WP Rugby eager to sell Newlands, stop heritage site plans: 'Potential to derail so much hard work'

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Newlands rugby stadium (Gallo)
Newlands rugby stadium (Gallo)

Western Province Rugby remains focused on selling its former home, Newlands.

The union is also eager to prevent the ground being declared a heritage site, as selling it remains crucial to their "future sustainability".

The recent attempt to have Newlands declared as a heritage site was driven by former Springbok captain Wynand Claasen, who said last year he believed there was too much historical value attached to the stadium to allow it to be sold to a developer - with the likely aim of demolishing it.

Claassen, and other unknown individuals, launched the Save Newlands Rugby Stadium campaign. They applied to the Western Cape government to declare Newlands a heritage site. This matter will be put forward for public input in the near future.

READ | Wynand Claassen on Newlands heritage site application: 'We're not trying to be nasty'

However, WP Rugby wants the stadium to be sold as it impacts their future.

When Western Province Rugby was put under administration by SA Rugby in October 2021, one of the major tasks assigned to the designated administrator, Rian Oberholzer, was to finalise the sale of Newlands.

"To be frank, the sale of Newlands Stadium is key to the future sustainability of Western Province Rugby,"  Oberholzer said in a statement on Thursday.

"The proposal to declare the stadium a heritage site has the potential to derail so much hard work that has been done to stabilise WP Rugby both on and off the field.

"We have consulted with a heritage specialist who is confident that Newlands Stadium does not qualify as a heritage site, but the upcoming public participation process will also be pivotal in determining the outcome of the proposal." 

Western Province and the Stormers moved their headquarters to Cape Town Stadium in early 2021 and since then Newlands has not been used as a rugby venue.

WP said the stadium was also "no longer certified to host rugby matches".

Western Province Rugby's General Manager of Amateur Rugby, Danny Jones, said the WPRFU's General Council voted and decided that the union's professional teams would play their rugby at Cape Town Stadium over three years ago.

"All of the WPRFU's proper processes were followed when it was decided that our professional teams would play their rugby at Cape Town Stadium.

"Newlands Stadium cannot currently be used to host rugby matches, but its sale remains crucial to the future of Western Province Rugby and we are hopeful that all stakeholders will do their utmost to ensure that happens," he said. 

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