A TOP businessman and Blues fan has praised Allerdale’s stadium vision, claiming Brunton Park should follow West Cumbria’s lead.

Andrew Lapping, the man whose proposals for Carlisle United were shelved after the approach from billionaire Yahya Kirdi, made the comments on Carlisle United Football Club’s message board.

Mr Lapping fronted plans by a group of businessmen prepared to back the club as part of an investment package and restructure that would have pumped £1.26 million into United.

Writing on the ww.thecumbrians.net fans forum under his username ‘Laffy’, he praised Allerdale council’s plan for funding the shared stadium and suggested a similar method could be used to create a new stadium for the Blues.

He said: “Looks like Workington have found a possible way to fund their new stadium with some creative work with a developer and the council.

“It’s a great PFI- type deal but of a much lower rate of interest and offset by some supporting development – I think it’s a great deal for all. Well done the council for a great enabling development. Why Carlisle cannot follow the lead is beyond me?”

Last month, Allerdale council agreed to go down the investor-developer route to fund the stadium rather than borrowing £25m as originally proposed.

The council has insisted that this would avoid them having to borrow money to pay for the stadium.

Under the plans, the council would sell a long leasehold and the investor would then work with the developer to build the stadium.

Once the stadium is completed, the investor would then lease it back to the council or operating company over 50 years of £95,210,685.

The tenant – the council or stadium company – would then sub-lease office space and the pharmacy included in the stadium plans to Sellafield and the NHS.

The 8,000-capacity sporting venue was a cornerstone of the borough council’s successful bid to host the event in 2021.

Mr Lapping described the deal as “very straightforward” and urged the council to press on with it before the interest rates move on.

He added: “long-term interest rates are at an historic low so why not borrow money at a 2 per cent per annum for 50 years? Plus pension funds love Government-backed loans as they are perceived as ultra-low risk.

“Then lay off some of the annual interest cost by building some nice pre-let commercial property alongside. But it’s not just about cash. Allerdale will have a state-of-the-art stadium which will lift the area and encourage further development. It is exactly how Carlisle should go about rebuilding BP (Brunton Park).

“It’s the council paying the interest rate not the clubs and it’s over 50 plus years not 20. Its very popular with pension funds they just want annuity income which is bomb proo,f hence it’s a council-backed lease. Great scheme in my view.”

He also branded opposition councillors criticising the stadium plans “spineless”, adding: “We seem to live in an age when nobody elected to represent the people is prepared to make a decision for fear of reprisals. The town desperately needs this facility – get on with it.

“Ignoring the money, West Cumbria needs a break. Every time I go back I’m struck by how it is being left behind. Just needs a bit of vision and some drive to get this done.”