The rugby union side could finally return to Sale after leaving its Heywood Road ground in 2003, if developer Crossford Futures’ plans for a community sports village featuring a new stadium are approved.
Crossford Futures has identified the Crossford Bridge Playing Fields, between Cross Street and the Bridgewater Canal next to the M60, as the potential location for a stadium and multipurpose sports and activity hub for the local community.
A public consultation for the project will begin on 22 June with a view to a planning application being submitted later this year, according to the developer.
Subject to feedback during the consultation and feasibility studies the stadium could have a capacity of between 8,000 and 12,000.
Sharks moved to Edgeley Park in Stockport in 2003, where the club shared the stadium with Stockport County FC before relocating in 2012 to the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford, which it currently shares with Super League side Salford City Reds.
Crossford Futures, headed up by director Graham Young, is consulting with a range of local stakeholders including the community clubs that currently use the playing fields, including Trafford Council, Cheshire FA and Manchester FA.
Young said: “Crossford Bridge has always been a space for the community to enjoy and come together in, from dog walkers to runners, local grassroots clubs intrinsic to the fabric of the area, and nationally significant clubs.
“[The sports village] is an early stage vision that focuses on building on this history to create a truly inclusive and inspirational [facility] for the next generation.”
Steve Diamond, director of rugby at Sale Sharks, added: “Sale Sharks has always had a vision to return to its hometown, bringing the club closer to its original fan base and the communities in Sale.
“As part of the plans for Crossford Bridge, we not only have a chance to establish a long-term home for the club, but there’s also a real opportunity for our men’s and women’s teams to inspire the next generation of sporting talent.”