CUMBRIA’S Rugby League World Cup dream appears to be in tatters as Allerdale’s new executive voted down the ambitious multi-million stadium.

A scaled-back version of the Workington venue will now be considered amid claims that the venture in its current form is too expensive and would put the council under “considerable financial risk”.

The borough council made a successful bid to host the sporting event in 2021 but the games hang entirely on the creation of the arena in the form proposed by the former Labour executive.

Under the plans, the stadium on the site of Borough Park would have been shared by Workington Red and Workington Town, both of which are in desperate need of new facilities.

There were angry scenes as the decision was announced, with audience shouting “disgusting, “ disgraceful” and “hang your heads in shame”.

Even before the first part of the meeting drew to a close, council leader Marion Fitzgerald was forced to call for silence and threaten to suspend the meeting.

The first formal meeting of the new executive since the election in May was a baptism of fire, with one man in the public gallery shouting “you just killed West Cumbria”, while another was heard to say “you have finished both clubs”.

The new executive decided that officers would “continue to work on the business case and that, in so doing, they reduce the size and specification of the stadium with a view to significantly decreasing the net cost and liability to this council."

Mrs Fitzgerald, said: “There is no question that the project would place the council under considerable financial risk.”

She accepted that the stadium would benefit the wider community and the two sporting clubs but added: “We have to weight that against the financial burden to the taxpayer in Allerdale.”

Deputy leader Mark Jenkinson said: “Given the level of commitment that we have seen, I am quite astonished that we decided to proceed on the timescales that we did which were unrealistic in March and are certainly unrealistic now.

“It’s fair to say that this isn’t an income-generating project and time and resource could have been better spent looking at revenue generation in the short-term.”

He said that was “supportive” of new facilities for both clubs but stressed that the proposal from the previous administration came with a £95m liability.

He also said that sports facilities should be built from the “ground up”, with the creation of much-needed training facilities at a grassroots level.

Independent councillor George Kemp cited examples of smaller developments which he said that had “brought significant benefits to communities at far less cost”,  including Broadhurst Park in Manchester and the Peninsula Stadium in Salford.

Asked if they had looked at cheaper options as “point of comparison”, officers said they had focused on those options which could create a “world cup legacy” and support the NHS and Sellafield aspects of the development.

Andrew Seekings, the council’s corporate director, described the project as “aspirational” and a “catalyst for wider regeneration”.

The meeting heard that the stadium had the potential to generate £10m worth of income from visitors, and up to £36m worth of income from other regeneration programmes using the project as a springboard.

The total income generated over the 50-year lifespan of the stadium would have been £239m.

The total expenditure would have been £170m of which £95m would be the re-payment of the capital cost, leaving a net surplus of £69m.

Economic benefit of around 2.5m a year which would have been spent around Workington and the wider West Cumbria area.

Under the plans, the stadium would have housed tenants including 350 Sellafield workers, a pharmacy and NHS facilities.

The stadium was also expected to deliver “community benefits” including inspiring the next generation of sporting talent.

Speaking outside the meeting, former leader Alan Smith, said he now believed the world cup dreams were “dead in the water”.

“Dog wardens and 25 gallon of weed-killer is the limit of this executive’s  vision,” he said.