A QUESTION mark is hanging over the future of Workington’s proposed multi-million pound stadium following an election upset that has changed the political landscape of Allerdale.

The former Labour-led executive wanted a new shared venue for Workington Reds and Workington Town, with the 8,000-capacity arena the linchpin of their successful bid to host the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

Reds’ Borough Park and Town’s Derwent Park are both in need of an upgrade with the shared stadium described as “vital” to both clubs as well as to the sporting future of the area.

But councillors who have previously branded the project an expensive “vanity project” now have the largest share of the council seats, sparking fears that the plans are now at risk.

Independents and the Conservatives look now set to form a coalition after Labour slumped to third place on May 2, with sports fans facing an anxious wait to find out if the stadium is still happening.

The council confirmed that Reds are still due to make the temporary move to the Derwent Park ahead of the planned demolition of Borough Park, with works continuing to make the rugby ground match-ready for the football team’s arrival.

But the Reds still have a six-year lease left at Borough Park, which would have to be bulldozed to make way for the new arena, and now the club has revealed they are not going anywhere without cast iron guarantees the stadium will be built.

Reds chairman John Mackay said: “We would be cutting our own throats. We have been advised to sign nothing until the powers that be have decided that the new stadium is going ahead.

“We will not sign our lease away until the council signs the contracts for the new stadium, and we will not move out until we have categorial assurances.”

Mr Mackay also revealed that the club is facing a “number of issues” which require “large amounts of money” with the club’s safety certificate due to expire at the end of the month.

The club only just scraped through last year’s annual inspection and it could cost up to £150,000 to bring Borough Park up to scratch.

He said: “We haven’t got that sort of money available. We live from year to year. We keep the wolves from the door. We are not in deficit but it is a case of living within our means.”

The chairmen of both clubs have agreed that the best-case scenario for the community, for the respective teams and for the future of sport in the area would be for the stadium to go ahead.

Les Smallwood, chairman of Workington Town, added: “I hope it does go ahead because it is a fantastic opportunity for the future of the kids of west Cumbria.

“At the moment we can’t do anything but sit back and wait to see what happens. Ultimately it’s in the hands of the politicians.”