Salford agrees JV with Peel to build rugby stadium

Michael Hunt

Salford City Council's cabinet has approved plans to form a joint venture company with Peel Holdings to deliver a new stadium in Barton for Salford City Reds RFC.

The £26m project aims to transform the land, with Peel and the city council pooling their land-holdings to create a single 70-acre super-site.

Outline planning permission for the land had already been granted for a stadium and retail use. Detailed plans are expected to be submitted by the end of May.

A delivery date of December 2011 has been agreed for the 15,000-seat community stadium in order to meet the necessary deadlines for the Salford City Reds' bid to renew its Super League licence from February 2012.

The joint venture company would manage the stadium, with the rugby club having a licence to use it.

Funding will include a grant from the North West Development Agency to prepare the land for development and a loan from the city council to the joint venture company to pay for the construction work and new infrastructure.

The business case for the development shows loans being repaid by the sale of the developed land to retail tenants and with income from people and clubs using the facility, including ticket sales, car parking, advertising, and conference and banqueting venue hire.

Work to prepare the site for development is expected to start as soon as next month, once the legal agreements to bind the joint venture company have been signed.

Phased development of the site would then start from October this year.

Cllr John Merry, Salford City Council leader, said: "This development would be another landmark of Salford's regeneration, adding to an already impressive line-up nearby of the Lowry and Media City UK.

"The partnership approach we're adopting also means the city will be part-owner of a major sporting and community asset.

"Sport is a big business these days and making suitable, state-of-the-art facilities available for a successful club will bring economic benefits to the city.

"Our plan is about supporting sport in Salford and I believe it is the right thing to do."

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