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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

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Workington Reds want new Borough Park lease

Workington Reds are hoping that a new long-term lease will pave the way for an impressive new 1,200-capacity stand at Borough Park.

Workington Reds stand graphic
An artist’s impression of the proposed grandstand

The club have been in talks with landlords Allerdale council over a new lease, seen as essential before Reds can access up to £1.5 million needed to fund the West stand. And chairman Humphrey Dobie is determined that it will go ahead.

“I intend to put it up before I retire. I just hope it’s quick,” quipped the 80-year-old, who believes the end of talks with the council may be in sight.

“They say they want to help, and I’m hopeful that it can be sorted over the next couple of months. We need security of tenure and can then go for planning permission, then look around for the money.

“We’ve had one or two preliminary meetings with funding providers and I think we will get the money, but it’s not an easy job. We will see.

“Hopefully, the economy will be looking more robust in another 12 months’ time.

“We have about 12 years on our lease and we need an absolute minimum of 35 years. That would allow us to access more grant money.”

Reds are hoping to start work on the new stand in the closed season next year, which leaves little over a year to get all elements of their bid in line.

In addition to improving facilities for fans, the new stand, which will include a function room, offices, changing facilities, sponsors and visiting officials’ rooms, will provide valuable non-football income to invest in the club.

It will leave Reds with 1,500 to 1,700 seats, according to Dobie, enough to qualify for the next level up, the Conference Premier, and just short of the 2,000 needed for the Football League.

“We could then do the 2,000 easily,” said the chairman, who reported that the stand would take up to five months to complete.

“We may have to jiggle our fixtures, and if we need to, we can.”

The stand will cost between £1.25, and £1.5m, depending on fittings.

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