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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Stadium boost as Workington Reds strike 30-year lease deal

The £1.5 million redevelopment of Workington Reds’ Borough Park stadium could finally become reality after councillors yesterday agreed to give the football club a new 30-year lease.

redsstand0211
Artist’s impression: The proposed new stand for Workington Reds’ Borough Park ground

It has taken two years for an agreement to be struck between the club and its landlord, Allerdale council.

With the lease signed, Reds can now start to secure the funding needed to build the 1,200-capacity stand.

A meeting of the council’s executive yesterday approved the lease agreement, with work on the ground due to start next April.

The existing west stand will be demolished and replaced, with new facilities to include a function room, offices, changing facilities, sponsors and visiting officials’ rooms.

The improvements will help provide valuable non-football income to invest in the club.

Chairman Humphrey Dobie said: “It is fantastic news that the lease has been agreed, and we can now work towards building a new stand.

“It’s a big deal for this football club, because the new stand will open the door to other ways of bringing in money.

“We can now push the button and get on with securing the funding, and getting the outline planning permission we need to go forward with the plans.”

The new lease allows Reds a chance to tap into grant money to build the grandstand.

The club had 12 years left on its existing lease, but needed long-term assurances before grants could be issued.

As part of the new agreement, Workington’s annual rent has increased more than 500 per cent.

The club was paying just £2,836 per year to the council but that figure has rocketed to £15,000.

However, Allerdale council has cushioned the blow by agreeing a five-year sponsorship deal, which is separate to the lease.

That will see the council pay the club £10,000 a year.

As part of the deal, Reds have offered Allerdale council its name on the back of shirts, tracksuits and advertising hoardings inside and outside the ground.

Council staff will get £1 off match tickets to watch the club’s matches.

Councillor Michael Heaslip said: “It is a very positive move in terms of sport and infrastructure in the area and an excellent use of council priorities.”

Council leader Alan Smith, who has worked extensively on the issue and attends Reds’ home games, said that building the stand would create local jobs and provide a better entrance into the town.

The new stand will leave Reds with between 1,500 and 1,700 seats, according to Mr Dobie, which is enough to qualify for Blue Square Bet Premier league criteria, and just short of the 2,000 needed for the Football League.

Have your say

Great news, now they just need the full support of the fans to get them back in the football league !

Posted by John A. on 6 November 2012 at 12:30

After no commitment from ABC for 75 years I applaud Alan Lamb and his colleagues for finally signing this lease.However why they were awarded one pound discounts is beyond me.My main complaint though is the fact that they charge rent for a piece of ground which does not belong to them.It belongs to the people of Workington.I would also like to point out that Kings Lynn pay one pound per year for stadium rent.That is what I expect from a council who supports sport and recreation in the town.So although I am pleased at the new lease finally getting signed.......Shame on ABC.

Posted by red janet on 6 November 2012 at 02:05

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