Allerdale Council has said there are “no deadlines, no plans and no aspirations” to bring forward fresh proposals for a stadium in Workington after a £29m scheme was pulled last year.
The council paused work on a replacement stadium at Borough Park in June, citing increased costs while stating it would continue to work on an outline business case.
An application for an 8,000-capacity stadium at the existing Borough Park site, which was to be shared by Workington AFC and Workington Town RFC, was submitted in February 2019.
A change in council leadership from Labour, which had backed the scheme, to Conservatives in May 2019 saw the plans withdrawn amid concerns over the “considerable financial risk” posed by the £29m scheme.
The plans included hospitality and conference facilities, a 3G training pitch on nearby land, as well as 29,000 sq ft of office accommodation for Sellafield and 28,000 sq ft for NHS facilities.
Speaking at a council executive meeting in June, Cllr Marion Fitzgerald, said: “There’s no question the clubs need modern facilities and a new stadium would benefit them and wider the public. But we have to balance that with the risk to the council and serving the needs of the whole borough.”
At that time she recommended council officers “continue to work on the business case and that, in doing so, they reduce the size and specification of the stadium with a view to significantly decreasing the net cost and liability to this council.”
It is understood the council intends to visit Salford City’s Peninsula Stadium and FC United at Manchester’s Broadhurst Park ground at the end of January, as part of ongoing research into a prospective new ground in Workington, but the council told Place North West there were no plans beyond that.
The new stadium was initially set to be open and operational in time for the Rugby League World Cup in 2021, but after the council’s decision to scale back the plans this is no longer the case.
John Mackay, chairman of Workington Reds AFC, which plays at Borough Park, said: “In September and October we had a couple of meetings about resurrecting the project. We were told that they wanted to build a stadium but not the one that was planned. Then it all went quiet.”
A spokesperson for the council said: “We are looking at a comprehensive regeneration plan and a series of self-contained developments.”