On Saturday 12th May, the plans for the new Marlow Boathouse were unveiled. Marlow Rowing Club reaffirmed its commitment to stay on its existing site in the heart of Marlow. UPDATED DESIGNS HERE
A complete demolition and rebuild of the whole building will sweep away both the fire damaged section and the collection of other buildings that have developed on the site over the years and replace them with a single purpose built facility which makes better use of space. The Marlow Boathouse will then be a water sports hub for the area benefitting future generations of rowers, canoeists, open water swimmers and triathletes.
The plan is that a single new building will replace the existing buildings on the Marlow Bridge Lane site. The timber constructed half of the old Marlow Rowing Club which dates back to 1896 was damaged beyond repair by fire in August 2011. When it was built, it replaced the tent that the then approximately 25 members of the rowing club had used - forcing the club back into temporary tented accommodation. The 1976 section of the boathouse has been temporarily repaired, but together with a boat storage shed it will be demolished to make way for the new boathouse and clubhouse capable of providing for the needs of future generations.
In 1976 when the extension to the club was build, the club had no more than 100 rowing members - now there are several hundred of all ages and the club has an increasingly popular learn to row programme. The club already provides facilities for external fitness providers and acts as a base for local regattas and triathlons. By allowing wider access to the site for the public and other water related sports clubs Marlow Rowing Club will continue to provide community sport facilities for water based sports in the area.
The new building has been design to provide much needed extra space for internal boat storage, which should reduce the appearance of clutter on the site. The new building will have proper facilities for the disabled and increased changing and gymnasium space. Great importance is being attached to greater community use of the new facilities particularly in off-peak periods.
The rowing club has already started consultations with local authorities and parish councils and intends to submit a full planning application before the end of May.
Since the fire Marlow RC has embarked on a major fundraising campaign. This is making good progress but the club will still need to raise several hundred thousand pounds to complete the project, in addition to making applications to grant bodies not least of which is Sport England.
Individuals can make donations via the club's website or keep up to date with the club via Twitter or updates