit second in National League One, behind full-time outfit Ealing Trailfinders.

It makes Park the most successful semi-professional club in the country, and with that comes the need to move forward.

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All smiles: Rosslyn Park managing director Shaun Justice

Justice said: “This work is absolutely essential. The cost of remaining an ambitious National League One club is very high, and you get nothing from external bodies or the RFU.

“Financially it is the toughest league to play in because you have the cost of travelling all over the country, and you have to pay your players to remain competitive, otherwise you will drop out of the league.”

He added: “But we can now plan ahead rather than firefight and plug holes to balance the books every year.

“We had also considered looking at sites away from the area. That was something we really did not want to have to do because we’re right in the middle of the community here.

“This proposal means we can stay in the area for the foreseeable future.”

The full proposals

- Advertising hoardings on the Upper Richmond Road
- Replace current grass pitch and training area with a 4G artifical surface
- Install a sheltered stand with toilet facilities on the Upper Richmond Road side
- Improve shower and hot water facilities
- Introduce  a full-time community outreach programme providing schools and clubs with a coaching service
- Refurbish the member's bar and improve the catering facilities
- Improve security gates and fencing
- Replace aging netting and posts on Upper Richmond Road side
- Remove asbestos stands on Upper Richmond Road and landscape the bank