Workington plots £23.1m Town Deal spending

Allerdale Council’s executive committee has agreed the business cases for the five projects it will put forward to government for final approval, with sports to the fore.

Should government sign off on the plans, the projects would move  to detailed design phase before building work starts.

Workington was confirmed as one of the North West locations to share £486m in funding within the government’s first Town Deal allocations in summer 2021.

The projects have been put together by the Town Deal Board and include an improved community sports and leisure facility in the lower Derwent Park Valley which would include new facilities for Workington Reds football club and the town’s rugby league club, Workington Town.

The initial phase would see around £5m from the Town Deal, and a further £1m from the council provide a completely new grandstand and accompanying facilities and an all-weather pitch on the footprint of Borough Park. Subsequent phases would see the construction of further covered terracing.

Ambitious stadium plans had previously advanced at the site, with an eye on hosting rugby league Wotld Cup games, before being pulled in 2019.

Alongside the stadium project, plans to provide a 3G community pitch on Lonsdale Park adjacent to the new stadium facilities, in a further pfase not covered by the Town Deal – discussions are under way for further funding for these facilities. The plans also include the possibility of improving pitch facilities at Moorclose.

Another project agreed is a Digital Accelerator scheme, and a town centre Innovation Centre offering flexible office and workshop space with conference facilties, to be built on the site of the town’s central car park.

Also included is an improvement programme, including revamped connections from the railway station to the centre of town, as well as improvements to key locations such as Murray Road and Central Way. Better seating, lighting and safer pedestrian and cycle routes are also all part of the plans.

Finally, the plans include a proposal to remediate close to 20 acres of lad at the Port of Workington, freeing up space for future development, potentially in clean energy and logistics.

Cllr Mike Johnson, leader of the council, said: “The funding from government through the Town Deal is an opportunity to make a huge difference to this town for local residents and local businesses.

“This investment meets our commitment in our Council Strategy to invest in our communities and have thriving towns and villages. I’m also keen to make the most of the government’s Levelling Up plans which promise to pump even more investment into communities such as Workington.

I’m confident, when these plans go to government, that they will like what they see, and we will get the green light from them to progress further with the projects.”

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