Sports village plans for Workington and Allerdale
Update issued 4 March 2021
Plans to create a new multi-million pound sports village in Workington have taken a big step forward thanks to a major funding announcement from the Government.
It was announced yesterday that Allerdale Borough Council’s bid to the Towns Fund for Workington, a £3.6bn pot which aims to level-up funding and opportunities for communities across the country, has been successful. It will see an investment of £23m the town and the council will now work with the Government and partners to finalise the plans.
The Allerdale Community Sports Village project was one of the schemes submitted as part of the bid and will see a new shared stadium built for the football and rugby league clubs with a linked set of inclusive community facilities open to all.
The project continues to be led by Workington Reds and Workington Town alongside support from the council with a project board set up last year meeting every two weeks to accelerate progress and build on the work which has already taken place.
Dave Bowden, chairman of Workington Reds, said: "This is great news and arguably the first and most critical milestone in bringing the sports village project to fruition has been achieved. There remains a lot of hard work still yet to be undertaken and we look forward to engaging with shareholders and supporters alike as we seek to address the further milestones.
“There is little doubt in my mind that if both clubs, supported by Allerdale Borough Council, continue their excellent cross working relationship, and if everyone associated with the clubs takes a positive stance, we will finally deliver this project, secure a better future for our clubs, and provide a community facility we can all be proud of.”
Les Smallwood, chairman of Workington Town, said: “It's a really positive step that the Towns Fund bid has been successful. This should provide a springboard to further investment so that we can deliver the right set of facilities that have a meaningful impact on our community.
“We look forward to using the momentum generated by this news to further develop engagement with a broad range of stakeholders and potential partners over the coming months.”
Cllr Mike Johnson, leader of the council, said: “Receiving this funding is great news for the sports village project and means the project is moving ever closer to becoming reality. This administration has always been clear about its intentions to see upgraded sporting facilities created in Allerdale.
“There’s a lot of good work that’s already taken place between the clubs, the council and others, to get the project this far and that joint working will continue going forward.”
Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, said: “I am delighted to see funding for a sports village approved as part of our wider Towns Deal funding for Workington.
“I have long been a proponent of providing quality, sustainable training and playing facilities for a range of professional and grassroots sports, and I am pleased that the project includes the creation of linked community sports facilities to do just that. This will make a real difference.”
Update issued 19 August 2020
All parties working together to move forward with Workington ‘sports village’ plans
Allerdale Borough Council, Workington Reds and Workington Town have all agreed to move forward with plans for a sports village for the area following meetings between the three parties over the last two weeks.
The Council and the clubs have pledged to all work together to build on the work already carried out over the past 12 months and help get the scheme off the ground. A project board with representatives from all organisations has now been established.
The clubs will be playing an active role in bringing the project to life in collaboration with the council. Should the scheme to deliver a sports village be successful it would see a new shared stadium built for the football and rugby league clubs with a linked set of inclusive community facilities open to all.
All sides agree that they want to find a solution that is achievable and affordable while matching the area’s aspirations. Possible funding streams to make the project a reality are being explored.
Earlier this year a delegation from the clubs and council visited three venues in the Manchester area as part of a fact-finding exercise to see what sort of shared community stadium all parties would like to see developed in Workington.
Cllr Mike Johnson, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “The meetings between ourselves, Reds and Town went well, and it was good to come to an agreement on a way forward for this important project. A new shared stadium, as part of a sports village, will be a real asset to this community and benefit many people while helping us to achieve our ambitions to promote healthy, active lifestyles for our communities.
“I must stress that the current administration does want to see new sporting facilities developed in Workington and is keen to work alongside the clubs to deliver this. The coronavirus pandemic has naturally delayed our work on this and presented new financial challenges, but we remain committed to making this scheme a success.”
Les Smallwood, chair of Workington Town RLFC, said: “The Town board has great ambitions not only for the club but for sports provision for all of Allerdale. We have been consistent and positive in highlighting the potential for first-class facilities in the area and, in-line with our long-term strategy, look forward to being part of a concerted and collaborative effort to deliver for our community.”
Les Byers, chairman of Workington Reds, said: "It is great to see the sports village project centred around the Borough Park site move forward with a fresh positive impetus. This is vital for the future of our club and will benefit the whole of our community. Although there is still a significant amount of work ahead and much to be agreed, the Reds board look forward to playing their part in bringing the project to a successful conclusion”.
In June 2019 the Council’s Executive agreed to continue working on the business case for a new community stadium in Workington, but with a view to reducing the size and scale of the facility initially agreed by the previous administration at a meeting in March 2019.