Harrogate to ink deal on two-year lease extension

19/1/04   Claro Road  the home of Harrogate Rugby Union club.
19/1/04 Claro Road the home of Harrogate Rugby Union club.

THE ink on the contract is not yet dry, but Harrogate Rugby Club expect to announce they have secured their future for two more years.

After lengthy negotiations with landlords Crest, Harrogate hope to confirm an agreement to remain at Claro Road under a fixed-term lease due to expire in July 2013.

Chairman Paul Barnard told members via an announcement on the club website that the deal is almost complete, and more details should be released soon.

It’s not a final resolution for the tenants, who up until this month were in very real danger of being made homeless altogether.

But it allows the National Two North club, celebrating their 140th anniversary this year, to continue preparations for the new season and focus firmly on playing matters.

A club spokesman told the Advertiser this week: “The ink is not yet dry on the agreement but we are hopeful that what we are negotiating with Crest will be an opportunity for the club to secure its short-term future.

“It’s not a final solution but we’re hoping it is a long-term foundation of a final solution. We are moving in the right direction. ”

Crest paid £610,000 for the freehold on the Claro Road site in 1999, to be followed by extra payments if planning permission for housing was granted.

Harrogate offered £1.043m to buy back the ground earlier this year, later rejected after Crest indicated they would only accept a bid of £1.2m.

The developer then called time on the rolling lease agreed with the club this April, intending to take vacant possession of the site on June 1.

This was later extended by a month, before another round of negotiations led to this week’s agreement.

As the clock ticks down to the next deadline, a sub-group committee has been formed specifically to consider options other than staying at Claro Road.

Meantime, fixtures for the 2011-12 National Two North season have been released. Harrogate kick off the campaign away at Leicester Lions on August 27, before hosting Bromsgrove a week later.

The big clash at home to Otley takes place, rather appropriately, on November 5. The return trip to Cross Green is on March 10.

Fixtures: Leicester Lions (a) Aug 27; Bromsgrove (h) Sept 3; Westoe (a) Sept 10; Sheffield Tigers (h) Sept 17; Hull (a) Sept 24; Luctonians (a) Oct 1; Nuneaton (h) Oct 8; Preston GH (a) Oct 15; Stockport (h) Oct 22; Hull Ionians (a) Oct 29; Otley (h) November 5; Huddersfield (a) Nov 12; Loughborough (h) Nov 19; Caldy (a) Nov 26; Kendal (h) Dec 3; Bromsgrove (a) Dec 10; Westoe (a) Dec 17; Sheffield Tigers (a) Jan 7; Hull (h) Jan 14; Luctonians (h) Jan 21; Nuneaton (a) Jan 28; Preston (h) Feb 11; Stockport (a) Feb 18; Hull Ionians (h) March 3; Otley (a) March 10; Huddersfield (h) March 24; Loughborough (a) March 31; Caldy (h) April 14; Kendal (a) April 21; Leicester Lions (h) April 28.