The University of Chester has ambitious plans to create first class rowing facilities on the Dee to increase participation and establish a North West University Boat Race.
Plans have been lodged to demolish the existing dilapidated boathouse at Sandy Lane and in its place erect a new community rowing and fitness facility which could also be used by triathletes.
There would be boat storage at ground floor with changing rooms, showers and a training room on the first floor.
Explaining a long term aim, a supporting document states: “UoC aspires to establish a North West University Boat Race, which would also help to promote and develop elite rowers.”
At the moment the university’s 75-strong rowing club, many of whom are inactive due to lack of convenient training times, is hosted by the Grosvenor Rowing Club but Grosvenor is expanding and can no longer accommodate its equipment or access requirements.
The supporting paper adds: “If UoC cannot find alternative facilities for its students, there is a real risk that participation will decline. Improvements to UoC’s current, unusable facilities will secure long-term sustainable development opportunities and are supported by British Rowing.”
University of Chester’s six school academies and the nearby Dee Banks special school will also access the facilities, allowing 60 children, aged 14-18, to get involved with rowing and triathlon.
UoC, which now employs a dedicated rowing coach, anticipates a 75% increase in participation in rowing among its students. In addition, there are five competitive triathletes – two of whom have represented GB – without proper facilities who could use the base.