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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Workington Reds on verge of new era

A key deal that could enable Workington Reds to build a 1,200-capacity stand is nearing completion.

Reds stadium graphic
An artist’s impression of the planned grandstand

The football club and its council landlord have been in talks for more than 18 months over an agreement that would see Reds stay at the stadium for another 35 years.

This would then allow Reds a chance to tap into grant money to build a proposed £1.5m grandstand.

The 1,200-capacity stand would replace the main west stand and become a hub of club activity to generate more cash.

Reds chairman Humphrey Dobie said: “We’re delighted that Allerdale has agreed a new lease in principle.

“It has taken its time, but we have held some constructive and necessary meetings.

“Our plan is to demolish the existing stand shortly after next season finishes, and then we can start the new era at Workington Reds.

“The new stand will be the beginning of a new time in Workington’s history.”

Alan Smith, leader of Allerdale council, will invite Mr Dobie to a meeting later this month to iron out any remaining issues.

He said: “Following discussions and negotiations I am delighted that we are on the verge of helping Workington Reds to achieve their aspirations for a new stand.

“Just as soon as we have a sound business plan from them, we can sign the extended lease.”

The club has 12 years left on its existing lease, but needs long-term assurances before grants can be issued.

In addition to improving facilities for fans, the new stand would include a function room, offices, changing facilities, sponsors and visiting officials’ rooms.

It will provide valuable non-football income to invest in the club.

It 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.

Meanwhile, Allerdale Council is looking for ideas for how land next to Borough Park could be used once the temporary road bridge is removed later this year.

Land owned by the council will be reclaimed and considered for development when the replacement Northside bridge opens.

The council is looking to landscape the riverside area until a decision can be made about its future use.

Councillor Barbara Cannon, assets and finance spokeswoman, said: “We are thinking about creating a nice riverside area and are happy to talk to residents about how this will look.

“The landscaping of the area could contribute to an attractive gateway into Workington.”

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