The grandstand at Devonport Services’ ground is being demolished after a 109-year existence, writes Ollie Young.
The stand at the Rectory has been out of use since 2004 after it was deemed a fire hazard and despite numerous attempts to make make it fireproof, it has remained empty.
The site is owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and The Independent understands that because of this, it has taken years for funds to be available as the MOD cannot use public funds to pay for the work. Now that the money is there, local companies Totus and Brunel – the latter is run by Plymouth Albion managing director Max Venables – will be carrying out the work which has already begun and is expected to be finished in November.
The Independent understands that currently, there is no planning permission for a new stand and the complications and difficulties of finding funds to build new facilities mean that the historic grandstand will not be immediately replaced.
Speaking to The Independent, the Sporting Blues secretary Steve Lomax said: “Hopefully, in the future we will be able to find funding to redevelop the area and develop a modern facility for both the service and the civilian community.”
The South West 1 West side have proposed to resume training on August, 1 amidst the Covid-19 crisis.
Their statement on the return to rugby said: “Devonport Services recognises that as a club it has a duty to have appropriate collective measures in place to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 transmission informed by a risk assessment for the activity.
“For instance: information will be gathered at all training activities to support NHS Test, Track and Trace efforts as required, social distancing will be adhered to at all appropriate times and shared equipment will be cleaned before use by another person”
“We, through our coaches at all ages and grades, will undertake risk assessment training and playing in accordance with relevant guidelines.”
The club have also spent the off-season searching for a development coach for the ladies’ second team and are actively encouraging coaches who hold a level two coaching badge to apply.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.