Workington Stadium future to be decided

The fate of the £29m development, hanging in the balance following local elections earlier this month, is due to be decided at a planning committee meeting next week.

The stadium-led mixed-use development is set to house Workington’s rugby league and non-league football teams, and was put forward in February this year.

It will be built at Workington AFC’s current ground, off the A597 to the north of the town centre, and the new stadium has been chosen to host matches as part of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

In addition to the sports facilities, plans include 29,000 sq ft of offices, set to host 300 staff from Sellafield, along with 28,000 sq ft of floorspace for the NHS, and a pharmacy.

Prior to local elections, the council’s Labour administration had argued there was “strong strategic and economic case” for the development, which could provide an economic impact for more than £145m over the next 50 years.

However, the scheme had attracted significant criticism from areas of Allerdale Council, including Cllr Bill Finlay, the former leader of the council’s independent group, who branded a decision to push on with the scheme as “perverse”.

Finlay argued: “The proposal relies on predictions regarding an increased and sustained performance of both sports clubs resulting in increased attendances and hence gate receipts. It does not use status quo data, i.e. an indication of revenues generated if the clubs maintain current levels of performance and gate receipts. Increased performance is a hope, not a probable outcome”.

Allerdale’s Council remains in no overall control following local elections earlier this month, but has seen significant changes, with Labour, which had put forward the plans for the stadium, losing 14 seats on the authority. Independents now hold 19 seats, while the Conservatives have 15.

While the scheme’s main objector Cllr Finlay has stepped down, the council is now headed up by independent Cllr Marion Fitzgerald, and deputy leader, Conservative Cllr Mark Jenkinson. Ahead of the election, the Conservatives had called for a “plan B” if funding for the stadium could not be found, to ensure Workington could still host Rugby League World Cup games.

A decision is due to be made on the scheme next week, with planners recommending the project for planning approval. The committee is currently made up of three independents, four Labour members, and three Conservatives.

In a report published ahead of next week’s committee, planning officers argued the site of the proposed development “represents the most sustainable location to deliver a new stadium complex for Workington” and added “the stadium complex is well-designed and an inclusive place, both within the stadium building itself and in the wider areas to include areas of public realm, the 3G pitch, car parks, and footpaths”.

“The provision of the stadium complex in this highly accessible location would provide enhanced, substantial and sustainable employment, community and recreation and leisure facilities for the benefit of the community within Workington and the wider area,” added the report.

Allerdale Council’s planning committee will decide on the proposals on 4 June.

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

CWAC should be brought in to assist Allerdale on this project, they have invaluable white elephant development experience. The NHS team that completed the Altrincham Health Hub could also contribute.

By taxpayersdosh

This development will save and progress our sports teams, who richly deserve some help. The placing of such a significant number of well paid jobs in Workington Town Centre will safeguard West Cumbria’s main shopping town.
We can’t afford NOT to have this amazing development.
This opportunity is unlikely to be repeated, ever.

By Brian White

As a Workington Reds supporter living in Lancashire and travelling all over to watch the Reds, it can be embarrassing to see the facilities other clubs have when compared to Borough Park. I’d urge the council not to lose this great opportunity. It’s a chance to provide present and future generations of Allerdale with a sporting facility to be proud of. Reds have kept the football flag flying in West Cumbria – often in adversity – and they should be given the backing to continue.

By Ray Lord

Get on with it

By Johnstone

Were are the hotel’s in workington in which all the imaginary supporters will stay when travelling there to watch these world cup games. Our council taxes need to be spent wisely on social care and other important local issues, think how many swimming pools we could build in Allerdale in towns which are desperate for such facilities like keswick. Rugby League is a dying game and workington reds are no more than a Sunday league side, to build them a £25 million pound stadium from council tax is ludicrous and insanity. There are far more important things on the list of needed facilities in Allerdale than this white elephant.

By Bernard brown

This is once in a lifetime opportunity for West Cumbria to have a fantastic municipal stadium. Both the town’s football and rugby teams stadiums are run down with money wasted patching up to obtain a safety certificate. The football club also has 450 juniors associated, it’s there future. This combined with Sellafield and NHS offices paying the bulk of the lease makes this project a must .

By Stephen McAllister

What about the comets

By Richard Dustin

I’m sorry it’s the biggest waste of money ever in Allerdale just do the right thing and do Derwent park up all three sports in one stadium at half the cost it’s the best place by far plenty of parking and plenty of room to expand

By Colin fawcett

Yes we need a new stadium,but the 2 sporting teams who are playing there,get poor crowds,reds relegated last season,will be lucky to get 300 fans going to support them,and workington town,are in the bottom tier of rugby league division 1 with poor teams and towns crowds around 400 to 500 on a good day,also another sporting team workington comets,had to pull out of the sgb championship league because of financial problems,but were due to return in 2020 season after taking a season out to recuperate more sponsorship,but were not put in the frame for the new stadium to build a speedway track as well,why not speedway get as many fans as the other 2 teams so why are they out on a limb,derwent park has now started laying a new football pitch which has seen the speedway track taken up,and the pitch is now covering the old track that has been there since 1970,speedway has been driven out the town by allerdale council who dont want speedway in the new stadium which is totally wrong,its been back since 1999 and the comets won all 3 major honours last season seeing the club win the treble winning there first silverware in the clubs history the elusive league title which everyone said they will never win it,so many fans stopped going and then we win the lot,the ko cup,the championship shield the fans missed out on history being made,but some old faces were there who hadn’t been for years,oh yes they come out of the woodwork when all is going well,but where were you when you were needed the most,stopped going in stead of supporting the club through thick and thin you missed it all,speedway needs to be in the new stadium,because if not the other 2 clubs wont get a 1000 fans between them the stadium will be empty every week and not worth all that money for so few fans,a new pitch at derwent park is sufficient for both clubs,the stadium is old and a lot needs doing to fetch it up to scratch but it will be a lot cheaper than 25 million pounds of wasted money,put all 3 teams at derwent park,do the stadium up and that should be suffice,there simply is not enough people going to watch the teams especially rugby and football and speedway to warrant a new stadium all just to get Scotland playing in our town for the rugby world cup a couple of games played in a new stadium just for Scotland let them play in there own back garden we dont need it especially for the sake of it revolving around a new stadium.

By Neale Caton

Absolute insanity !!!!! its like building a 10 car garage meant for housing custom expensive cars, and it will only ever garage a 10 year old Ford Escort !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its a pipe dream to think the spectator gates will increase from the usual low hundreds to the expected thousands.Is it expected the spectators will increase by nearly 10 times because of nicer surroundings ? As to the offices for 300 Sellafield workers, we know through bitter experience how national industrial policy can change in a very short time. The irony of this escapade is, although I am not a Speedway spectator, is the complete disregard of facilities for the most popular and successful sport in Cumbria !!!!!! Then we come to the final brain numbing question of finding £29 millions to pay back from somewhere,there are concerns already about poll tax increases to cope with social cuts, the state of our roads etc, etc are we expected to “stump up” even more” for this hair brained scheme ???? We could ignore what good £29 ,millions could do in other sensible ways just to say we have a nice stadium, a bit like Nero fiddling while Rome burns!!!!!!!!!!

By Alvin Howsen

Ridiculous to spend so much taxpayers money on this stadium. Rugby and football in West Cumbria are dying sports which attract crowds in the low hundreds not the tens of thousands needed to make this project viable. West Cumbria poverty is the worst in the country as is social care and councillors need to spend taxpayers money wisely not on a white elephant stadium which nobody in Allerdale wants or has any interest. Prices to attend will be way out of reach of locals so let’s put taxpayers money to far better use.

By W. Wright

A vote of Allerdale residents is the only way to find the solution to this stadium proposal. In my opinion that vote/poll would show a 99-1% result that residents are against spending taxpayers money on a stadium rather than the hundreds of other needed projects in Allerdale. Youth clubs, swimming pools, social care, roads, age concern to name but a few. Youth clubs and sports facilities are needed desperately in every town village and estate in Allerdale and would be much more appreciated by young people than some stadium on the west coast to be used by two sports teams who have a couple of hundred supporters.

By J. Newton

As a Reds and Town supporter all my life being almost 400 miles away in Kent makes it difficult to see any games. But what I can see is the rejuvenation of Maidstone United FC who were bankrupt and thrown out of the Football League without a ground thirty years ago. Since then they have climbed through the Lower leagues and into the National League and although relegated last year still have a matchday crowd of over 2,000 and use their 3G pitch all day every day for the benefit of the Community. A great asset to Workington long overdue!

By Benny

Reading comments some people for new stadium some against I believe we need a new stadium but not 8.000 capacity maybe 5.000 money from sellafield and NHS would be great help to help pay for stadium doing up derwent Park would be wasting money you need the help from sellafield and NHS

By Paul kenney

according to labour councillors there wouldn’t any cost to the tax payers in allerdale true or false? who is paying for the present repairs to Derwent park as I cant get a straight answer? why will Sellafield workers go in to the town center for lunch which would involve them paying parking fees when they could pop in Tesco?

By dekko

It about time that we had a good spot frailty in this town should bring people to visit spent monney in local shopping area

By Roy bell

What about Workingtons most successful sporting team, the Comets?

By Lee

Whilst the sports teams will never fill the stadium, the provision of office space will help to make it sustainable. I hope Allerdale Council give it the green light.

Good luck to the Reds, all the way down there in the West Cumberland Premier League.

By Matt Henney's Blue and White Boots

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 12,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 12,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

Would you also like to receive our free PlaceTech Weekly newsletter, covering innovation in property?*