A PROPOSAL has been made by Kendal Rugby Club to change the use of its land.

The club on Shap Road submitted a planning application to South Lakeland District Council in a bid to allow seasonal camping and diversify income streams.

Chairman Stephen Green explained that they began allowing campers on site last year as a way to rescue lost income.

He said: “The government allow you to do camping for up to 56 days in a year.

“We had no income, and this seemed like an obvious way of sustaining the club and making sure that we didn’t go in to administration.

“The club has ongoing expenses, and despite the fact we’ve had good support from the council and the furlough scheme, we still have bills that we need to pay.

“When we had a good summer it was an obvious way to give the club a bit of income and we had tents on the club from around late July to early September.

“We didn’t have any difficulties and we were socially distancing the pitches for the tents, it was a positive experience and it helped with the income.

“Having decided it worked well we made an application to do it on a regular basis over a longer period because we could then perhaps have tents on from May until September.

“We have a cafe there and people can have access to the toilets and showers in the building.

“We won’t have to build anything, we’re not applying to be a caravan site or anything like that, we are just applying to have tents on our grass pitch which we don’t think will be a nuisance to anybody and it will benefit the club and make sure that we can provide the facilities that we want for the communities.

The proposal explained that even before the Covid-19 pandemic they had been exploring additional income streams to ensure the long-term viability of the rugby club and its facilities.

The camping use will provide an additional income stream, at times of the year when there is no income from matchdays.

Mr Green said: “Although there’s an expense to applying, we felt it was it was going to be a benefit to us and the local economy because the people who camp here go to Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s, and when they can, restaurants and pubs.

“We might have done this anyway but Covid-19 has spurred us on, like a lot of things such as home working or staycations - it doesn’t look to me like we’ll be going abroad in the summer.

“It’ll be good for us to provide an opportunity for people to come to Kendal and camp here.”

The application site lies to the north of the main pitch on the site and includes a grass junior pitch and is accessed through the carpark.