PLANS to develop a new clubhouse for Brentwood Rugby Club on King George's Playing Field are being faced with stiff opposition from nearby residents.
The rugby club is hopeful of building a new £750,000 clubhouse near the club's four pitches, which it rents from Brentwood Borough Council, to secure its future.
They say the existing pavilion no longer meets their requirements as its 400 junior members and growing number of women members are not able to change there.
The proposed two-storey pavilion would not only have better changing facilities, but a gym, a bigger bar and a balcony area.
Originally the club had hoped to relocate to the Brentwood Centre. However, recent developments leave them attempting to rebuild on their current ground.
Concerns are growing from residents whose back gardens will directly face the new pavilion over issues like noise pollution and they believe developing on the publicly owned land is inappropriate.
Debbie Coole, 56, of Ingrave Road, which backs onto King George's Playing Field, said: "The fact is the majority of the time it's a park. It's only used as a playing fields at the weekend. [The clubhouse] is going to be invasive to the park, it's going to be overbearing.
"We are going to be looked upon [from the balcony], this park is a public space and that's going to be a visual invasion."
Claire Rook, 40, of Bridge Close, another estate that backs onto the park, also expressed her objections to the plans.
The mother of two said: "The thing is that it's a public park and it's going to have another building right in the middle of it. It's going to be unsightly; it's going to have a detrimental effect on local amenities and the wildlife there."
Brentwood Rugby Club's chairman, Richard King, staunchly defended the club's plans and warned that by not providing changing facilities for women and children, the club faces a limited future.
He said: "There are not proper facilities for children to change. At moment they turn up in their kits and go home muddy. There will come a time that if we do not [update] parents will simply take their children elsewhere.
"We have a tremendous community facility here in Brentwood and if we don't provide better changing facilities there will not be a Brentwood Rugby Club in 20 or 30 years.
"As far as I am concerned there is nothing more important than the future of this club."
The club is keen to consult residents about plans, however, and some have attended meeting with the rugby club to discuss the future of the park.
Mr King added: "We haven't yet decided to submit an application. If we do put an application to Brentwood council there will be another consultation with residents living nearby and Brentwood will need to give its go-ahead.
"We have consulted 56 households and we are doing that in the spirit of good neighbourliness."